AVANOO’S ORIGINS

Every team member at Avanoo has a story about why we’re here.

These are the stories of our cofounders, Daniel and Prosper.

Daniel’s Story

In 2010, I began a long writing and volunteer journey across three continents. I was interested in people and their potential, and I wanted to understand what tools are required for people to access their full potential.

By mid-2011, I found myself in a little town in Guatemala helping to build homes for orphan and at-risk children. I expected – before arriving – that many of the kids I’d see would be sad, depressed. My experience was the opposite:

What children lacked in material and opportunity they made up for in happiness and connection to each other. One morning, as I watched children play, I wrote:

“I came here because I wanted to give the resources I’ve been lucky enough to acquire to others who don’t have as much. Now I’m wondering what resources these kids have…”

This moment was my inspiration for Avanoo.

“Ava” in Finnish means “open”, and “Noo” in Old English means “now”. I knew I wanted to create an organization that, at its heart and core, explores how to help people recognize their own inner resources and open to their potential right… now!

I had no idea back in 2011 what Avanoo would look like. But I knew the vision was powerful enough for me to take the journey to find out.

That journey saw me (and my wonderful wife!) through chocolate, a pile of debt, and an impossible dream…until June 2013 when Prosper’s story merged with mine.

Daniel Jacobs

Avanoo CEO & Cofounder

Prosper Nwankpa

Avanoo President & Cofounder

Prosper’s Story

In 2011, my business Peanut Labs was acquired by its largest competitor. While already very profitable, the acquiring company gave me a sizable challenge: triple revenues in two years. I shrugged and agreed.

As I reflected on the challenge, I noticed that certain team members always excelled, no matter the challenge. For example, one employee joined us out of college, and we promoted him to CEO 7 years later.

I wondered how to help more team members become “superstars”, and how to find more superstars like them, to continue to accelerate performance.

In my search to learn more about how to increase individuals’ potential, I read the book “Talent is Overrated”. Author Geoff Colvin wanted to understand what makes worldclass performers different.

He assumed it was luck or genetics.

He learned that 98% of high performers were average people who decided they wanted to be great. So they adopted behaviors and mindsets that helped them, over years, chisel a path to greatness.

That’s when the lightbulb went off for me: If genetics or luck wasn’t responsible for outsized performance, then why don’t most people have access to this knowledge? Why do most people assume they can’t achieve their own inner greatness?

By June 2013, Peanut Labs had tripled revenue in two years. And I understood what my next business would be: I wanted to build an organization that supported people in opening to their potential right… now.

As fate would have it, my close friend of 15 years, Daniel, had already set out to do the same thing. It was a perfect match!