Skip to content

Entrepreneur Energy – LaunchUp #28 20120405

LaunchUp had an attendance of about 70 people at Mountainland Applied Technology College. Thanks to all the sponsors, presenters and companies. During the presentations I learned some new things and was introduced to more new people. Keep it up!


Controlpad – Adam Campbell
This is one of our new ventures. Mobile device connections will hit 10 billion by 2016 and there are only 7 billion people in the world. Tech experts believe this is one of the largest movements in mankind. When people ask how big mobile, we think it is “mobilenormus.” This is a word we created.
I started the company in 2009. I did it because I didn’t have a job. I was on unemployment and I decided to get my selling shoes on and sell this. I found some customers for software development and video production. One day I was siting with a large customer and I was thinking that unemployment sucks. Sping7media is not very scalable I would not want to have 500 offices or franchise.
I thought about my customer and thought about the product. I wanted to get in to the mobile space. He told me about how the problem is that web design and marketing doesn’t match mobile.
If I build brown leather chair I have to build a nice website and shopping cart and pictures and Google wants me to have all the shades of brown and SEO and customer review and blogs. But when a mobile person is on the phone they only look at a site for 6 seconds.
The difference is context versus content. So now they know they have a problem. They might go to their IT department and say they just need 500 unique mobile websites. When we realized they need a control pad or launching center where they can build, manage, and create mobile. They could have a starting place to do this. I bought the domain We put in the trademarks and we are building our platform.
We like the image based navigation with flipboards.
We get asked what is the difference in what you do? We have an agile platform that will change with the market. So in the mobile market place you have NFC, Google goggles, AR Codes etc. Based on what our customers are asking for, they want to have a central control pad for all the new technology. We move with the market and want to be the launching point.

Financial partners to fuel growth
More technical developers
Translate in to other languages
create jobs
finance market share

Q? I want to understand. When a company wants to create a mobile application they come to you?
A. We are working on web based solutions right now so they can get that. Going on from that the largest user of mobile sites is Starbucks. They have about 3 million members.
We just landed a contract with a company that will have 10 million users on our site.

Q? You build mobile sites for them?
A. We are building the platform and co-building their sites.

Q? Are you focusing on e-commerce?
A. Obviously using Google Wallet. We don’t really like retail but we are more of the enterprise and go after the larger customer.

Q? Can you describe how they would use the pad?
A. It’s kind of like WordPress but cooler. We are like 37 signals with Basecamp. We are building our product along the way. So there are new things. We are a platform where they can do WYSIWYG creation. We are building an open source community so the clients can build whatever they want.

Q? How many people and what is strategy to find investors?
A. This is the first thing that I have ever tried. For me as an entrepreneur I have been knocking doors and don’t want to give up equity and I have found some big customers and am now holding a tiger by the tail.

Q? Are you prepared to artificially govern your business? Sometimes the tiger bites?
A. I am not prepared to artificially govern it.

Q? Monetize?
A. SaaS monthly and then some custom development.

Change Anything – Vince Han
It’s a pleasure to be here. I am excited to share Change Anything with you.
Quick question. What % of patients with heart bypass surgery return two years later to their old habits? Changing behavior is really hard and 90% of them return to their pattern.
Dieters spend $40 billion per year with a success of only 5%.
There was a study to see how they could increase blood donations. They asked whether it would make a difference to be pure volunteer or paid money to donate. Which group yielded more? Volunteers out donated by 40%. It wasn’t about money.
It is about a Willpower trap
1) Consequences of not changing are significant, obvious and forthcoming.
The change desired is simple to understand then we sometimes think there is a “willpower trap.” Our mission is to be the premier platform for personal change to help achieve goals. If you can change the behavior you can change the outcome.
“make more money” then what do you have to do … How we do it.
Smart phone is your partner. Engage you friends and family. Constant useful feedback.
We are blind to influence that effects our behavior. To give you constant useful feedback then we are helping.
We are uniquely positioned because I started with VitalSmarts a corporate training company that published two bestsellers. At we are applying technology
I was with Battery Ventures at MIT. I founded the company when I was on the east cost 2 years ago.
60 sec primer on the science. Choose a vital behavior that has 2 attributes – if you do it will achieve goal.
1 – will ensure success
2 – outside your comfort zone
(go to bed at 10pm, brush my teeth)
You will try for 2-3 days and then you don’t do it… but we will help you.
If I keep my behavior and I don’t get a change then I didn’t find the right vital behavior. Weigh myself every day, no snacking after 7 pm. Try it on your own, then try it on We just released our mobile app. We are seeing a good hockey stick on our free app.

