Developing a Kingdom Centered Startup: An Interview with Kelson Mudd
Kelson Mudd is an entrepreneur of two startups, Stream and Klink, and a former student on Global U’s Alpha class. From beginning a small familial lawn care business to developing a tech based funding app for missionaries, Kelson has spent his life developing the true heart of an entrepreneur.
Kelson and his sister began to form the idea for his first business, Stream, at the age of thirteen after mowing their next door neighbor's lawn. Through the years, Stream has grown to a small commercial lawn care business and has taken on Kelson’s three brothers as staff. Working closely with his siblings has given their family the opportunity to give back to those who have always poured into them. Their parents have played a huge role in teaching them how to manage the moving parts of entrepreneurship with a heart of grace.
Though lawn care may not be seen as a traditional form of ministry, Kelson has learned that sometimes all it takes is providing quality work with an open heart, saying,
“The simple act of mowing lawns has shown me how much of being like Christ is just showing up and doing what you said you would.”
Innovation is often pictured as developing a completely new product or service. However, innovation can also come from postive change in the good or service you already provide. Sometimes showing people the heart of Jesus is often as simple as a meaningful conversation on the lawn.
Growth and development comes from continually stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to learn new skills from others. Mudd learned from a young age the complexities of management. Contacting customers, maintaining equipment, and owning and running a small business continually pushed Kelson to grow in new ways. These invaluable skills shaped his next step in business and will continue to form the basis of his future startup companies.
From his time on Global U, Kelson has begun a second entrepreneurial endeavor, Klink Fundraising. Klink is a platform that aims to transform traditional fundraising methods into a familiar and integrated daily act of giving.
Early on in the ideation process of Global U, Kelson and the Klink team realized a single problem. No one liked how missions fundraising was done. Having all gone through the funding process, they knew something had to change. Their team had a deep rooted mission - to see Heaven brought to earth in everything they did. They saw the financial struggle and set out to remove the monetary barriers from future innovators and on field missionaries. From the start, Klink has made their mission and values clear: activate the world changers and difference makers in all generations by equipping them with better tools and training for raising financial support.
Through studying the current methods of fundraising, Mudd decided to develop an app that would round up spare change from credit card purchases and distribute it to a fundraiser of their choice. From the vision, Klink’s development team and CTO, Nathan Bird, brought the app to reality and into the hands of people raising support on the mission field.
Building a business while traveling the world with Global U posed some interesting challenges for Klink. Attempting to handle American financial corporations while abroad in Asia was destined for complication. They were initially rejected from over a dozen banks and rejected from the Apple app store over six times with little to no explanation. Though their rejections could have disheartened Kelson and his team, they sought to push through the challenges and continue to work towards the dream God had placed on their hearts. Initial challenges faced in entrepreneurship can shift into opportunities that reach even further than anyone has before.
“While I have been able to transfer many of the lessons of hard work and grit from my landscaping company, the differences between mowing lawns and a tech startup are a constant shock to my entrepreneurial system.”
Beginning a startup company at any age can be extremely complex and stressful. Having mentors that sacrifice their time and resources to impart wisdom on a younger generation is an invaluable part of business and life itself. Mudd attributes his success to the God centered leaders and mentors that have surrounded and uplifted him all of his life. His father has grounded him in entrepreneurial principles since birth and continually supported his endeavors. It’s easy to question if pursuing a startup is worth the stress, time, and effort. Business can be a highly emotional process and Kelson believes the “why” has to run much deeper than surface level emotion. His calling is rooted in something deeper than the pure feeling, but rather placed in the One who gives us divine purpose. When hard things come, he finds security that his heart is grounded in a firm foundation and the people surrounding him are for his good.
To learn more about Kelson’s latest startup, visit https://klinkfundraising.com
If you are looking for an opportunity to develop your own Kingdom centered business and surround yourself with valuable leaders, Global U, a Christian gap year for entrepreneurs can help you reach your dreams.
To read another story of a Global U student entrepreneur, visit https://blog.theglobalu.org/developing-a-kingdom-centered-startup-an-interview-with-chloe-warren/