The first of Castro’s companies, Darkglass Electronics manufactures high-end bass pedals which intensify and creatively distort sound. Clientele include Faith No More, Foo Fighters and Jamiroquai. Castro’s second company, Neural DSP, follows in these footsteps, producing state-of-the art amplifiers and plugins powered by artificial intelligence and neural networks. Both companies have a strong – and growing – global following.
Keep the dream alive – and find others who share it
Based on his experience, would the 34 year-old recommend starting a company to others? “Well, I’d say it might get difficult and painful. You might fail and competing is difficult, not to mention recruiting a team, raising funding, developing a product, managing growth, etc. If you are OK with being always worried and can put up with lots of stress, it’s fine,” Castro says half-jokingly.
“But if you have real passion and a sense of mission – of the reality you want to create – that’s far more important than the pain you might experience when starting your business.”
Douglas Castro is in no doubt about the key to his success: having the right people on board. “My team consists of people I admire, respect, can learn from and like to spend time with. We’ve dreamt big, turned our dreams into a vision, then into a plan to be executed, and finally into a reality.”
He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to “define what talent, competencies and experience you need, and try to find the smartest people who share your values and want to share your dream. Your dream needs to become theirs.”
Going forward, stay agile and vigilant
Neural DSP, now three years old, is still a startup at heart – and Castro intends to keep it that way. “If a company gets too comfortable and tries to secure its position in the market, it will get disrupted by newcomers keen to capitalise on missed opportunities,” he explains.
“We’re going to keep the startup mentality and mindset forever. There’s something beautiful about a small group of people very passionate about their mission. They’re flexible and agile, and always have a fresh perspective on how their product or market could and should be.”