Q? I want to know what or if you might be moving toward in the self-help area with tech, how do you see that helping professional training?
A. We are really excited in what is coming with instructional design and what people learn. We think this is perfect time. People want to change and are looking for self-help. There is no defacto platform for change. They only have running or other niche solutions.

Q? After the presentations you mentioned what people would want to get to. How do you find the barrier?
A. We give them the right cues. One of the biggest mistakes at first was we tried to tell people what the answer was. Most people are stuck in the willpower trap and they know what they need to change usually.

Q? Monetize?
A. We have done a lot of revenue to sell platform as B2B model. In January we have 40 clients and we are putting that on hold and going straight to the consumers. Monetization is a distraction from the user experience and we will worry more about it next year.

Q? Statistically measurable?
A. When people engage in our model they are 10x more successful.

Q? How big and how are you marketing?
A. We have 22,000 users and we want to iterate. People are finding us and we are happy with how they are finding us. 5 employees in the US and 6 outsourced.

Q? What percent of users follow?
A. 10% power user who really engages through different ways.

Q? If I was with a larger enterprise wanting growth interpersonal or performance, is there a way to do some certification?
A. We have worked with large companies on it and we are not at all in the B2B anymore it’s too distracting.

Arena machines – Jeff Shchwarting
Two years ago I was getting a summer job between classes. I got a job as a sales guy in a tech company. I hated being bad at selling and trying to figure out what was wrong. I tracked my activities to track my bad performance.
So I had to build it because we didn’t have any performance reporting data. We talked to other companies to see if they lacked performance data but they didn’t. There were people who were building spreadsheets and doing that using man hours. 100,000 hours.
Your CRM already has – How are the clients doing and all the interactions. All the data for performance is in the CRM but it is extremely hard to find out how a person is performing. Conversion raters and other metrics. So companies use spreadsheets and do double entry.
Solution for us is to do a plugin to see in dashboards. This is for managers and you as salesman. This is not something new. Business Intelligence. They are too expensive and complex as tools. Our proposal is to make it simple. You want # in, % converted and $ revenue. We want to reduce the manual labor. And then you are not introducing human error and the sales process is closer. It is a robot and proactive. I don’t have to look at the spreadsheets, I can get email before I would have checked.
We are in the early stages and have not closed a sale yet. We can start building our own prototype. We are doing customer validation now and seeing what they want. We are closing the risk. We want to avoid it. We want to assure that customers are going to want this and need this.
We interviewed companies initially with 5 people. They were offering to fund the project. Then we interviewed more and found that our customers were a very small group of the general population.
It was really difficult to figure out the critical pain that we are solving and how to communicate it. Who did we need to talk to and about what? We are creating prototypes and validating. So we are looking to create a project with 10 companies to pay for it.
We are identifying our customers right now. We don’t want money since we want our customers to fund it.
Sales managers with teams of 10+ on commission. CRM complexity will be simplified. A simple solution $XXX.xx per month
We want a technical partner who knows CRM.

Q? What is the target market – which CRM and what reports?
A. Salesforce and one company uses ACT. The reports that are not in the CRM is not possible. You can do everything that we want to create. One company took 36 months to create the report. We want to simplify that process.

Q? Slide about lessons learned. What is proprietary about this?
A. Good question. I don’t know what is proprietary. There are some companies that create these plugins and they are successful.

Q? Have you spoken with Domo? They are solving a similar problem. They are a team that is already doing the very same thing in the same field.
A. Great.

Q? Is this just a Salesforce problem or does it happen in Sugar and Zoho?
A. Inside Sales has their own CRM. Over 95% don’t use Inside Sales they are in Salesforce so we have a huge market.

