Friday, October 4, 2013

Chris Haskell talks about making a career change to a startup

What is your group’s mission?
For every employee in Austin to be able to advocate for their career, resulting in a dramatic increase in productivity and employee engagement. 

What need does it fulfill?
A 2012 study of over 1,000 companies showed over 65% of the current workforce is dissatisfied with their job. A lot of this dissatisfaction comes from people not taking the time to plan a career that is a good fit for them. There is a better way to approach career planning.

What exactly does it bring to startups?
Someone about to enter the startup space can be blindsided by the reality of what they are entering into. We help with the most important step, the planning and preparation stage.

What type of startup would benefit from your group?
Because we are focused on the individual and their ability to understand where they fit in the world of work, we can benefit any organization.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?
Narrowing our target market and refining our ‘go-to-market message’

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Don’t undervalue the importance of engaging with a personal board of directors, or advisory board. The success or failure of your business may be up to you, but it doesn’t mean people won’t help you out if they have been through a similar experience.

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

Honestly it has been the spirit of camaraderie from other local business owners. It is good for Austin when businesses succeed, and local entrepreneurs really take that to heart. I have loved the ‘let’s go get it done’ mentality of a lot of the early stage community I have interacted with.

Where are you from originally?
Anchorage, Alaska. But I got to Texas as fast as I could! 

What university did you go to?
I have a BBA in Finance from University of North Texas and a M.Ed. in Counseling Education from University of Texas in Austin

What brought you to Austin?
I visited a few times when I was an undergrad and liked this city so much I moved here without a job two weeks after I graduated in 2005. I got a job in three quick, and I don’t plan on ever leaving! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Corey Egan and Swapnil Bora Talk about iLumi

Corey Egan and Swapnil Bora Talk about iLumi

Where are you from originally?

Corey is from Dallas, Texas and Swapnil is from Nasik, India

What university did you go to?

We met while graduating at the top of our MBA class at the University of Texas at Dallas

What is the idea behind your startup?

We believe that through innovative technology and design, even the simplest things in life can become extraordinary, and we’ve started with light.

What need does it fulfill?

LED lighting, lighting control, and specialty lighting are all rapidly growing lighting markets, however despite their benefits their inherently complex, expensive, and limited.  ilumi packs all the benefits of these types of systems into a series of sleek and sexy LED lights you control right from your mobile device.

What exactly does it do?

By simply screwing in any combination of ilumi lamps (bulbs) and downloading the ilumi app, you get complete control over your lighting.  Conveniently turn ilumi on/off, adjust the brightness and color, or even program your lighting to do amazing things.

Who is it for?

ilumi is about getting the most out of your space and is perfect for the home or commercial locations like restaurants, bars, or hotels.  It’s a lot less expensive than installed lighting control systems and actually pays for itself in energy savings!

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up?

There have been many technical and business challenges to starting a technology company.  One of the most challenging aspects overall is moving all efforts forward at a similar pace.  All elements of the technology, the market, and the required capital to get where you need to go.

What is the next step for you and your business?

We’ve now launched a Kickstarter campaign to further build the ‘ilumi nation’ community and generate some additional funds to propel us through manufacturing and into customers’ hands by the end of the year.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Go for it with all you’ve got! An idea at rest will stay at rest… an idea in motion can change the world.

What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

As a first time entrepreneur we’ve taken it upon ourselves to reach out to the entrepreneurial and tech communities near and far.  From our crowdfunding supporters, to organizations like the CleanTech Open, to other Entrepreneurs themselves, there is a fervor about these communities that is inviting, challenging, and extremely motivating.