People come to the Bay Area for many reasons. “I wanted to learn the causes that precede effects in the market and San Francisco has called me to find the answer here for years. I need to know how money moves. This is the Mecca right now so I’m here to learn.” This was the reason for Mike Pirtle, founder and chief architect at Enthrall, to move to Daly City two years ago and last week he gave back by completing the first minority, veteran-owned and operated incubator program in the Valley.
Enthrall was founded in 2009 in service to the Office of Diversity Education at Indiana University. It quickly grew from a independent design agency operating in his apartment’s coat closet to a comprehensive brand development firm providing high-level intellectual property strategies to burgeoning Silicon Valley start-ups. Several reaching five and six figure results without the support of outside capital. Mike commented on this unique ability to identify overlooked opportunities, “I believe that innovation is preceded by massive action. You learn what doesn’t work faster and become a much more hardened problem solver. At Enthrall, we force our brand partners to consolidate their thinking, make hard decisions, and really create an intellectual foundation to build a business upon.”
The first fellowship of brand builders consisted of three inspired entrepreneurs who want to change the way we interact with our cellular devices and each other. “I think people want to take up good habits but don’t know how to measure their activity.” stated Jonah Mathieu, CEO of YOUniverse LLC. The group had to pitch their idea just four hours after arriving at SFO at a rooftop mixer full of members of the local tech workforce and international entrepreneurs. John Bertram, one of the cohorts engineers, shared about the experience, “It was a little intimidating, but we’ve been preparing for three months so it was fun!”
In addition to the four day, three night incubator program, the cohort went through the Brand Construction System with Enthrall’s network of brand architects and ELITE Coalition mentors over the previous three months. The firm has worked to intertwine a mastermind of positively charged brand builders in the effort to progress everyone towards their individual goals since it’s inception and the Silicon Valley Brand House program realized that mission. The YOUniverse Fellowship sat with a table of powerful influences during the Black Women in Tech Round Table where they met with Mary Carter, Rahwa Neguse, Melissa Majors, Tachyla Murray, and Malaka Wilson-Greene on Saturday.
In regards to the inclusivity of the inaugural ELITE Launch Week Retreat, Mike shared this, “It’s important for us to view our problem solving processes from different perspectives so bringing this fellowship together for these conversations was mandatory.” This rung true as critical topics were discussed like the team’s intellectual property protection plans, approach towards product development, and perspective on work-life balance. In summary to her ELITE Mentor segment, Melissa shared these words with us:
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