KY FOUNDER SPOTLIGHT: Darrin Murriner
Darrin Murriner is co-founder and CEO of Cloverleaf, based in Covington, Kentucky.
What does Cloverleaf do? Cloverleaf is a team-based, automated coaching technology that integrates with the communication tools you use everyday at work including email and calendars in Microsoft 365 or Google Workplace or Microsoft Teams and Slack. Cloverleaf gets to know you at a deeper level and then serve up coaching in the flow of work that enables you to build better relationships, have more effective sales conversations and increase team cohesion.
What sets Cloverleaf apart? Cloverleaf is the first technology that nudges you towards better soft skills, a notoriously difficult thing to teach and develop. We use assessments that people have taken many times throughout their career, such as StrengthsFinder, Enneagram and DISC, as a starting point for this coaching. This allows teams and organizations to maximize the investment they have made in these tools.
What was the greatest challenge you encountered in launching your startup and how did you overcome it? There are two key challenges to launching and building a scalable, venture-backed tech startup in the Midwest. The first is access to capital and the second is access to experienced people to both work in the business and to act as mentors for enterprise SaaS businesses. We have overcome those challenges by networking extensively with venture capitalists and leaders in their respective fields. We would find companies we wanted to emulate and would work to connect with them to learn lessons we could apply to our own business.
What are you most proud of about Cloverleaf? We will pass 1 million users this year and are closing in on the milestone quickly. It feels incredible that we have touched so many lives and have sparked insights that have improved how people work. The spill-over impact of that improved work is significant.
What piece of advice do you have for new founders – or – what have you learned that you wish you’d known when launching a startup? If you have an idea just get started. Ask yourself, ‘what is the smallest, first step I can take to get to the place I want to be’. Too many people get bogged down in ideas by trying to get to the vision they want in one step and when you start something like Cloverleaf you have to be content with small incremental steps that get you to the vision you are dreaming about. Small tests / changes that you can see how people respond to are the quickest way to understand what your customers want and how they want to have their problems solved.
What is the most important ingredient or ingredients for a thriving startup ecosystem? One of the things that is most often overlooked is having people around that have had success and can provide good advice and an example of what could be. There are some obvious ingredients like access to capital, a business community willing to work with startups, and accelerators or incubators that can connect startups to talent, mentors and other key resources.
What makes Kentucky a great place to innovate? The low cost structure of running a high tech startup here compared to the coasts is significant. That allows us to go further on lower capital raises or to be more capital efficient than our peers. There is also a strong commitment from the community here and in the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky region that doesn’t exist everywhere. There are also people doing great work with few resources that have been critical to our success. They include organizations like Awesome Inc, KSTC and KY Innovation.
Learn more about Cloverleaf at: https://cloverleaf.me/