Startup Hot Seat: Cupcake Central vs Cashier Live vs Music Dealers : Under30CEO Startup Hot Seat: Cupcake Central vs Cashier Live vs Music Dealers : Under30CEO
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Startup Hot Seat: Cupcake Central vs Cashier Live vs Music Dealers

| August 7, 2010 | 4 Comments

What do you think of this start-ups below? They are all run by young entrepreneurs looking to make their name in this world. Everyone needs advice to mold and shape their idea. Each start-up has some questions that they need answering or just leave your thoughts on the companies in the comments below. Lets see if we can give these young guns some feedback to take these or their next ventures to the next level!

What can we at Under30CEO do to better help these start-ups get feedback here? Different questions, different format, etc…? What are everyone’s ideas on how to highlight these entrepreneurs and get them the feedback they need to get to the next level?

cupcake centralWhat is the story behind your company?

I started Cupcake Central in September 2009, 3 months after I was laid off from my corporate IT Consultant job from a global consultancy firm, BearingPoint Inc. Having been in IT for 5 years, I knew there was something more to life than just working away in front of a computer and daydreaming of what could be.

My passion for baking cupcakes started when I took a trip to New York and ate my first cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. I then started baking and experimenting, researching, lying sleepless at night thinking of what I could possibly do with my passion of cupcakes. Yes cupcakes! I started my blog http://sherylscupcakes.blogspot.com and one small step led to another. I started selling at market stalls, friends started asking me to bake orders for them and my cupcakes started getting popular.

The day I was laid off on May 18th 2009, I was shocked and shattered. But little did I know that it was the day that changed my whole entire life. I had a new lease on life and I started DOING what I had dreamed of doing for years. I started my own business.

I knew I had to start small. My ultimate goal was to create a franchise of cupcake stores. A bit presumptuous, perhaps but it was only for me to know at the time. So I started with my online business, baking at home. Over the past 9 months it has grown dramatically. I have had strangers letting me know that they have tried my cupcakes, I have catered for large corporations, I have single-handedly baked over 1000 cupcakes in one day.

So the next step of my journey is unfolding and I’m opening up my first flagship storefront this September 2010. With my partner, we are planning to create a franchise of Cupcake Central stores over the next few years and also expand into other retail ventures.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

Cupcakes is not a unique product and certainly not in the U.S. However, in Australia, cupcakes is still relatively a niche market. As the trend is evolving here, we are bringing a cupcake product that not only looks appealing but we focus on the quality of the ingredients as well as our service. Several cupcake bakeries in Australia that have jumped on the cupcake bandwagon have not invested the research of what makes a good cupcake. We’ve invested months of research and experimentation until we found the perfect recipe.

With our IT background, we are also integrating technology aspects into the business to further market our product. Such as Twitter, Facebook and Blogger. A large portion of marketing and sales come through these avenues. We are reaching out to the Gen-Y’s and making it easier for them to purchase our products with ease and efficiency.

Future plans for the company?

To franchise out our Cupcake Central stores across Australia and also look to create other retail franchises.

URL:

www.cupcakecentral.com.au

Founders and Ages:

Sheryl Thai Aged 26

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: How can I acquire the finances to grow my business?
Question 2: How can I manage my time more effectively?
Question 3: How can my business create something positive in this world?

cashier liveWhat is the story behind your company?

The idea of Cashier Live sprouted from Tom Greenhaw selling Microsoft RMS point of sale and having experience in the point of sale industry. After a year into it, Tom Greenhaw was not content with what traditional point of sale was offering to retailers. Using his experience and customer feedback, Tom Greenhaw began developing his own web-based point of sale system that can be affordable/accessible to all small retailers.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

Cashier Live offers small retailers and independent pharmacist an affordable point of sale solution. Retail technology such as supply chain management, CRM, transactions, automatic reporting and many more are at the users finger tips using Cashier Live. By harnessing the power of the Internet & cloud computing, Cashier Live is able to provide a web-based point of sale experience like none other in the industry.

