What’s the inspiration behind Nickelytics?
During my time in the corporate sector and previous startups, I was tasked with promoting and marketing our brand through out-of-home advertising. I found the experience to be unnecessarily complex and realized that I was likely not alone in this thinking. Through several iterations, we’ve focused on building a platform that allows brands large and small to deploy, manage, and measure their out-of-home advertising with the simplicity and analytics power of a Facebook campaign.
This is not your first time founding a company – what do you think is the most important skill founders need to succeed?
Grit. Beyond the challenge of building something from scratch, there are so many challenges that founders face when growing an early-stage startup. I have found that perseverance is the only way one can navigate the victories and defeats of daily startup life. That, and the support of a stellar team.
What is the most important lesson you learned from your first startup?
It is very easy to get distracted as the CEO of a growing startup. The shifting priorities and constant need to stay ahead of the curve can distract you from the single most important goal for any company – an exceptional customer experience. From marketing, to product, to operations and accounting, the customer must be at the center of everything we do, or we’re not doing our jobs.
With The Nickel Ride, you were focused on an eco-friendly on-demand rideshare service. How did you pivot into the advertising sphere?
Nickelytics was actually an internal tool we were developing to support The Nickel Ride operations. When we began showing our platform to our customers, we quickly realized this was where we could provide real value. This also revealed how we might help others in both the mobility and out-of-home industry leverage their underutilized assets with our technology. We pivoted from The Nickel Ride to Nickelytics and have continued building from there.
How did you meet your co-founder? How do you work together?
We met at a co-working location where he led some tech meet-up groups in Southwest Florida.
You never know who you’re going to meet in these co-working communities. In my case, I met a partner that was first hired as a consultant, CTO, and then co-founder once we pivoted. Sven has been a great collaborator and contemporary for me, and has had a positive impact on the journey of Nickelytics.
How do you handle risk and competition?
In terms of risk, that is akin to breathing for an entrepreneur. You have to be comfortable with navigating risk without much thought most days. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to breathe on those crucial days.
I honestly don’t spend a lot of time focused on competition. If you’re focused on what’s around you, you are going to have a hard time staying focused on what’s ahead. The out-of-home industry is such a massive one, and one that is crying for innovation.
If we find a competitor that is building something similar and having success, we see this as validation for where we’re headed and not a deterrent to do something different.
Have you learned anything new or surprising about yourself through this process?
Resilience! You get knocked around and told no a lot in this environment, and you quickly find out that no one is going to come to save you. It’s encouraging to see how resilient one is when you are facing an uphill battle against all odds.
You participated in Techstars in Turin, Italy. What was that experience like? What did you gain or learn?
The Turin experience was remarkable. It was great to get to understand the European market and I have benefited greatly from some valuable connections that will have lasting value for the business. It was also a bit disappointing too. Our program was cut short by the pandemic and we may have been some of the last Americans to leave Italy. We were able to complete the program remotely, but it’s just not the same as being there.
What’s your team culture like?
We have found ourselves living in some pretty complicated times. This called for us to be deliberate about making our culture human-driven in addition to data-driven.
We have a clear vision and some pretty ambitious goals, but we work to create the right balance of talent, time, and thoughtfulness.
What is your favorite part about building your own company?
My favorite part of building a company is the team that grows with us. It is such a rewarding feeling to see others pick up our mission and become so passionate about what we are building. Their commitment is humbling and their successes empower and inspire me.
What is your superpower?
Clarity. I’ve found value in my ability to have clarity of purpose that sustains vision, focus, and leadership. I can get super focused at times, but always seeking that clear picture keeps me grounded and moving forward.
What’s your kryptonite?
Vegan junk food.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
I wake up every day at the same time (7am) and have a pretty regimented morning routine. I’ve borrowed routines from some industry experts such as Tony Robbins. The concept is to help prime the day for a productive and powerful tone. This includes meditation, breath work, early exercise. At first it was difficult. But now that I have been doing it for a while, it's something that I truly look forward to when going to bed. It helps balance the day.
Do you have any other hobbies/things you like to do in your spare time?
Surprisingly, I have really gotten into running. I also enjoy my meditation practice and traveling.
Are there any apps or gadgets that you can’t live without?
Recently, I have been really enjoying all the fitness apps on the Apple Watch. I can get a little geeky with all the data tracking capabilities on there. It’s fun to review how you’re improving week over week in terms of hitting your goals.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
I would say it’s to get comfortable with the unknown.