Against all odds

Someone walking across a dangerous rock

▲ Photo credit Michael Shannon on Unsplash

Hello. I'm Robin, Founder and CEO at Kanso. In this opening post of Against All Odds, I wanted to share some insights about why I started Kanso in 2009, and what continues to drive me and the rest of the team forward.


To cut to the chase, I've always had a bit of a thing for underdogs. With 9 out of 10 startups failing, who better for me to back, than the plucky founders we work with. The odds maybe stacked against them, but I want to do all I can to help them turn their dream into success.

I'm inspired by their vision and tenacity; driven by the constraints they face; excited with the possibilities for success; and fascinated by the positive impact we can have on their success. If our knowledge and experience can help, we'll be there, shoulder-to-shoulder with you!

A new model

Kanso was my response to the challenges I'd faced in starting up. Finding people or partners who understood the startup balancing act was hard. I found agencies that wanted to be paid to make pretty stuff for their portfolio, or people who didn't quite have the depth of knowledge or experience.

So I decided to use my experience to build a company that focused exclusively on making early stage tech startups successful. That doesn't mean making a pretty strategy deck, launch an app that looks like everything else on Dribbble, or being ready for 10M customers when we haven't got any.

It does mean building sustainable, equity value in your venture. Our role is primarily to enable you to build a great company by embedding successful design, product and engineering practices in your growing organisation. We do this by dropping in a ready to go team, our Origin, Discovery, Launch and Evolve processes, and then helping you to transition to an in-house team when you're ready. Speed, reduced risk, and quality is the name of the game.

Sharing is caring

Collectively the Kanso team have amassed a huge amount of experience working with startup founders. In Against All Odds, we're going to share what we've observed and learnt, hoping that a few more underdogs may become inspired and driven to success.

We will be writing about:

  • Vision: why it's critical to have a clear vision for your venture
  • Tenacity: knowing when to double down on your efforts and when to pivot or stop
  • Focus: being clear about who your product is for and what fundamental problem it solves
  • Value: knowing where customers get value from your product and how to nurture it
  • Risk: how to understand and counter risk in early stage ventures
  • Products: the challenges of designing, making and maintaining products
  • Technology: the rough and tumble of working with technology
  • People: how to maintain cadence, harmony and challenge in your team
  • Process: how good product and technology processes can keep you on the right path

So, if that sounds interesting to you, be sure to check back on Against All Odds and follow us at @kansohq.