If you ever have the opportunity in life to check out the Mall of America, a United States icon, I highly recommend it. Heir to the largest mall in America, and an empire started by his grandfather that now includes banks and manufacturing companies, Mark Ghermezian joined the family business but left the family empire last year to jump on the tech startup bandwagon. Using his connections, he was able to raise funding from his family and other investors to co-found Appboy, a customer relationship management platform for mobile app developers and marketers.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, Mark in addition to co-founding Appboy, has also founded and was the CEO of XE Mobile, which grew to over 3,500 points of sale across the United States under his direction, and Founder and CEO of Flush Media Inc., a restroom advertising company which he successfully sold after four years of growth to over 2,500 locations across North America. Mark is also currently a Partner at T5 Capital, a venture capital firm focused on investing in early stage innovative and disruptive technology companies.
We got the opportunity to have a quick chat with Mark about entrepreneurship, Appboy, and the NYC tech scene.
What inspires you about entrepreneurship and innovation?
The ability to build off of an idea and creating a product, service or brand is an awesome feeling. Seeing people use and interact with them is what I love to see. I’m a creative thinker, and tech has allowed me to do this. Today we all have an opportunity to take any idea we think of and build it.
What got you started? In other words, when did you get “bitten” by the entrepreneur bug?
At a young age I always watched my father and how he built his business from the ground up. He always encouraged me to think out of the box, and supported me with any idea I had. I always had the “bug” inside of me from my father.
How is Appboy setting the stage to disrupt your industry?
Appboy is creating a new category within Mobile Apps, an industry which is growing by 50% each year.
In your opinion, where (what industry segments) are the most opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I see the automobile industry, specifically the dashboard of cars being the next big rush as cars start to have tablets built in.
Three things you love about being in the NYC tech scene?
Energy, Energy, Energy.
When things get tough, what keeps you going? What are some of your tricks? In other words, how do you stay SANE?
Spend time with family, get out, music, play hockey.
Who inspires you? Do you have any mentors that have been an integral part of your success?
My father has been a huge part of everything I do and will continue to be.
Appboy is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that enables you to understand your mobile users better than you ever have before. Through data, insights, and diagnostic information powered by Appboy’s SDK and served through a web dashboard, the company provides platform users with enhanced channels to interact with and manage relationships with customers.