Q? Is this an addon then?
A. This is a dashboard that would show how you are doing with quotas.

Q? SMB or enterprise?
A. Large enterprises have Taleo and others.
A. We are guessing SMBs and we talked to one with 300 people who was willing to pay. Our guess is SMB.

Amp Session
Your Solution is not my Problem – Andrew White
There have been a lot of changes in this past year for me and it has been quite an adventure. This presentation started at Ignite in Vegas and that is on a timer. I am looking forward to setting my own pace here tonight.
We like to fix things as humans. We like it so much that we start when there is a problem. Sometimes we do something without instructions or tell people to download an app when we don’t know what they need. You can’t do a company like this. You cant just shoot blindly at a dart board and hope you hit.
Because of this we have created the super team – hacker, hipster and hustler and that is the team to build a solution and pitch. Sometimes you end out with Wave but then it died. If you don’t recognize it then no-one knows or cares.
Ideas are worthless unless you can build them.
And then you have to be able to sell or else it isn’t it.
The part that is crucial is someone who is passionate about the Problem. This person and the customer doesn’t care … as long as the “glowing rock’ helps them they don’t care what it is.
We sometimes go to find problems. Some things are interesting and cool. Oops did I do that? You need a real problem that is a Shark bite problem. If you can solve this persons issue then you are in. You have to have passion to follow this. It is the only thing that will carry you.
You find the passion in yourself or the person you are next to. It comes from people in the trenches. Have you ever wondered why what you are doing is hard? That is where it starts.
See how big the opportunity is. Bill Gates helped us make sure we didn’t have to develop software AND hardware. Dell helped us with simple hardware. Mark Zuckerberg connected us.
You need to take the opportunity by finding out things from others. You never know where you will find those opportunities. If you don’t take advantage of it then you miss out.
You know the guy that “had that idea” but he didn’t do it. He was there and had the same chance. But there is really no such thing as luck. Opportunity meets preparation and then you can seize this moment.
You won’t get it right the first time. Why NOT?! There are a lot of injuries but you should give it a shot. So many times we don’t regret the thing that we try.

Q – How do you or what do you recommend to finding the Shark Bite problems?
A – Get the customer involved as early as possible. And then really listen. You can take that out of your mind if you go with your own thought. The problem you want to solve may be in their way. When you identify their problem then you have to work to the root cause. Customers are good for 2 things.
1 problems and then 2 validate.
Once you ask them to define the solution they are out of their space. You have to really understand the problem.

Q – How have you applied this successfully?
A – I have had my own company that I exited this time last year. Before that I did BoomStartup doing 10 companies and saw this process. I did it with 2 companies on my own. I saw there were many more mosquito bites versus shark bites.
You should find this out fast. You don’t need a million people but you can do it on your own in a few days.

Q? Something like the iPad didn’t have a huge problem it solved?
A. Part of that is the billion dollars in the bank. You can produce something as a blue ocean. That can work and is not the most efficient.

Q? Cues for Shark versus mosquito?
A. Frequency. And then find out how big the pain is. Go to a dollar amount – wasted resources, wiling to pay, then agree to a final number. “You spend this much time and pay this much money? And you agree that it is about $5000/month. So, if I can get it for $2500/month and greater output would you like it?”
You have to get to a number so that you are talking in the same terms.

Q? If you follow the recipes for the shark bite and make solution then when do you start marketing?
A. It depends on the market. If you are B2B you don’t need viral. You have to understand who the customer is specifically.
If you say, “everyone needs this…” you’re wrong. Not everyone does need it. You need to understand the pain and where these people hang out. Marketing is a component.
Customer development is so much better as a sales funnel. It is harder to sell than just discover. You may know that you have the solution. They will agree with the solution.

