Take Aways from Launching my new start-up, Orchestrated Relationships

Over the past 3 months, I have successfully raised $600,000 in start-up capital to launch Orchestrated Relationships. This is a personal CRM and community ecosystem tech that I have been dreaming of building for 5 years. Raising funds in this environment was as challenging as everyone says it is, but it was made possible because of long-term relationships and a clear value proposition that aims to solve the challenges faced by my investors and the Orchestrated Community.

I did not expect how emotional half of my conversations would be, as they revolved around the need to create technology that encourages ethical behavior, values the connections we make, and, most importantly, makes our lives easier with how we communicate and how we meet with people daily.

In early July, I will meet with my lead investor and co-builder, Brendan Morrissey, who came into my life after 4 failed attempts at partnerships over 5 years, to build this tech later this year.

Visualizing Your Network:  The key principle in Orchestrated is to honor the chain of connections. This creates a feedback loop throughout the entire chain, showing the community effort that contributes to success, such as securing investments.

My theory of change for Orchestrated Relationships is that by assessing the strength of our relationships based on our communication data, we can effectively map and engage our network at scale for both ourselves and each other.

Here is what I learned from mapping the 19 investors and how I connected with them: 

Take Away #1: It’s true that you often reap the most benefits from where you invest the most time. 

The three main networks/catalysts for my connections were: 

NEXUS – The friendships I formed here developed into relationships that led to connections with 9 investors within this impactful community.  The average length of time from friendship through this chain to an investment was 5.5 years.

AICF – Leading a philanthropic organization provided exposure to a wide range of individuals, and when combined with NEXUS, it led to connections with 8 investors through various new connections.  The average length of time from friendship through this chain to an investment was 9 years. 

Orchestrated The impact community I established was the primary catalyst, not only because the technology originated from this use case but also because 48 of the nodes for catalyzing these investments are active members of my network. Only 7 people involved in this are not engaged in Orchestrated.   The average length of time from friendship through this chain to investment was 3 years.

Take Away #2: Honoring the chain catalyzes long-term connections, and specific individuals deserve recognition for being early in my chain: 

Michael Roderick: One of my oldest friends in NYC and a leading expert in connection and networks. His introductions (we met through a friend in AICF 18 years ago) led to multiple investments. 

Marcia Nelson: Another long-term connection in NYC, and, together with Michael, the catalyst for the vision behind building Orchestrated. 

Yael Alkalay and Josh Tanenbaum:  These creative and business-savvy individuals evolved my community concept. Yael, alongside her cousin Eyal Vilner (an extraordinary swing musician), introduced me to Josh, which led me to NEXUS while also influencing my work at AICF for a decade. 

Rachel Gerrol–Co-founder and leader of NEXUS, Rachel has been an instrumental advisor to Orchestrated, anchoring our first event in 2017 and introducing me to individuals whose impact on my private, opt-in network has been monumental to my growth.

Take Away #3: The largest investment I received was because my request aligned with their needs, and the problems I aimed to solve matched the pain points they were seeking solutions for. Alex Cuppage, who took the time to talk to me at a conference in the Bahamas, introduced me to Brendan. Finding the right person among many potential contacts requires perseverance, as Brendan was the 82nd person I had been introduced to in search of tech solutions and partnerships. This illustrates the importance of persistence and not giving up when faced with initial failures. 

Take Away #4: The size of the investment correlates with the size of the network of supporters and endorsers. Smaller investments had 1-3 connections, medium-sized ones had 4-5, and the largest investments had 6-8 key individuals associated with the successful introduction. Building a strong community and garnering support can significantly influence the outcomes, provided that each link in the chain is nurtured and valued. 

Take Away #5: Building a network of supporters is crucial, and identifying the right mentors and advisors is essential. While my newest Board Advisor Jeff Ivory has been committed to Orchestrated Relationships for the past 1.5 years, there are two individuals, Ramphis Castro and Suneet Bhatt, who have been steadfast supporters for 6 years, never asking for anything in return. Additionally, while I have many helpful friends in my network, special recognition goes to these two individuals for their unwavering support. 

