This article is part of High Alpha’s CEO Spotlight series. We regularly sit down with High Alpha portfolio CEOs and leaders to dig into their business, team, and story. You’ll get an inside look at the companies in our portfolio and their incredible leaders and teams.
Back in May of 2020, High Alpha’s Sprint Week was nearly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This gave Matt Compton the idea to create a product that would allow High Alpha to facilitate a highly collaborative, high-energy week completely virtual. Not only did he build a platform, but he also put that same idea through Sprint Week, our forcing function for new business creation, and from there Filo was born.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Matt, Co-Founder and CEO of Filo, to talk more about the company, his background, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
In a sentence, tell us what Filo.co does.
Filo.co powers virtual collaboration by providing virtual spaces for events, meetings, and teams.
Tell us a little more about your background and what brought you into the world of entrepreneurship?
I never set out to be an entrepreneur. I’m an engineer by trade, driven by solving complex problems, and I love learning from and helping others. Entrepreneurship just happened as a result.
Back in 2015, I founded my first company called Waysay that aimed to build the next generation of mobile applications. At the time, mobile apps were just starting to get more popular. I’ve always been interested in pursuing whitespace that can be filled with technology so when I saw a need for better mobile experiences, I took it.
Years later, when High Alpha’s May Sprint Week was canceled, I was presented with another market opportunity that could be solved with technology. I’m grateful that High Alpha provided me with the ability to tackle that untapped potential and turn it into another business.
Could you tell us how Sprint Week and an idea evolved into Filo?
When High Alpha’s Sprint Week was canceled in May of 2020 due to the global pandemic, we set out to create a tool that would allow them to have that same experience virtually.
We identified three major areas where virtual collaboration is strained:
- When everything shifts to links on a calendar, you lose the understanding of what is happening in the larger context.
- You lose visibility into what is happening around you, and all the conversations that are going on.
- It is just too hard to start new conversations. You lose the serendipity of collaboration.
With our heads down and a fast-approaching deadline, we built an initial prototype in three weeks and then ran that previously canceled Sprint Week with the first version of Filo. People could see what their teammates were working on, move between conversations, and quickly spin up their own side conversations without having to be in person.
High Alpha’s Filo-powered week spawned four new companies, the all-time record for a single Sprint Week. To go from almost canceling the event, to facilitating the most successful Sprint Week in High Alpha’s history was incredible.
At the time, I felt that if we could do even a fraction of this for other organizations, then we really have something on our hands.
What is a key lesson you learned from launching Filo?
Obsess over customers. Do whatever you can to earn their business, and then obsess over meeting their expectations. If you do, it may not always work out, but it’s guaranteed to be incredibly valuable learning.
What excites you the most about your product roadmap?
Since that Sprint Week in May, Filo has scaled up significantly. We’ve powered events with thousands of people while still being the go-to place for teams of any size.
I’m proud to announce that we launched Filo Virtual Sales Hub, a sales collaboration platform for the hybrid sales generation. With Sales Hub, you can run annual and quarterly kickoffs and create opportunities to truly connect with people on a personal level at hybrid and virtual events. We’ve also seen a number of clients use these new features to organize beautiful workshops to really identify and solve prospects’ needs while providing connection rather than just pitching.
I’m also incredibly excited to say that, in the near future, Filo will become the center for direct collaboration for not only remote groups, but hybrid teams split between in-person and remote.
Our roadmap is incredibly exciting, and we are expecting a formal Filo campus launch in late Summer and early Fall. More details coming soon!
Which trends regarding the future of work are you paying the most attention to?
There’s a lot of talk about how hybrid teams are going to be a new challenge post-COVID. I actually argue that this has been a challenge for decades and has only been accelerated by the pandemic.
It’s only now that teams and companies are finally starting to recognize it and think creatively about solutions. The thought has always been if you are remote, all work should become asynchronous and direct collaboration should wait until you can be in person. I’m excited for that to change.
When we can collaborate at any time or place we will see creativity, productivity, and personal satisfaction. The next 10 years are going to be incredible.
What advice would you have for other founders and CEOs of high-growth startups?
Learn early and often to learn from failures, mistakes, and shortcomings and quickly move on. Learning and moving on quickly is a superpower and one I am battling with every day.
If people are interested in learning more about using Filo or joining the Filo team, where should they go for more information?
If you or your team is interested in using Filo, or if you’d like to join our team, head to Filo.co, and let’s have a conversation.