The third installment of TZ Startup Hot Seat features Michael Schneider of Mobile Roadie . Michael is a man of few words however his platform speaks volumes to businesses and consumers that want to make inexpensive apps. Let’s take a look at Michael’s answers:
Give Us the Fast Pitch
Mobile Roadie is a quick and inexpensive way for anyone to build a mobile app for iPhone, Android, or Blackberry.
What made you decide to begin working on Mobile Roadie?
I ran an interactive agency before Mobile Roadie and we were getting constant requests from people that wanted iPhone apps but couldn’t afford them. The only way we could think of to bring the cost way down is to make it self service.
What is the market opportunity?
Any business/brand that has a website could potentially use a mobile app to engage more with fans/customers, sell more, and be able to reach their supporters.
How big is your team?
Are you Funded? How did your company get its initial funding? How much funding do you currently have?
We are not disclosing amount raised. We are angel backed; prominent investors include Mike Jones (CEO, MySpace), Ashton Kutcher, and Guy Oseary.
Have you ever needed to change direction/focus? If so, what was that like?
No, we have been laser focused on apps and exploiting the mobile opportunity for our customers.
How do you deal with competitors? Do you keep up with other companies doing similar things?
We were the first ones to launch a self service mobile app builder (originally with iPhone) and have been furiously innovating to stay ahead of competitors. Today, we’re the only ones on the three major smartphone platforms – iPhone, Android, and Blackberry – and the only ones landing major brands. In short, we deal with competitors by out innovating and running faster.
What is the most difficult and best things about being an entrepreneur?
The emotion that comes with it – the highs are AWESOME and the lows SUCK and you learn to roll with the punches. Regulating your mood and being able to sleep at night are key to long term success.
Mobile computing is blowing up right now, where do you see Mobile (Phones, Tablets, etc.) going
More people will use the internet from a mobile phone than from a desktop/laptop by the end of next year. This includes apps and mobile websites. I see mobile being the computer over time… we’ll laugh at these big beige boxes we have now. You’ll use your mobile phone as your primary computer, payment mechanism, GPS, key, etc etc.
What’s one of your most successful decisions?
We had an opportunity early on to sell and make a good chunk of change. While it was very difficult at the time, not selling just a few months after founding the company was the right thing to do (pending a successful outcome – but it’s going well so far!)
Where have you struggled? What mistakes have you made that you believe other entrepreneurs could learn from?
I founded a startup before this, raised eight figures in 2.5 weeks (more than we needed), spent too much money building too little, and launched way too late, past the market opportunity. The key to success in a startup is being hungry (not starving, but hungry), getting out there quickly, and running as fast as possible. Don’t wait till it’s perfect – launch and iterate.
Who are your three most influential entrepreneurs?
What does “failure” mean to you?
An opportunity to learn.
What does “success” mean to you?
Doing what I set out to do.
What is coming up next? Your goals, new products, new direction? (Either for you as an entrepreneur or for the company as a whole)
We are going to dominate all aspects of mobile, beyond apps. We are also looking closely at ways to move the needle on physical commerce.
We were proud to have you at Spotlight LA Tech and wish you the best.
So how did Michael do? Did he survive? Want to know more, ask a question in the comments.