Q&A with CEO and Co-Founder of Greenzie
Greenzie’s CEO and Co-Founder CBQ sits down with Nicolas Terwindt for a quick catch-up on the Greenzie journey thus far.
A Sit-Down With CBQ
Last week I had a Zoom sit-down with Greenzie’s Co-Founder and CEO, Charles Quinn, or CBQ. An Atlanta native, CBQ is a serial entrepreneur who has brought his technical aptitude to each of his past ventures. In September 2018, CBQ joined the Atlanta Ventures team to become a Studio Entrepreneur and work to develop his next big thing. Working alongside David Cummings and team, CBQ developed Greenzie, a software company built for outdoor robotics. Greenzie’s first step is developing the autonomous software for lawnmowers, but there’s certainly more to come. Check out this short interview to take a quick dive into the mind of Mr. Greenzie.
The hum of mowers zipping in the back fills the void in between words.
- What is different about Greenzie compared to your past ventures?
Greenzie is actually my first venture backed company. In my past ventures, I have bootstrapped or joined an existing company. I very specifically chose to use venture capital and the Atlanta Ventures network because of the resources and opportunities to grow into a very big company. Going after a very challenging problem in a giant market required those extra resources that I knew would be available when joining the Atlanta Ventures Studio. I was armed with finance help, marketing help, people I could ask high level questions, and a team that had my back. Literally the only thing I could focus on at the beginning was trying to figure out and solve a direct, big customer challenge, and build a viable business around it. Having this support and focus helped lead us to our mission: To help free humans from repetitive outdoor labor.
- What is the thing keeping you up at night?
We have 6 core values at Greenzie and I won’t bore you with all of them, but we live and breathe them here. The one keeping me up at night though, that’s easy, it’s safety. Safety first is something we really emphasize here at Greenzie. The job that we are automating is a dangerous one. It’s prone to cuts, burns, rollovers, injuries, but it’s one that has to be done.
Another important core value is customer success. We simply cannot tell our customers, ‘Hey the safest thing to do would be to not mow the hospital ground’. While that might be the safest thing to do, it is not the job to be done. For our customers to be successful, they must do the job, and we do everything we can to make it as safe as possible.
CBQ flips camera to a Greenzie mower mowing the back of the warehouse.
As you can see, while we’re interviewing, the Greenzie team is hard at work, in the rain, testing on a mower over and over again because our software HAS to work.
- What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned since starting Greenzie?
I’m surprised by how quickly our customers already knew that something like this was coming. I thought we might have to do a lot of convincing that there is room on a crew for a robotic worker to take over some of the repetitive parts of the job.
I was out with a crew one day and someone came by and said ‘oh man this thing looks like it’s about to take your job’. The guy who we were with laughed and said, ‘People don’t want to do this job. The machine, it can take it.’ He then proceeded to point out his crew and said, ‘That crew over there is some of the hardest working people I know, and we have a production schedule. In the heat of the summer, they have to lay anywhere they can find shade just to take a break, recharge, and cool-down. I have to go over and yell at them because we have a production schedule. This is a job that no one is going to take, and no one wants, so let the robots take it’.
I thought we’d have to really coach this message, but I have celebrated it. My customers do too! We are taking job openings not jobs.
- Describe your Greenzie journey thus far in 10 words or less.
Hard, but so worth doing.
…And isn’t that the truth. Entrepreneurship is a hard journey, but some of life's toughest adventures tend to be the most rewarding. If you’d like to read more about CBQ, check out a recent story highlighting Greenzie’s First Three Years.