In the Weeds
Brandon Dewitt
I loved the Google Wave logo. We decided that our support site was Google Wave but we let that go.
Background about me is working at Money Desktop. We acquired a company I founded with a partner MyJibe. We bootstrapped our company and then I was part of another company and I have gone through a couple of different ways of financing. I am usually the technology guy that is way down in the weeds.
Some of the most important decisions you make are early in the life cycle of the business. Not too many of them hurt. Business formation, financing and now there are new things that are happening.
There are a bunch of incubators or startup clubs. We will connect you to people, engineers and cash. I helped start a company through an incubator. You hear about venture, private equity and angels. You have to really know a little bit about a lot of things. If I get into an angel situation what will that lead to? What are the things that I have to do?
And when I am working with an incubator I need to know how things are structured. That is really important. Our tech guys get caught up in solving the problem but if you have only 2% of the equity of the company at exit it hurts quite a bit.
One of the most important things to know is understand how far you are willing to go to protect the business. Be super passionate about keeping a clean business structure. When you are looking at the other side of the table and want to acquire a company, keep in mind some of the things you think about it like a strategy.
Your product is so good that if you tell the business customer then they will buy it absolutely. You can come up with some of that by working with mentors. There are people in the industry that are starving for people who are willing to share. They have niche knowledge in things and it has been very rare that they have not wanted to share their knowledge.
It is extremely simple to get in the door and tap the knowledge. What you can do is find mentors and you can go in those businesses. Intern, help out and live a call.
Very frequently there has been a yes. Or super busy and not going to be around or send me an email …
But when you are starting and are trying to size it up, then do it.
But as a software engineer I hate networking. I consider the Internet the place to meet people. But as a technology guy I understand that in busines I have to reach out on purposes. I will talk to people about the ideas.
The more you do that you will validate and change your ideas and discover the real pain. You will find ideas that are more and more valuable over time. One way to really, really know that you are headed down the right path is to do it with someone else.
Go to a startup in Provo, Salt Lake or Ogden and just be around it. Companies are weird because they think they are hip. We love people being around and telling us that we have great ideas. Just hang out at startups. There are very few that kick you out of an office. You will find that they will help guide you through the woods. You will be there for good and bad decisions. That will help you as you make your own decisions.
That is where I made a lot of mistakes and also where I found some great mentors who helped me with business number 2 and 3.
Don’t leave here today without finding someone that you can visit within a startup. There is no reason that everyone shouldn’t be in that startup in the next four weeks.
That dude Brandon just broke the ice for you. If you want to be an entrepreneur you will have super highs and devastating lows and an awesome ride.
Come engage and meet with startups, be aware of what you want to give way and that will be the most expensive you will play with. If there is no one else to ask you can ask me at Money Desktop.

Q? Contact?
A. My name is brandon twitter – @abrandoned

Q? 30 second recap money desktop?
A. A local startup with 50 employees. We are heavily coding with the Banks. Their industry is being rocked. There are companies that are helping bank to reach in to deeper level and knowing their individual customers. There’s way more detail to it than that.
We are looking for developers and good people. Good people know good people. We doubled in size last year.

Q? As a tech guy how much business do you have?
A. At Money Desktop not much, thankfully. At other companies a lot of meeting with lawyers. A lot. In previous companies there were a lot of meetings. We have an amazing team that are taking care of that. As the tech guy you have to know the market to deliver.

Q? How are you financed and how long have you been round?
A. Been around for 2 years and I was bought 4 months ago. We are financed by angel rounds. There are a couple of guys who have exited. They see the strategy and want to be a part. That is one of the things that they want to do and be there. We all kind of check our egos at the door to make something bigger.

Q? Are you a Serial Entrepreneur?
A. No. The exits happened way too soon. The time value of money is okay. But then someone picks it up and then you are sometimes young and dumb. And so it can be really difficult. I will definitely do startups because I am stubborn. I don’t enjoy bureaucracy because I am stubborn.
I like to reduce chaos in the universe and that is my goal so I drive efficiency.

Announcements – John Richards
third year and we choose 10 best fit. We give 3 months and 20,000 in cash and 80,000 in in-kind items. We sponsor a dinner at the end for investors. We get 6% common stock. We have about 50 mentors who are committed this year. Instead of big meetings we are doing one on one interviews. We have 2 spots left open and 4 weeks of private interviews.
I encourage you to email me to meet with Robb Kunz and or Me. For me this is a labor of love and I want to encourage the community.

Grow America springboard

Posted in Entrepreneur.

Tagged with , , , , , , , .