Meet the Founder of Nautilus Aggregates: Andrew Castrodale

  Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Andrew Castrodale, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Member, and Founder of Nautilus Aggregates, a startup  focused on reinventing concrete to enable sustainable, affordable infrastructure.   Name: Andrew…

Nautilus Lightweight Logo

 

Castrodale Head Shot

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Andrew Castrodale, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Member, and Founder of Nautilus Aggregates, a startup  focused on reinventing concrete to enable sustainable, affordable infrastructure.

Name: Andrew Castrodale

Where did you grow up? Concord, NC

School(s): Concord High School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Military Branch & Specialty: US Navy Submarine Officer (LT/O3)

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  Il Porto in Old Town

Favorite Local Activity: Running the monuments on the National Mall

Go-To Pump Up Music: Dance the Night Away by Van Halen… Close second to the opening scene of the movie Patton with George C. Scott 

Strongest-Aligned Archetype: Explorer or Hero – tough call

Tell Us About Your Family: Wife Page and two boys, Jack (4) and Lincoln (2). Page owns a business in Old town called Curated and Jack and Lincoln like to chase things.

Little Known Fact About You: I’d like to run for office one day.

Brief Business Description: Nautilus Aggregates will manufacture lightweight aggregate for concrete using a new process that will be more energy efficient and versatile than the existing process. The new process will allow waste product from quarries and mines to be used as the raw material.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur: I can’t get this idea out of my head. It will make the world a better place – why would I not?

What is something you learned during your service? How does it benefit your organization today? Knowledge. Know your men and know your equipment. If you don’t, you might be likable and well-intentioned, but society and your employees will not benefit from that alone.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? The CO of my ship, USS Springfield, when I was on board. He taught me the value of knowledge, described above, but also that very often the answer to the question is “it depends.” Too often we, especially in the nuclear navy, believe that there is a right and wrong answer in every situation. He saw the gray between the black and white and taught me to do the same.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? Success within the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. I was a non-technical major with a 2.9 GPA who had been laid off a year prior to my interview with ADM Donald for admission into the program. I was a fool to think he would even consider me, but somehow I convinced him to take a chance on me.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  I’m not afraid to fail – I’m not afraid to try. Embrace failure as an indicator of your willingness take a risk and the increased likelihood that you’ll succeed next time.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years?

Lightweight aggregate becomes nearly cost-competitive with normal weight aggregate changing the entire industry ($23B in 2015 in the US alone).

Housing worldwide, especially in poverty-stricken regions, is less expensive, safer, and more durable.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduced

Transportation infrastructure is improved and its cost reduced, reducing cost for government and the burden on the taxpayer

Every employee of the company understands the benefit to society that he provides through the company’s operations.

Meet the Founders of Vumble: Ryan Luu & Diego Quispe

  Each month, Capitol Post interviews a business operating out of  its coworking space or a member of the Bunker Labs DC Accelerator. This month, we spoke with Ryan Luu and Diego Quispe, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Members, and Co-Founders of Vumble, a startup  focused on allowing viewers to discover, discuss, and vote on video clips…

RyanHeadshotDiegoHeadshot (1)Each month, Capitol Post interviews a business operating out of  its coworking space or a member of the Bunker Labs DC Accelerator. This month, we spoke with Ryan Luu and Diego Quispe, BLDC Spring ’16 Cohort Members, and Co-Founders of Vumble, a startup  focused on allowing viewers to discover, discuss, and vote on video clips to collectively determine what’s worth watching.

Name: Ryan Luu

Where did you grow up?  Rockville, Maryland

School(s): Montgomery High School, University of Maryland School of Business.

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  Yo Yogi’s Sushi in Germantown

Favorite Local Activity: Pickup Basketball

Go-To Pump Up Music: Hip-hop

Tell Us About Your Family: My 19 year old brother is a co-founder and Vumble’s designer. My mom is a single mother who works as an architect, my dad lives in Vietnam, his home country.

Little Known Fact About You: I aspire to take a lap around the world every year.

Brief Business Description: Vumble is a place to explore awesome videos without interruptions. Every day, viewers discover, discuss, and cote on clips to collectively determine what’s worth watching.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur. I quit my first job after two days to pursue an idea for 6 second preview before videos.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? My brother Brendan because he and I started Vumble from nothing. Now Diego is my primary influence, pushing me to learn and grow.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? I’m most proud of learning to code and building Vumble’s visual expeience from scratch.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  Get real feedback, learn the ins/outs of your business and focus on the things that matter.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years? Home of what the world’s watching across all different devices.

