“It was great to be dropped into this community of people that thought like me, and wanted to do the same things as me, and nerded out over the same things as I did.”
Lucy Mort is an accomplished designer and entrepreneur. She’s also the co-founder of Sunroom, a tool that allows creators to monetize both content and messaging, which she founded during ODF4 with CTO Ellie Day. Previously, she worked as Director of Design at Hinge.
On why Lucy joined On Deck:
I spent four years leading design at Hinge and I think I always knew I wanted to start a company or join another early stage company because I find that that’s the most beautiful part of working in tech, solving unsolved problems and the zero to one building of a product… So after years at Hinge, I was craving that experience again.
I didn’t have a super big entrepreneurial community while I was based in New York. I didn’t know that many other builders. I had all of these ideas and no one to collaborate with. I was trying to find engineers to work with in a very haphazard way and finally, a friend of mine was like, “You should join On Deck.”
So I joined, and I was exploring a couple of ideas at the time, but nothing too concrete. It was great to be dropped into this community of people that thought like me, and wanted to do the same things as me, and nerded out over the same things as I did, so the social part was really cool.
On how she met her co-founder Ellie Day:
I recommend you do the hackathons.
The first build weekend, I got together with a bunch of other people and we hacked on something… One of the engineers in that group was a woman named Ellie Day. She’s a super talented engineer, and we totally recognized each other as kindreds in a way, and we kept in touch.
Later, I ended up getting together with a bunch of other fellows from a bunch of different cohorts and moving to Tulum for a month. Ellie and I got together for another build weekend and started hacking on a product. It opened our mind to the space in which we are now building a company.
On how On Deck’s helped Sunroom:
On Deck has been insanely helpful in terms of fund raising—they’ve introduced us to so many investors and angels and incredible people from the start-up ecosystem that are helping us and want to give us money. I can’t even tell you how much of a game changer joining this community has been.
What advice she’d give to new On Deck fellows:
Do the build weekends, but even before that, make sure there’s nothing else going on in your life. Speak to as many different people as you can. I trolled through the directory a number of different times to find relevant people to speak to—the directory is really powerful.
Joining some of the more social or industry-specific channels and mixers and stuff, that’s when you really get to find your people and discuss ideas.
It’s all about maximizing the exposure you have to all the different talent… what they want to build, how they operate. There’s a great number of fellows which is awesome, but you want to quickly whittle it down to who you’re compatible with and who you want to build something with.
"The level of helpfulness from founders who are further along than you and lived through the challenges you’re facing was above and beyond 99% of what I’ve found in other places."
“It is a total understatement to say that it changed my life. I've made very, very close and hopefully lifelong friends through this, which is amazing.”