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Entrepreneur Energy – LaunchUp #36 20121206

LaunchUp had a small group of about 22 people at Mountainland Applied Technology College. Thanks to all the sponsors, presenters and companies.
Isles of Mist


Randall Bennett
The small screen – the big picture
Social media for broadcasters. You have seen the NBC showing comments on TV. The smaller broadcaster can’t pull this off. We have Anderson Cooper with Anderson Live. APanama uses us with their national AmIdol show.
We are also with KSL TV and QVC Germany.
We have spent 0 on marketing. We were in Techcruch and some broadcast journals in May 2012. We did spend $200 to get Anderson Live.
Our competitors are clunky and expensive. Lock in contracts, proprietary and difficult to use. We made it easier. No long term contracts (month to month). We are also only $400/month. We also follow Web standards.
This is our interface – we launched in May 2012 and this is the interface that has channels. They click on a button that says “Send To Air.” We are just using the simple web browser and integrates with what they have.
Justin and I are a few of the video hacks in the works. I, Justin was at Radiate Media. I was with the programming side. All the polls are clunky and expensive. Right now they have equipment that costs millions of dollars. They have expensive gear but our clients are getting smarter and they are offloading the work to the client.
We use the Web Standards and you can build stuff that goes on TV. If you are watching a sports broadcast you can send the video to other devices.
So we help with the One Broadcast with many platforms. You can have the broadcast and have it be interactive.
If no budget, no problem. You can just be passionate and you can send up as good as CNN.

Q? Next?
A. Big trade show in April. Want to be marketing. Social media we will work on. Broadcasters flawlessly interact with audience. We haven’t focused on marketing and sales but product. We have made sure that our product works well. Next compile more and more sales.

Q? Networks seem like more live broadcasting. Are you going to change to YouTube or tips so that static can have dynamic?
A. We think that broadcasters are ignored. It is a place where we can have maximum impact and they have budget. I want to build the product that I wanted. My end goal is to have the tools that I want. It is too early and there is no money there. Web video is the same as broadcast but on a PC, video is linear presentation of ideas. The tools can be unified.
Yes we want to work with them but not yet.

Q? How does integration work with channel?
A. Most stations have a computer that they use to display stuff that they hook to their switcher. So we just allow them to add the content easier. Most customers are done in two days.
We have to do some work to make sure that it looks right for their broadcast side. We are trying to build tools and it doesn’t cost us anything for now.

Q? Cool product. Metrics? Do you have any sources to help get in to the broadcasters? Do you have the ability to show that your tools are making it more effective
A. Broadcasters just want to show things. If we can score the viral loop then they will be able to show ROI. We have thought about ads for some of the smaller broadcasters. We are not in that world yet. It will be a big thing.
One metric we can show right now, like KSL posts something then KSL gets 10x posts etc. For them they see the number and we can show them that.

Q? FoxSports Southwest in Texas uses our stream and show our stuff on the left side?
A. It if fun when Anderson Cooper and TX and Panama people. We see huge spikes. Since we launched early others have come up with uses that we didn’t think of.
Enough people were looking for your solution.

Q? Someone like us should exist are going to compete?
A. We have talked to some others and why don’t you charge by market size and other things. We want the platform to be bigger and broader distribution. Our competitors are seeing the large money signs and we look at the bigger vision. We swill stay one step ahead. We have the small business advantage. The others do huge integration and Apps.

Q? Sales Cycle?
A. As soon as they see us they want us and then they get buy off. Our clients for 3 people. Sit for six months. KSL was a 3 day cycle. Fox 40 was a 2 month sale.

Q? How many levels?
A. Pretty short higher. We have people that usually make. Sales cycle is the hardest.

Isles of Mist
You guys are just awesome and we are just making a game.
This is a special game.
First collaborative MMORPG. THis of a server with a ton of people who play together. This though is User driven and collaborative. We are using HTML5.
We provide initial content and initial rules.
Battle system and locations.
They get to create new worlds.
Mod-ing like at Oblivion and you can create for your single player game. This is a way though so that everybody can experience it.
Can we trust the user?
The internet is packed full of the memes and it is pretty impressive what they have come up with. People do this for free and create cool pictures with image overlay. People do these things and love to create. Instead of just consuming we are creating.
We have an array of media that we should bring in to the online gaming world.
Default Continent. We provide a starting point.
They show up here with some towns and social tools, shops, beginner quests, dungeons to get started. This is then the games hub.
We then provide them tools to create their own island, geography, quests and create their own pixel art.
New story
Express and have fun
Islands are stored on the server and they can upload to us.
They can be shared with their friends
They can add anyone of them to their own world map.
Because of all the user added content this will pretty much be limitless. If you and your friends want to do a pirate mission or whatever you can.
What about $$$
The frame will be free. No content is pay restricted.
Players only pay for conveniences like extra character slots, item storage space and extra lives.
Players can buy and sell rare items in our marketplace and we collect a percentage of such transactions.

