NWA Entrepreneurial All-Stars: Spencer Jones

Aug 2, 2021

After more than a year of being forced apart by the pandemic, we are celebrating what makes the Northwest Arkansas venture ecosystem great by highlighting the incredible founders and hardworking entrepreneurial support organization leader – all of whom drive our region forward and make it a better place to start a business!  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing profiles from some of the region’s entrepreneurial all-stars… Be on the look-out for more!  




Who has had the most influence on you in your professional/entrepreneurial journey? 

This is a really tough question. I want to say “Accelerator Programs” but that’s not a person. If I had to pick a person, I might say Allan Daisley. He was the program director at ZeroTo510, the medical device accelerator I did in Memphis, TN back in 2015. He was so encouraging, and aside from helping us learn all the technical knowledge about med devices, he really taught me what was expected out of entrepreneurs and how to embody that. He was hard on us, but always so supportive and gave us the tools to succeed. His leadership through that 13 week period absolutely changed the course of my life as an entrepreneur.  


What do you think has been your biggest achievement yet? 

No doubt getting FDA clearance for SafeBreak. It was 6 years in the making and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We had such a long, grueling regulatory journey and to come out on the other side with a Class II, De Novo clearance meant everything to me. We got clearance a few days before my 30th birthday, which is great because now I can say I got my first device cleared before I turned 30! 


What about your biggest setback or challenge; and how did you overcome it?

A few years back I was just not having fun at work anymore. I was letting others steal my joy and work was draining to the point that my mental health was not doing great. I had to really focus on only worrying about the things I could control and not letting others drag me down. Once I stopped waiting on other people to put forth effort to improve or change things, it helped me compartmentalize things that weren’t worth wasting my mental energy on and find real peace. 


If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be? 

I would tell myself that it’s going to take longer than I think it will, and to trust my gut. Being coachable and impressionable as a young entrepreneur is key, but it’s important to remember that people will try and steer you into doing what’s best for them, even if it doesn’t benefit you or align with your vision as an entrepreneur.  


What’s your favorite business tool? 

This is going to sound dumb, but Google and YouTube. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked some version of “how’d you know how to do that”, and 99% of the time the answer is “I Googled how to do it and found an article/video explaining how”. Aside from that, I’m a big G-Suite fan. I don’t know what I’d do without my Google Calendar. 


What makes a successful entrepreneur?  

Two things stick out in my head when I hear this question. The first is an insatiable desire to know “why” and “how”. That desire to know how something works, why it was designed that way, how elements of a system interplay, etc. is really critical to getting to the root of a problem or inefficiency; and only then can you develop a solution. The second is being a fast-learning problem solver. The critical early stage for most entrepreneurs involves solving loads of different problems in disciplines you have little formal training in. There’s no one to delegate to, so it’s up to you to drive forward with pace, learning on the fly, overcoming unique challenges. 


Someone wants to start their own business – what’s the first piece of advice or first step you recommend to them? 

I always recommend putting their business idea on a lean canvas. Next piece of advice is to exhaustively research existing solutions and investigate the stakeholder chain or system that they’re solution is going to fit into. 


What’s a typical day of work look like for you? 

I check emails on my phone as soon as I wake up but then I’m usually sitting down at my desk with coffee between 8 and 8:30am. At my desk I have two massive monitors plus my laptop screen, so it basically feels like a flight simulator with tabs and windows everywhere. Zoom calls, emails, and drafting documents all day from there. I try and frontload meetings M-Thursday so my Fridays I can finish projects and do more administrative work. I usually work until about 5:45pm or later depending on how busy we are. I’m also OCD about my inbox, so if I have more than 10 total unread emails across my four g-mail accounts I get anxiety and won’t stop work until I get that under control. 


What keeps you up at night? 

My dog snoring (kidding but also not). It used to be FDA clearance but not anymore. We’re hiring a few key positions right now that have to succeed, so attracting and retaining talented hires keeps me up right now.  


How do you stay motivated? 

I’m a pretty driven person, so the motivation to compete, overcome, and win is fairly innate. That being said, helping patients and nurses is where this all started and is really the primary motivating factor. I definitely have a vision for Fayetteville and this region when it comes to entrepreneurship and economic development that I’d like to see come to fruition. Having a good amount of personal capital will help me make that vision a reality, so growing the company to a point where we can have a large liquidity event is a motivating factor as well.