In 2010, with the co-founding of Sphero, Adam Wilson made his childhood dream come true. Adam’s love of robots began while watching the movie, “Short Circuit” as a boy. The movie was about a robot that came to life and became people’s friend. Adam loved this idea and it translated to his real life as he aged. In high school he was more interested in programming and math and science than traditional high school activities and this continued as he entered college. He studied at the University of Northern Colorado and received two degrees; one in mathematics with a minor in computer science and a physics degree, with another minor in computer science. Throughout his college life he also worked as a teacher’s assistant, primarily in physics classrooms. A short three months after graduating from UNC he co-founded Sphero, bringing his original robot turned friend, dream to life!
Sphero’s original pitch was a toy robot ball, set out to redefine creative play. The primary concept would be solely that a Sphero was something fun and new to play with. Originally the concept was not tied to education but came to be as the company went through a seed incubator – Techstars. Through this partnership, Sphero received funding and mentorship at an accelerated pace and came to life in a short three months. Thus the version of Sphero that we are more familiar with today came alive – A robot ball that can be controlled (coded) through a smartphone or tablet. In 2015, Sphero then partnered with Disney’s accelerator program which allowed the company to gain worldwide recognition. Sphero is now utilized in over 400 000 schools, with various products, to help teach a variety of skills and concepts through coding!
Sphero currently operates with a team of five key executives including Adam Wilson. These other team members include Paul Berberian, CEO; Ben Carney, VP of Finances; Jim Booth, Chief Operating Officer and Joe Houlihan, Senior VP. Reading the credentials and connections that these men all offer, it is clear that they have certainly played a key role in getting Sphero to where it is today.
While researching Adam and his vision behind Sphero, it became quite evident that he possesses the essential attributes of successful entrepreneurship. Listening to him speak in various videos, as early as 2012 at LeWeb in Paris, to more recent in Microsoft Ads, his humility along with passion for his product and for creating shines through. It is also quite clear that he himself is continuing to grow and evolve in his thinking as the company ads and designs more products.
Discovering the creation of Sphero and completing this analysis has confirmed to me that if I were to enter the entrepreneurial world, I would need a solid team. Teamwork is so fitting in education and seems fitting that I would be drawn to a company and co-founder that values the team. Even in his initial discussions about his high school experience he talked about his group of friends he would take apart VCR’s with – aka his high school team. While they were initially self-starters, Adam chose to team up and collaborate with Techstars, then again with Disney as Sphero began to evolve. The value in working with others towards a common goal provides such a valuable wealth of knowledge that with the right team of people any company is sure to grow and succeed.