Q? Are you guys launched?
A. We just started making this game 1.5 months ago. We have a demo and it is pretty cool looking.
We have a multiplayer-multiuser world. Looks good custom avatar.
Walk and attack and block. I am the animator and James programs.

Q? People play minecraft and love it? What is your biggest hurdle?
A. We are most worried about creating a MVP and people can play a game and make sales. See the features and play it. We want to have it released in the next 2-3 months. As long as it is acceptable we want people to see how it programs.
One of the biggest hurdles is the bleeding edge of web technologies. Some of them aren’t amazing. We are using web sorts that allow communication between client and server. Multiplayer with large amounts of data.
One of the problems is making it streamlined enough so that everyone can move smoothly.

Q? What technology?
A. We are written in Java and will translate to NODE. We don’t have a way to deploy Java on a server. HTML 5 and Canvas. We want to move away from Flash and I wanted to move away from it.

Q? Competitive?
A. PVP is the first feature. If we need to do it right then that is the key.

Cody Hunter
We formed in July 2012 and just made up the site a couple of weeks ago. Anyone have a garage that is filled with stuff. We saw a problem with people that have stuff they under utilize. Millions of people who have some.
Others even have a second home. You spend $100 to buy a tiller and don’t use it. There is no platform to rent and share your stuff with the community. There is no platform with local trusted brands (like KSL) to enable that to take place.
We will allow millions of individuals to connect and share or rent your stuff out. This is the collaborative consumption space. We want to tie the tech to this to make it more efficient.
We are partnering with trusted local brands. Real property, services and misc. Vacation rentals, pools, offices, backyard. Tutoring, babysitting etc.
We believe there is a disruptive opportunity. The vast majority is Ace Rents, Timp Rentals but this empowers individuals (like Ebay for rentals).
We will partner with local newspapers, websites, classifieds, universities (32,000 at UVU) and other niche intrastate websites.
KSL classifieds has 5 million.
AirBB just raised $7 millions and they are renting out spaces. A lot of people wanted to do that. In Manhattan NY they rent out more personal rooms than the hotels. If they are willing to rent a room in their house why not equipment?
KSL will be able to utilize our platform.
Free to Join. We leverage social networks
Escrow payment provisioning system
List – asset listing functionality
Find – search and booking functionality
Ask – Request ask for something
Post it board
Trust features
The local rental is exactly the same as the buy right now with KSL.
MONEY: % of each transaction
Rent anything
Platform – trusted brands partnership.
Early beta – use and list an item
Post on our blog and chance to win an IPad (11/15)

Q? Partnership in key feature with local trusted brands? Other markets and smaller niches. Do you have javascript?
A. Base functionality of the transaction for now. I worked for a couple of startups that were pretty successful. My role at Orange Soda was to partner with the companies. We want to link with feeds as well. We see that on our roadmap.

Q? Challenge to do things onsite?
A. Our initial model is the partner channel ie. KSL. Being able to allow 5 million to sign on to ours is a huge opportunity We will be most likely co-branded with them. The long term goal is to connect with and Eventually the users will be ours. If you are searching for something locally you have to work locally.

Q? Why partner with brands? Why not just be like the best thing for UVU? If you went to KSL then they will tell you all you have to do. Why not be more community? University is the best. BYU has so much outdoor stuff. Going B2B you will paint yourself in to a corner.
A. Our initial phase is to test the product. We want to beta with universities. Licensing the platform versus being in the middle. What we are testing with the initial launch. If we can get direct users without partnerships that is even better.

Q? What is the price difference? How are you going to charge enough to cover insurance?
A. Insurance is a third party deal. If I want to rent tiller and it is $50/hour at Ace then I can rent for lower. We are an escrow company. As we get further along we will provide recommendations.

Q? So when things are wrong (out of gas, flat tire etc)?
A. Ebay-esque like things. You are interacting with local issues. You will work that out normally. We will provide feedback as well. Ratings and reviews.
We will have levels of certification that they will sign off on with trusted users.

