Entrepreneur's Secrets from Tech Cocktail's Hottest Start-Ups
Last week, The Daily Muse received the honor of being featured as one of 10 start-ups at Tech Cocktails’s Tech Start-Up Showcase in New York. And we were in excellent company! From social networks for music and food to extreme travel sites, the companies that joined us were the work of incredible entrepreneurs who had fresh, innovative ideas and contagious excitement.
We stole some of them away to learn more about their new ventures and their experience in the entrepreneurial world. Check out our slideshow for an inside look at these hot new start-ups, plus hear straight from them the challenges they face and the advice they have for aspiring entrepreneurs!
1. Sam Hendel of My Stream
My Stream is a mobile-to-mobile music sharing app designed to give users the ability to listen to music together wirelessly.
His Biggest Challenge: “Getting noticed and breaking out in the app market. There are almost half a million apps available in the Apple App market, so being able to break through that clutter is important to success.”
His Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Make sure you are working with good people. Fifty perfect of all startups will fail because of founder problems, so make sure everyone knows his or her role. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that things will take time and money. Don’t expect instant success. And meet lots of people!”
Learn more at mystreamapp.com or download My Stream at the App store.
2. Mike Iskhakov of Appetude
Appetude is a social network for food that combines the social experience of sharing food with the utility of online ordering.
His Biggest Challenge: “Uncertainty. Not knowing how people will respond to the idea or which aspects will take off and which will fall short.”
His Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Just get it done. There are always bumps in the road, but you just have to push through and keep going—think, analyze, execute.”
Check out Appetude in beta and sign up for email updates at appetude.com.
3. Erika Faust of Social Guide
Social Guide is the first real-time social programming guide, or the “smarter, social way to discover what’s buzzing on TV and at the movies.”
Her Biggest Challenge: “The nature of Social Guide and entertainment in general is that it’s an ever-changing landscape. It’s difficult to put that in a logical form. We cover around 4,000 shows and movies a month, including forecasting for new series and specials in the coming season. That can get pretty daunting.”
Her Advice for Entrepreneurs: “Make sure to have a demo to show possible clients or investors. Talking about a product is great, but without something physical to really show them, it will not have as much impact.”
Visit Social Guide at socialguide.com, or download the free app on your iPhone or Android.
4. Allen Burt of Epic Thrills
Epic Thrills is a members-only site offering discounted, out-of-the-ordinary trips and experiences for adventurous Gen X and Gen Y travelers.
His Biggest Challenge: “Sourcing outfitters to organize the trips. These travel guides are working people in remote areas, with far less access to communication than we have. There are many gaps in conversation, some lasting months at a time.”
His Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Tell everyone! Also, start today, not tomorrow. Everything you need will come, you just have to do it.”
For more information and to request a membership, visit epicthrills.com.
5. Dan Tashman & Mark Markarian of Get-A-Game
Get-A-Game is an Apple device app designed to help active people find games of pick-up sports—and not just your usual pick-up basketball and soccer, but nearly any physical activity you can think of (pick-up archery, anyone?).
Their Biggest Challenge: “Getting people involved. Also, making people loyal users of the product is difficult. Turning a one-time user into a returning user is crucial.”
Their Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Have a good idea. Also, cost is a huge factor. So get to know possible investors, and get them excited about your idea and investing in it.”
Get-A-Game lives in beta form at getaga.me and is also available in the iPhone App store.
6. Kyle Gerek & Justin Junda of Service Perks
Service Perks is a daily deal site that gives 15% of all profits to selected military and service charities.
Their Biggest Challenge: “Securing partnerships for the deals. There are a lot of daily deal sites today, so being able to get our mission out to potential partners and show how we stand out from the others has proven to be difficult.”
Their Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Always keep your head up and ignore everyone who tries to bring you negativity. Take the good with the bad and keep going. Work will equal growth, and every little step counts—so just keep working.”
To grab some great deals and good karma, visit serviceperks.com.
7. Tereza Nemessanyi of Honestly Now
Honestly Now is a social game that helps you make better personal decisions by getting the help of your friends and experts.
Her Biggest Challenge: “Sticking to the plan while being flexible to potentially serendipitous events. It's a daily challenge to discern whether each unplanned opportunity enhances or drains from your business, especially as your business is evolving and you haven't quite figured out your product's fit in the market.”
Her Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Put something in the hands of customers as soon as humanly possible to start getting feedback. You'll learn much faster than analyzing it yourself. The tech innovation scene moves very quickly—if you have a meaningful and positive shift in your business, just see it as a chance to make the rounds again. Also, you'll hear a lot of ‘nos.’ Think of them as ‘not yets.’”
Get all your questions answered at honestlynow.com.
8. Jen Consalvo of Tech Cocktail
Tech Cocktail is a literal “cocktail” of emerging technology news, people, start-ups, products, and innovations for the true tech enthusiast. The media company offers daily content, educates people via its Start-up Mixology conference series, connects local tech communities at Startup Mixer events, and more.
Her Biggest Challenge: “Tech Cocktail is a bootstrapped 24/7 operation, which requires constant travel, writing, relationship building, team management, and more. So personally, sleep and life-balance are probably my biggest challenges. And from a business perspective, it's seeing through the noise of opportunities and deciding which things are most strategic to pursue in order to grow and scale the company most efficiently.”
Her Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Just start. So many people wait for the perfect opportunity, but that may never happen. If you have an idea, figure out what you can do to get something out there and test the concept. The barriers to entry are lower than ever before, the support ecosystems are getting strong and stronger, and there's a plethora of resources to help you so you don't have to re-invent the wheel. Find your local startup community and dive in.”
Check out Tech Cocktail online at techcocktail.com.
9. Alex Cavoulacos of The Daily Muse
You know us! The Daily Muse is a content site and community for young professional women that offers smart career (and life) advice and job connections for Gen Y.
Her Biggest Challenge: “Harnessing the phenomenal ideas that come out of our team and brainstorming with partners and readers. There are so many things that we can do—but not pruning enough can seriously slow us down in the end. It can be tough to be an aggressive prioritizer.”
Her Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Be honest about your risk profile. Entrepreneurship is scary and requires leaps of faith, but not everyone has the appetite for the same sort of leap. Know yourself and what you're comfortable with so that you can focus on your start-up day in and day out instead of stressing over the risks you're taking.”
10. 3 Other Amazing Start-Ups
We missed catching up with these new ventures at the event, but can't wait to watch them, too!
Profitably: Web-based software that helps businesses understand customer profitability, manage cash flow, and plan for future growth.
Sqoot: Sqoot connects local deal offerings to sites and apps who want to better serve their audience.
Fitocracy: An online game that uses the addiction of game play to help users reach their fitness goals.
Home page photo courtesy of Tech Cocktail.
About The Author
A freshly graduated alumnus of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Kelsey is now The Daily Muse’s intern for all things eventful. She enjoys anything dealing with theatre and the arts and loves exploring all that New York City life has to offer. Looking toward the future, she hopes to one day organize runway shows for Paris Fashion Week and explore all the other great cities of the world.