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Blake Squires of Movable

Meet Blake Squires, founder of Movable, a wrist-worn monitor used to help improve the health and performance of people.

What is Movable?

Movable is the company behind a simple and affordable activity program called MOVchallenge and product (MOVband) that gets groups of people to move more. The product is a wrist-worn activity monitor connected to an online platform, which provides participants access to their activity history and group administrators tools to manage groups and our program. Clearly we have an obesity epidemic in our country. Our simple and affordable activity program establishes a culture of health and performance while instilling in individuals the power of activity. 

How did you come up with the idea?

My wife Michelle inspired the idea. We were in the process of selling my last company, and during the process I turned to my wife and said, "What do you want to do next?” We have four kids, she's an educator and a fitness enthusiast. She responded, “We need to do something about the obesity epidemic.” That was the seed that became Movable.

What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?

This is my fourth startup. I feel like I've finally figured the startup out. At least a formula for me seems to be working, and that is -- as long as you start with a clear set of values, you can attract the best fit and highest caliber talent. And as long as you articulate a vision and have a clear strategic plan, the rest falls into place.  

Where did you find your first employee?

Surprisingly for this company, he was introduced by a creative agency I was working with. I say “surprisingly” because several other employees are folks I’ve worked with before and I typically find talent from my network.  

What does a typical day in your business look like?

Lacroix, ping-pong, and an occasional group lunch and/or Friday happy hour, plus plenty of laughing, which everyone hears because we have a very open environment. In general, we are a work hard, play hard group.

What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?

 Convenience, proximity to other cities, easy to get around, and some really interesting things going on. I am always amazed at how I think I know everyone and then meet someone or some company that blows me away.  

What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?

We recently received the GLIDE innovation fund award, which is a great program. And since to date we are 100-percent management and angel invested, we were able to utilize the Ohio Technology Innovation Tax Credit early on, which unfortunately doesn't exist anymore. That was a good program for our investors.

Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?

I remember with my third company Findaway, which makes Playaway, talking with some designers in China. I was trying to explain our strategy to pre-load digital content into an mp3 player. They just couldn't get it. It was totally disruptive and counter-intuitive. Why would you want to lock digital content into a digital player? After many, many attempts, and getting frustrated at the language barrier, a guys finally gets it and says, “Oh! Sneaky, sneaky Mr. Squires.” That was funny.
What inspires you?

My wife and four kids. Plus the amazing, close folks I've collected over the years.

What founders do you admire and why?

I've got to say the ones I admire are the ones that do it for the first time. My friends Mike and Bryan at eFuneral, Chris at MedCity Media, Dan and Eric at Tackk, Elijah at Lightning Grader. Those happen to be other companies my partner Christopher Celeste and I have invested via our investment vehicle called Hatch. Sure there are great inspirational founders which I could go on and on about. But again, the ones I admire are those that make the leap. And I especially love the ones that make the leap in Cleveland!

What’s next for you?

Driving this company forward and continuing its growth. And of course another exit at some point! Beyond that, Spring is about to be here and with it means boating, which is my favorite escape.
Interview by Joe Baur

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