Q? Do you rent things?
A. I am an entrepreneur at heart. I had an experience that got me thinking about it. 0.5 acre lot. I wanted to get one of those large industrial mowers and they wanted to charge $200 minimum. I guarantee that someone would be in the area with one so that I shouldn’t have to rent. This space is on fire.
There are lot of things that I wouldn’t rent but there are things other people would.

Q? Specific niche?
A. We will probably focus on a couple of categories. Snowmobile and skis. That makes sense. If you have 10 people that use this at a University for skis this would be good.

ASK – developers or engineers.

Nick Macey
Experiment or die
Over the years I have seen a lot of failed experiments and that is why I am here. I am with Rock & Hammer Ventures. I am also working with PayPal and we are trying to move the business forward.
Decisions are usually
Idea -> Chest thump and gut decision -> Build -> Fake research -> Launch -> New Idea
The perfect product is not really bug free. With Ideas there is no way to tell what made a difference to the product.
This is mostly driven by gut instinct.
Failures in User Research:
7 states are not the entire US and 7 customer interviews is not your customer base.
When I went to PayPal they were moving offline and they had a bunch of concepts. We had focus groups about what we already had as a product. We got great feedback but then they re-wrote the whole thing for just the small group.
Product Learning Toolbox:
Experiment and hypothesize THEN run A/B Tests; Multivariate test; Pre/Post analysis. At PayPal we changed the flow for the user and just dropped them in to the middle as a test. We then tested the users to see what they would do.
The winning flow increased us by 22% acquisition.
buy food + drink = focus group (Facebook invite)
twitter, Facebook and google market research
Q? Venture on revenue based financing, how does your structure work?
A. The deals are for a percentage of revenue on a monthly basis. If you have worse or better we do with you. We don’t do an equity warrant on the business.


Dan Sampson
CTO of 3 different companies. First one was only the two of us. We wanted to look big. At marketecture we have over 80 employees and millions of dollars. Hopefully you will get good information.
Sales versus product. How do you sell and what is delivered.
In a startup you don’t have money. You have to figure out how to get your now money to finance. Usually there is only 1 or 2 of you. And then the customer asks, “can you do this?” and you always answer yes and over sell yourself. You have all these promises and no time to get it done.
1) Learn to say “no.” We can’t do it now but in three months. It is not a big a deal breaker.
2) Don’t drink your own kool-aid. The problem is that we outsell ourselves to a partner that is going to shape the future of the company. But then the launch falls on its face. It doesn’t help grow the company. The biggest thing is be brutally honest with what your product is. Just because you have a product weakness is okay if you have a Roadmap. Make sure you know what you can do.
3) Driving a vision. It is critical as CTO that I drive the vision properly. We are going to do this and this. You have to know what the vision is. We have weekly development meetings. This is what we are doing. But that was not enough. Employees, partners and fellow execs didn’t know the future. You need to know what is down the road. At Marketecture we sit down in December. We have big buckets and we say where we are and where we want to be.
We also have a 3 month rolling Roadmap with more details. Most importantly is driving your vision and communicating early.
Everyone needs to know it before they ask the question.
4) HR is your friend. Most likely your employees want the best for your company. About 1.5 years ago we had an employee who was adequate and passionate but he wanted to do it on his order and timeline. We had to eventually let him go.
I was trying to be nice and walk him through it. And it happened with some other developers. I then decided I should talk with them one on one and be a better a manger. Writing someone up was nerve racking. The wonderful outcome was that they knew where they find in the big picture. So we have some others that are shiny examples – might be a write up.
5) How to scale. When you grow you have to scale employees, process, hardware and other things. We have a small business online tool. We are part hosting company. For the first year and half we managed our own servers. Our biggest problem was that when we would launch new partners we could take 3 days to 2 weeks to order new hardware.
We ended out deciding that we didn’t want to do the hardware that we got sucked in to. We have migrated to the Cloud with Rackspace. We found out that we can use Amazon as backups as well. This has worked for us.

Q? How long from conception to launch?
A. The whole idea has been going from a long while a got. 11/09 we wanted to move to a SaaS company win 3/10. We spun up from there.

Q? When you moved to Rackspace are you managing?
A. If we were going to manage our own hardware we would have to grow admins. They manage the hardware and we have a report that says we need more memory and they do it.
As you grow you hire employees. When you can get rid of those you can save so much time.

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