Entrepreneurial adventures offer lessons

December 20, 2011
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Michael Cloran is problem solver. And he knows how to turn the answers into viable businesses.

Cloran, 43, is an Indiana University graduate who built and then sold a successful Chicago-based Internet service provider before launching Interactions Corp., a Carmel tech firm that has raised $34 million in venture capital.

The founding partner of Indianapolis-based venture development company DeveloperTown, Cloran now wrapping up a cross-country tour promoting uFlavor, a startup he hopes will become the YouTube of the beverage industry.

His partners in the latest enterprise—Purdue University grads Nathan Altman and Mike Mitchell—will handle day-to-day operations, in part because Cloran knows his limitations.

“Twice I took a company above 50 employees, and both times I broke it,” Cloran said. “I’m really good at the first part: coming up with the idea and making it work.” But when it comes to what he calls “organizational science,” he has learned to let others take the helm.

His insight is admirable. Rather than push himself to do something he knows others do better, he is content to focus on his strengths and make a difference there.

OK, now it’s time for some reader participation: What have your entrepreneurial adventures taught you about yourself? And how can others learn from those lessons?

  • Limits
    I've learned that the more I learn, the less I know, and the more I want someone else to handle it. I'm also not terribly strong with fine details. To me, if it looks good and smells good then it must be good. That's why I surround myself with others who are better equipped to discover all the gory details. They tend to balance me out which helps us grow as a company and I, in turn, help balance them out because in a small company you usually can't take 6 months to go over every possible angle.

    Congrats to uFlavor's launch. Great idea with great minds behind it. Can't wait to see what they can do!

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  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.