The Final Take Away #6: Three individuals have played a pivotal role in shaping my career and network. 

Firstly, my adopted grandmothers Abby Belkin and Doris Bardon, whose belief and constructive criticism helped me settle in NYC, introduced me to AICF, and jump-started my professional career as an Executive.

Secondly, my high-school friend  Bharani Rajakumar, whose enthusiasm for engaging me in his charity, NYC Ties, led me to the Arthur Miller Foundation and subsequently paved the way for me to venture into the world of tech startups, thanks to the connection with the Dalio Family's family office.

Conclusion: After reviewing 25 years of active relationships, which included 82 introductions to build this tech, 55 catalyst intros to get to 19, a network of 1700 members, and interactions with over 27,000 people, it is evident that the organic evolution of this technology should align with the real truths rather than what we've been told.

Just as science suggests that you are what you eat, and network theory states that you are the composite of the 5 closest people to you, your success in a community is determined by:

  1. The strength and duration of your relationships.
  2. How you nurture and maintain connections with your catalyst connectors.
  3. The effort and time you invest in genuine communities and organizations.
  4. How open, vulnerable, and considerate you are towards others. And most importantly, constantly building bridges rather than burning them.

In 6-9 months, I aim to consider myself a start-up founder and an entrepreneur. For now, I see myself as a systems thinker who can write music, build relationships, and speak the truth about what we should truly value – Relationship Value.

Cheers to that!

Special thanks to all involved in this, including those who have advised me on the tech and who stepped forward to give me their time and passions, and among so many, these OC Members and Friends helped me turn community into business:

Brendan Morrissey, Cory Janssen, Maya and Nadav Kadar, Jessica Millstone, Robyn Polansky Morrison, Kyle Mounts, Jon Gosier, Andy Watson, Andrew Sossin, Christine Chen, Stelios Christakos, Lisa Morris, Evan Segal, Hassan Kassam, Emily Salveson, James Benedict, Kojo Annan, Gina Kirch, Nicholas Shekerdemian, Tamara Laine, Rachel Gerrol, Antonia Teixeira, Yvonne Beri, Kunal Sood, Nathalie Molina Nino, Josh Tanenbaum, Yael Alkalay, Eyal Vilner, Lynn Greenberg, Ryan Eisenman, Rosalind Devon, Michael Roderick, Jessica Lipps, Soraya Depowski, Olga Yermalenko, Steve Smolinsky, Stephen Dalton, Xander Schultz, Katie Hoffman, Courtney Spaeth, Leslie Wolfson, Nicole Casanova, Shira Mazor Allesandra Sollberger, Alex Holt, Norm Friedland, Richard Lipkin, Isaac Reshad, Marcia Nelson, Jolyne Caruso, Maia Monell, Dustin Shay, Richard Swart, JP Piverger, Stephanie Feldman, Jonathan Goldberg, Judy Klebanow, Denny Chared, Alex Cuppage, Leah Cox, Tobias Prestel, William Doll, Gino Borges, and of course my kids Eva and Max.

Picture of David Homan

David Homan

David Homan is the CEO of Orchestrated Connecting and Co-Founder of Orchestrated Opportunities. He also serves as Senior advisor to LunaClipse Media, in liason with the Dalio Family Office.  He’s also a composer whose work has been played around the world, frequently on radio, and often with live modern dance and theater.  A natural connector, David advises start-ups, businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropists and helps them connect with like-minded individuals to make them more efficient and empowering.  He believes that one of the best ways to make the world a better place is to help people join together to effect a positive difference and change. As a panelist, speaker, cultural ambassador, and specialist on governance as well as connecting, David has carved an international career based on his ability to meet and help others.  He grew up in the small town of Gainesville, Florida, but has made New York City his home for 22 years.  David serves as the NYC Ambassador for Nexus, as Board Secretary of the Arthur Miller Foundation, founding Board Member of Ariel Rivka Dance (as well as composer-in-residence), Board member of the First Republic Bank FEA NY Chapter, and as an evaluator for the Unfunded List. Email: David@orchestratedconnecting.com