Adam Hasham is the founder of Hurrier, an on-demand delivery service and HIGHLINE portfolio company. He graduated from Extreme Startups (now HIGHLINE) in July 2014 in Toronto, and is now working on expanding the business into other markets, including Vancouver.
A single founder, Adam has worn a lot of hats to scale Hurrier, which lets you submit courier orders online for anything from food and alcohol delivery, to flowers and office supplies, which are then delivered by bicycle or car (when rain, snow, or longer distances make biking too difficult). Hurrier’s key customers range from the workoholic professional who doesn’t have time to run personal errands, the busy mom who can’t leave the house, the host who doesn’t want to leave guests when something runs out, or simply those who want to enjoy the luxury of on-demand delivery so they can stay focused on the present.
Hurrier’s rates are based on the distance between pick-up and drop-off point (which is pre-determined before your order is placed) and includes a 5% service fee on the items purchased, which gets charged directly to your credit card as seamlessly as an Uber ride.
We caught up with Adam recently to learn more about his experience building Hurrier, and the lessons he’s learned on his entrepreneurial journey.
Q&A with Adam Hasham, Founder of Hurrier
What was the moment you decided to be a full-time entrepreneur?
As soon as I paid off my MBA. I had interest in the space for a while, and at a younger age had to make a decision about continuing what I was doing in my career, or doing my MBA.
What’s your favourite part about running Hurrier?
Being able to take my ideas and put them into action — and see if they react the way I want them to.
When I launched Hurrier, it was just me. At that point, you’re wearing about 17 different hats. It’s tough to go through that and execute all of it, and you’re looking at market reactions, or to see whether anyone else is coming up with similar ideas.
What size were you when you joined Extreme Startups?
We were small, but operational. It was one employee and myself. We had revenue coming in, were proving out our MVP and what the product looked like at that time, and proving there was a market.
What were the key takeaways from your Extreme Startups experience?
Support and mentorship. It’s really important to be connected to the community and know the people – even if it’s one or two degrees of separation with angels, VCs, and C-level people at other companies. The accelerator forced you to make time to build those connections, whereas you might not do that on your own. But the program helped you form relationships, and when the timing’s right, and you need that connectivity, it’s there.
It was also good to be in a room where you’re connected with a lot of companies. At Extreme, we were all relatively at the same level of growth. It was even great being able to ask questions like, “Does anyone know an accountant?”
Also there’s the fact that I’m a single founder, so it was great to have the cohort. Other people make really great sounding boards for questions or ideas you want to experiment with.
There are also so many holes in Canada, and so much funding lacking, so the financial component that comes with accelerators goes a long way.
How has mentorship impacted your success?
It’s been great. There are a number of heads of companies and past mentors from Extreme who’d “been there” – people who’ve been where you are — and it’s great to connect with people in later stage companies.
Let’s talk failure, which is a huge part of the startup life cycle. Are there any moments you’d say you’ve “failed” as an entrepreneur?
Probably once or twice every month. All the time you’re going through things and you have an idea of how things will work, and you get feedback, but it’s not quite there.
In reality, that’s just the motion, too. It’s sort of a necessary evil you have to go through, and validates the fact that you’re taking the risks you need to grow… if you’re not experiencing failures, you’re probably not taking big enough risks as a startup entrepreneur.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve face as an entrepreneur?
One of them is blocking out the right noise. You’re constantly getting feedback and hearing people’s perceptions, whether it’s customers, employers, friends and family, or mentors… the more feedback you get, the more different it is. It doesn’t converge to one answer.
Sometimes you just have to block all that out. It’s particularly tough when it comes to customers, who you should listen to… but with startup companies, early customers don’t necessarily know the answers. It’s more a matter of testing different things, and seeing when they stop complaining.
What was the moment you knew Hurrier had legs, or felt validated?
When we had our first real customer — the first person who wasn’t a friend or family. He discovered it on his own somehow and utilized it.
If you were totally fearless, what would you do?
Spend everything in the bank every month, double down, and hire as many people as I wanted to do the job.
How has being a founder impacted your personal life?
It’s probably diminished it. It definitely takes away a lot of free time and energy to spend outside of building the company. It creeps into your personal life too because you end up spending your personal time with other entrepreneurs — you’re still connected with work when you try to get away from it. And it puts you in a position where you have to be really careful where you spend your free time. You just need to manage it a bit better.
Is having connectivity in other markets like TO/YVR, SF and NYC important to you?
The goal isn’t to build the company for one city, it’s about expanding and growing really quickly. Being connected to those capital cities is vital.
Do you have any advice, a quote, or a mantra that inspires you?
There’s a good book called The Hard Things About the Hard Things. And a startup poem called The Struggle that really captures the essence of what it is to create something from scratch, and live this crazy lifestyle.
Anything else you want to share with new entrepreneurs?
If you feel it in your blood, don’t do an MBA. Might as well get right into it.