My Startup Story #16: Launch Day

The last beta challenge has just been completed. Our video ingestion and streaming systems have been gutted and dramatically improved. Well over 1,000 beta testers and our newly signed Mammalz Creator Partners are preparing their content for launch. Earth Day is upon us, and when Mammalz launches to the world, it will be Earth Day every day after.

But, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Mammalz community must have been planting some trees in this forest because it just keeps getting bigger. Once we’ve officially navigated our way to launch, I’ll update with another chapter to elaborate. For now, while we’re all still sweating, let me tell you how we got here.

One of our first publications as Mammalz.
Rob and me shooting some of our first videos describing the vision of Mammalz.

My last chapter ended on a downer. Everything was going so smoothly until this Coronavirus hit. Like millions of others, we felt the impacts of the stock market crash and the pressure to transition to a remote working environment. We took each step as it came, and to my surprise, we didn’t miss a beat. Fortunately, our entire operations system is comprised of digital tools, so the only thing that changed was our frequency of video chats (and beer and pizza gatherings).

Despite what may have been going well for us, these last few weeks have been some of the most trying weeks of my life. Compared to the challenges I’ve faced in my own career pursuits and those we’ve faced as a company up to this point, this one may have broken some records. Regardless, each day, Rob and I have continued working as hard as we can to get Mammalz prepared for launch and to find investment/loan leads to keep us all afloat. At times, it has been incredibly difficult to avoid cynicism and feelings of hopelessness (not to mention the consistent nightmares), but we’re powering through with the family-level support we get from our team. I’m proud to say that my team members at Mammalz have become some of my closest friends.

The Mammalz Team. From left to right: Sabrina, Alex, Rob, Stephen, Pam.

There is an incredible amount of passion, fear, and excitement tied up into this launch. From the Post-It notes of our ideas in Montana, to our cross-country move down to San Diego, to our adventures with our beta dev team in India, we truly have dedicated our lives, our wallets, and our sanity to this crazy idea. And now, there are thousands of others, just as crazy as we are, who we are proud to call our Mammalz community. I can’t wait until that number is in the millions.

If you’re reading these stories and you have not joined our community on Mammalz, now is a better time than ever to get your feet wet. If you’re so quick to read this that we still haven’t launched — or if you just want a good laugh — watch how I planned to celebrate our virtual launch with the rest of the Mammalz team:

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Alexander Finden

Co-founder of Mammalz, underwater cinematographer and Divemaster