December 15, 2011
Here’s an interview with Brandy Wimberly, the Chief Marketing Officer for Buyvite. Buyvire is a really new start-up, set to launch its product this month. This interview is not only about Buyvite, but also about what it’s like to go from a product concept to a company. This is the very first days of a new business.
What is Buyvite?
Buyvite is a group payment system that is set to launch in December 2011. We have created a unique web/mobile based application that is designed to leverage the power of social commerce in a very streamlined and user friendly way. Our proprietary system functions differently than similar companies.
How did you get the idea for the company?
I have been working professionally in Internet marketing for many years. I project manage a lot of interactive and ecommerce development projects and work with clients on digital marketing. I work at the agency level and have also launched a side company that builds iOS apps. So the idea for the company sprang from my existing technical and marketing background, but also came from seeing a need that wasn’t necessarily being addressed in the most user friendly way. I go into every interactive project with the philosophy that form follows function. From the smallest website build to a large scale Fortune 500 intranet project, I always want to make sure that the UX is intuitive and easy to navigate. For me, I think that helps generate ideas. I like to look at how something is currently designed for the user and think of ways to make it a more satisfying experience.
What were the first steps in going from the idea to actually starting the company?
The game changer for starting Buyvite was when I aligned the company with Rocket Ventures. They are a local seed fund and incubator that were instrumental in helping to source funding for the company, assisting with team building and offering expertise with crafting investor presentations, an area I was not that experienced with. I think anyone interested in starting a company should find a regional start up incubator. It can be invaluable to partner with a group solely focused on getting good ideas to market.
What have you learned so far from the experience of beginning a start-up that you didn’t know before?
Starting a company or venture is not an easy undertaking and there are definitely hard lessons learned along the way. Some of these lessons are obvious and often iterated but ring true. Statements like you have to fail to succeed, have a thick skin, believe in your idea and never give up. But for my experience the top three lessons are to believe in your idea and other will too, go into every project with the intention of learning from the experience, not necessarily for immediate success, and be conscious of who you are bringing to the table to join your team.
-Perseverance is critical. If you have experience in a particular vertical and can deconstruct the landscape to see a different or more efficient way of doing something that already exists, persevere. There will be a lot of people who don’t see the value of your concept, maybe even from inside of your industry. But if it’s an area you understand and clearly have a vision for, then investors will trust in your passion and ability.
-For me, lessons of past failures have often have led to future successes. Investors always want to know what experience you have to help get your company off the ground. For me, I complemented my full-time job at an agency with side businesses like launching a magazine, an iOS App Development business and a Facebook App. None of these efforts were ground breaking or made millions, but these experiences built confidence in my investors that I had the skill and ability to create and direct a technology startup.
-Be careful who you hire. It’s no secret that the technology startup climate seems to favor young men, fresh from college with big ideas, but little business knowledge. I have made the mistake of hiring people lacking in professional experience in hopes of being able to leverage knowledge of their demographic and hire them at a reduced rate. This has proven to be a mistake more than a few times. It’s been my experience that it’s much better to hire professionals than to have to roll the dice with an unpredictable situation like a college intern. This is definitely not a knock against college interns, but when you are outsourcing work to someone not on your payroll, it can be precarious.
How did you plan the trajectory of buyvite for the next few years?
The plan for Buyvite over the next few years is to grow the company organically with strong partnerships, excellent customer service and by staying true to our company mission. Someone I respect in the industry recently said “startups don’t need to boil the ocean.” I think that’s a great way of looking at the best way to launch a new venture. Coming out with a beta product and a Times Square Advertisement is not the approach we are interested in. Our goal is to thoughtfully and methodically grow a successful enterprise that prioritizes the experience of our partners and our site members.