Since 2001, Dan Bodner has been the founder and CEO of Fido Systems LLC ( https://fidosystems.com/ ), an outsourced IT firm. His daily commute from Oakland to downtown San Francisco passes sidewalk tent encampments, street wanderers, and finally homeless individuals sleeping on the floors of the Embarcadero BART station.
It is a daily scene of hopelessness.
Bodner is a lifelong problem solver and tinkerer, however, so he began to wonder what could help these people in their situation. (Previously he designed FidoHand, a 3D-printed prosthetic hand to help children with hand deformities.) The brainstorming sprung the seed for QuickHaven, Inc.—originally called “Habitat.”
Here, Bodner shares more about the innovative company:
GGBA: Please describe QuickHaven, including its mission and values.
Dan Bodner: QuickHaven, Inc., is a California Benefit Corporation that manufactures code compliant emergency shelters. Our shelter is purpose-built to deploy quickly as a temporary or transitional measure to house those in need due to homelessness or a disaster.
GGBA: When did you decide to create QuickHaven?
Dan Bodner: I began working on the QuickHaven concept in 2017, inspired to act by the growth of tent encampments along my commute. The daily scene of hopelessness motivated me to begin researching materials, sketching designs, and experimenting with connectors and metals, slowly forming the QuickHaven concept and culminating in a 3/4 scale corner section mockup that I completed in the summer of 2019. The mockup convinced me that the concept was viable, and I then began recruiting the team and building the company.
GGBA: Who are some of your role models, and especially those who helped to influence your business?
Dan Bodner: It sounds strange even to my ears to say, but Elon Musk was perhaps the most influential person that I thought about while persisting in creating QuickHaven. The notion that Elon has built several companies that build amazingly complex things like rockets and cars, all while having absolutely no background in either, helped me stay motivated to build a manufacturing company, for which I too have no previous experience.
GGBA: Why did you decide to join the GGBA, and how long have you been a member?
Dan Bodner: I’ve been a member for more than 2 years, at the suggestion of my partner Anna Colibri, who is also a member and is on the board. Accompanying her to GGBA events introduced me to a community of warm, accepting, and supportive people who won me over.
GGBA: How has being a member of GGBA helped your business so far?
Dan Bodner: I have made some great contacts and friends through GGBA and have found many resources that have helped me in my business. From making promotional items to acquiring business insurance to gaining valuable leadership coaching, it has all happened through GGBA.
GGBA: Do you go to the GGBA monthly Make Contact networking events (now virtual)? Have they benefited you and your business, and would you recommend them to others?
Dan Bodner: I do try to make the Make Contacts. My company even hosted one of them last year. It’s one of the best ways to consistently stay in touch with other members, meet new people, and get or stay connected to the community.
GGBA: What other advice would you give to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Dan Bodner: Persistence and perspective, those are the two most important ingredients to success, in my view. Keeping motivated and focused on one’s business is obviously necessary to start a new venture. Perspective may be less obvious. When starting out, most people have a big vision for what they want. But very quickly the day to day details can lead to tunnel vision, losing sight of that larger vision and purpose. Whenever I feel I am getting mired down, I try to take a breath and step back from what I am doing. I imagine myself 6 weeks into the future and giving myself advice on a way over the hump. For an even better big-picture view of the present, I sometimes imagine myself on my death bed looking back on this moment, also to give my current self some sage advice and to resize my problems.
For more information: https://quickhaven.com/