I honestly think our PIC venture started at one of the best times ever. I think when we were starting to put together the project, we recognized and took into account the fact that the vaccine was on its way and people would be going to be out and about more. We also took into consideration a lot of places people would be taking pictures at were in “reopening phases” and people would love their pictures taken, so look at it as a great opportunity and almost a reset in the market. To answer the question of whether it stands a gain or loss, I would definitely say gain. People coming out of the quarantine period want to do nothing more than take pictures with their family and friends and show how things are back to normal. PIC also adds jobs for photographers looking to take pictures of people so it really is a win-win. In terms of the decisions we made, we really didn’t have to make many based on COVID-19 since the app is already a contactless service and everything is done wirelessly. Lastly, in terms of the economy, our app does not charge people a ridiculous amount for the service and it seems that people are actually spending money on just about anything these days since they have been cooped up in their homes. All in all I really think COVID-19 helped, not hurt.
I think PIC is in a pretty good position while still needed some hard work to be done. The biggest hump to get over is Jake and I’s knowledge on actually producing an application of this size especially with needed capabilities similar to a car sharing service. I really do believe with all of this said, I would invest in the idea. I see Snappr being its only competition which already says enough, because everybody knows there is always room for “more than one”. Uber and Lyft, Chipotle and Moes..The list goes on and on. People have their preferences and they always will. I think as far as “meaningful milestones” go, we do not know since they are data driven questions and this is a hypothetical service idea. I really think to take this company “over the top” would take a ton of marketing and possibly seed funding to fund all the press and marketing needed. Firmly believe if everybody had the opportunity to use the app, they would. Looking forward to continuing the research on the project.
An ideal business partner for myself would be someone with exceptional quantitative and data analytic abilities. My skillset lies more heavily in verbal communications skills like leading a pitch meeting, marketing, or coming up with a new idea for a product. A quantitative counterpart would be able to bring these ideas to fruition with superior skills developing algorithms and creating numerical deliverables that better elaborate on the usefulness and feasibility of our product. I’d be most likely to find such a counterpart in a STEM-field, particularly someone who’s in a class like advanced computer science yet still has an interest in engineering and entrepreneurship. There are many STEM-oriented students in student entrepreneurship organizations who I would ideally reach out to as well. Furthermore, at the highest level in leadership, because quantitative workers are so essential, I would likely give my partner or main partners the same amount of equity that I have in the project. This would foster a democratic organization where no one feels beholden or controlled by my interests, and also offers a crucial economic incentive to these individuals. After listening to subsequent episodes of the podcast, I still hold my previous opinions on having a business partner. I most likely wouldn’t be pitching a business alone in the first place and finding a person as my complement in the business would essentially be like finding my equal. I believe that equity in entrepreneurial space is crucial to preventing toxic power dynamics that can hamper a business. That being said, I would probably pay people proportionally to their long-term performance and investment in the business as well, while also taking into consideration when I hired them.
If you’re like most young entrepreneurs, you likely have a great deal of doubt about your ability to succeed. Entrepreneurs tend to overestimate just how reluctant venture capitalists and investors are to dish out their money to a young kid or group of kids with very little experience. However, after listening to an illuminating discussion between entrepreneur Alex Blumberg and Chris Sacca, I know realize that this assumption is sorely mistaken. Given the right pitch, you’ll have venture capitalists throwing money at you. The key to a great pitch is not just a solid pitch deck, or fundamental understanding of the financial landscape of the industry. As was demonstrated by Blumberg’s sidewalk pitch, they key to a convincing pitch is a truly conversational and intuitive understanding of one’s business and purpose. If you stop leaning on the crutch of statistics and metrics, you can unleash a bevy of charismatic potential sure to attract any investor. Focus on the “unfair advantages” that truly set yourself apart. If you don’t get the pitch, re-evaluate your investor, and whether this is what you really want in a funding advocate.