Name: Diego Quispe

Where did you grow up?  Cajamarca, Peru

School(s): Clarksburg High School, University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences.

Favorite DC-Area Restaurant:  China Chilcano in Chinatown

Favorite Local Activity: Pickup soccer

Go-To Pump Up Music: Rock

Tell Us About Your Family: I have two siblings – one is working on his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and the other one is a senior in high school. My mom is a housekeeper, my dad is an electrician, and we all emigrated from Peru in 2007.

Little Known Fact About You: I used to be in a rock band in high school.

Brief Business Description: Vumble is a place to explore awesome videos without interruptions. Every day, viewers discover, discuss, and cote on clips to collectively dertermine what’s worth watching.

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur. I interned at a company that was part of Y Combinator and I fell in love with the experience.

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why? My family. We left Peru in search of the American Dream.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of? Back in college I started a hacker group called Terrapin Hackers. We participated in hackathons in different colleges and we took home the first ever trophy for competitive hackathons between colleges.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?  Don’t wait until you have the perfect solution because that might never come. Show people what you have and get feedback very early on.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years? I would love to see Vumble replace TV.

Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Co-working Space

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop….

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop. Problems such as: collaborating with a group in person, needing to interact with another human aside from your dog or cat, or asking someone a tough question that Google or your crazy neighbor can’t answer. That’s why we created Capitol Post; to be the hub of the veteran business community and give people a place to create, collaborate, and connect. Because not all co-working spaces are created equally, here are some questions to ask yourself when considering space.

Space:

  1. What are the space’s amenities?
  • Wi-Fi – what’s the quality
  • Conference room access
  • Coffee & snacks & food?
  • Printer / scanning access?
  • Phones / answering service?
  • Mailing Address?
  • Parking? Metro access?
  • Basic office supplies (and supplies for purchase?)
  • Front Desk / Receptionist?
  • Bathrooms nearby?
  • Whiteboards?
  • AV?
  • Are there resources that I’d have to pay for myself?

 

  1. What are the local amenities?
  • Where can you pick up a gallon of milk and diapers on your way home?
  • Can you get coffee with someone nearby?
  • FedEx/ UPS
  • Places to bring clients for lunch / dinner?

 

  1. Does it offer any other “perks?”
  • Building concierge?
  • Gym?
  • Local discounts?

 

  1. How much does it cost?
  • Daily, weekly, monthly fees?
  • Most spaces here in the DC area range
  • What system do I pay on? Is it easy?

 

  1. Can I bring clients or investors in?
  • Does that cost $?
  • # of people for the amount of time.

 

  1. What are the hours and security?
  • HVAC after hours (think summer / weekends)?
  • Is it staffed on the weekends?
  • Can I store files and papers / inventory?
  • Can I leave and go the bathroom and not worry about my laptop getting stolen?
  • Do I feel safe here working at night or after hours?
  • Key card access?

 

  1. Does the space have “street access” or do I need to take an elevator?

 

  1. Can I grow my business here?

 

  1. What do people love/complain about the space?

 

  1. Can I try it out for a period (day or week) to see if I like it?

Culture / Vibe:

  1. What is the staff like?
  • Do they turnover often?
  • Are they friendly? Nice? FUN? Do they care about me?
  • Do they provide value?
  • How responsive / organized are they?

 

  1. What do the workspaces look like?
  • Are there offices?
  • Is it open?
  • Where are the power sources?
  • Are the chairs comfortable?
  • Is there enough services space?
  • Where do you put your coat and bag?

 

  1. What is the culture like?
  • Is it a “museum” or a fraternity house?
  • Is it collegial? Open? Closed? Library-like?
  • Everyone in a suit?
  • Average age?
  • Do I see myself working here?

 

  1. Who is currently working there?
  • Industry focus?

 

  1. Is it clean? Well-maintained?
  • Who does it? When does it happen?
  • Where can you eat?

 

  1. Are there “rules?”

My Own Considerations:

  1. What are my needs?  
  • Am I trying to professionalize my company? Or is still okay to have people come to my house or a Starbucks?
  • What are my norms?

 

  1. What is driving me to make this change?
  • Productivity?
  • Professional appearance?
  • My own sanity?
  • Community / resources?

 

  1. How much space do I need?
  • Inventory

 

  1. What can I afford?

 

  1. How long is it going to take me to get there? Can I park?

 

  1. Can my clients / customers easily get there?

 

  1. Am I am employee-based company? What does my growth look like?

Programs & Services:

  1. Are there any programs & services offered?

 

  1. Social / networking events? Opportunities to connect?