Some founders say that unless you’re working full-time on your business, you’re not fully committed. Siri Chakka of Reset disagrees. “You've got to be prudent. There’s a lot of talk about startups and founders quitting their jobs and going all in. I don’t think that’s necessary. I think it puts you in a situation where you make decisions out of desperation.”
The engineer-turned-corporate strategy consultant isn’t quitting her day job just yet, though both she and co-founder Silva Gentchev, a marketing consultant, now clock in at their previous primary gigs half-time. Spending half of their time on Reset works for now. Not that they’re not giving their all to make their company a success.
With the hours that they’re able to devote to Reset, Chakka and Gentchev are creating a minor revolution both for restaurants and for corporations planning meetings. How are they doing it? Reset matches companies with unusual event spaces, mostly restaurants and bars.
The logic is simple: Businesses that typically only operate in the evening have beautiful real estate just waiting to be occupied during the day. Companies want to go beyond a stale, neon-lit boardroom for their gatherings. “The restaurants want to build community in these spaces. That’s what these spaces were created for. We’re just forwarding that with different uses throughout the day,” explains Chakka.
Originally, Reset paired restaurants with distributed workforces, but realized the needs of “the Dells of the world” were even greater — and more profitable. So after a year in business, they officially pivoted to focusing on corporate meeting spaces.
It’s all in keeping with the name that the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin alums picked for their business. The meaning is two-fold, Chakka explains: It refers both to resetting the table and resetting your mind by coming to a new venue to do good work.
And resetting is a constant theme for the company. For example, Chakka says that she and Gentchev “continually iterate on and test” how people respond to their pitch. This is key, because Chakka admits that “as a co-founder, you’re constantly selling.”
This is not something that came easily to her. “If you'd asked me three years ago if I'd ever be in sales, I'd have said 'Yuck,' and walked away,” she jokes. Though she still finds it daunting, she says connecting restaurants and business owners and making them happy with her service is “my heart. It’s win, win, win.”
Making sales with Gentchev streamlines the process. Since she is a marketing expert, she takes the top of the sales funnel, while Chakka takes the bottom. It's all part of what Chakka calls an ideal balance between the two very different co-founders.
Besides partnering with Gentchev, one of Chakka's best decisions was incorporating as an LLC. "We had to make sure we were protected," she says of making the decision to incorporate early in Reset's life. They chose the LLC route because they wanted legal protection (limited liability is in the name, after all), Chakka explains. She has known other small businesses that got in trouble while testing an idea and since Reset operates in places of business, she was especially concerned.
How did Reset incorporate? Rather than doing it themselves with software like LegalZoom or hiring a lawyer, they chose the path in the middle, a fellow Austin-based startup called Zen Business. "Time is the most precious resource founders have," Chakka says. That's why she used the service that needed only know the name of the business and the type of entity she and Gentchev had chosen before collecting a fee to make the company an LLC overnight.
But don't call Reset an overnight success. The founders have been working hard for two years. And before long, they hope to do so full-time. "We didn’t need to be in a living in a car, eating ramen situation," Chakka says of her company's ascent with two half-time co-founders. "We think there's a more sustainable way to do it."