Traditional point of sale could cost upwards of eight grand and weeks of training & setup. Cashier Live has made the set up process quick and simple.  Within a day, you could get Cashier Live up and running. Cashier Live provides a free version to users as long as they sign up with a partnered credit card processor. Offering a full service Point of Sale System for free is unheard of in the industry

Based in Chicago’s River North, Cashier Live went live in March. Currently, Cashier Live is the only point of sales developers based in Illinois, a pioneer at an industry standpoint within the state.

Even if people do not go with Cashier Live, Tom hopes that through going through the website, blogs and resources of Cashier Live, small retailers can be educated and empowered in some way.

Future plans for the company?

Continued development of Cashier Live features. A new feature that we hope to push out soon is electronic purchase orders. Whenever a retailers inventory is low, it can send out an automatic purchase order to a wholesaler and have the item restocked and shipped automatically. This solution can be compared to the supply chain management of Wal-Mart or Target. No Point of Sale system have such features currently.

In the distant future: Mobile version of Cashier Live for the iPhone/iPod touch.

URL:

www.cashierlive.com

Founders and Ages:

Tom Greenhaw- 24 years old

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: Convincing non-tech saavy people to adopt new technology (SaaS & Cloud Computing)
Question 2: Finding the right partners willing to work with Cashier Live.
Question 3: Balancing business development priorities as a small start up company.

music dealersWhat is the story behind your company?

The idea for Music Dealers was born in 2007 when Eric Sheinkop and John Williamson, then heads of a brand consulting and artist management company called Bandit Productions, grew frustrated with their inability to pitch for more licensing opportunities via their relationship with Ira Antelis, head of music worldwide at Leo Burnett. The fundamental problem was that Bandit only represented a handful of artists, the majority of whom created similar styles of music, and despite being presented with ample opportunities from Ira, they simply didn’t have the catalog of music to compete.

Bandit’s first solution was to create a list of producers in their network and email them when they had appropriate opportunities. This approach led to a wider variety of submissions but also led to a near fatal blow when Bandit was unable to secure the rights to an existing song they submitted from an artist after Leo Burnett selected it for a television commercial. Ira was understandably angry because he had invested time and political capital in convincing his own client that this was the right song. Bandit, for its part, had been repeatedly assured by the song’s publisher that the rights were available only to have them yanked away when the artist decided he didn’t want his music associated with the client’s name. Clearly, there had to be a better way.

Ira then suggested that Bandit take a look at a company called Pump Audio, who was automating the music licensing business online. Ira was not using Pump Audio because he didn’t like the quality of the offerings in their catalog, but he felt the fundamental approach was a good one if it could be performed correctly. Thus challenged, Eric and John spent the next several months brainstorming how to do just that, and ultimately decided to launch Music Dealers.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

MusicDealers.com has blended a B2B music licensing company with a social network Site. Over the past two years, The Founders have overseen the development of smart technology for managing an unlimited number of artist relationships as well as creating a powerful music search engine to both catalog and locate unique tracks once they’re in the catalog. Music Dealers’ focus is on using the collective intelligence of crowdsourcing and social media applications to allow the team to reach further, faster and work more creatively together.

The development of a non exclusive music licensing company dedicated to serving the best interests of artists as well as Agency and Brand clients simultaneously threatens the previously accepted standards for many of the companies that either make profits from artists desire to find licensing work or companies that once had a choke hold on the music industry. Eric and his team’s determination has helped raise awareness for a number of great artists in every corner of the globe and is attracting a international pool of serious music talent with songs that are being heard in many major Ad campaigns as well as the most popular television programs, such as HBO’s True Blood to FX’s Justified. The company’s song catalog now boasts over 6000 pre-screened artists and caters to a client list that reads like “Who’s Who” of licensees. This in turn has attracted the attention of major brands such as Coke as well as Kraft who work with Music Dealers to develop new ideas uniquely integrating the consumer experience.

Future plans for the company?

Music Dealers is well-positioned to compete to become one of the top one or two companies in the marketplace. If successful, this could result in a much larger piece of the pie as the market
continues to move online and consolidate.

The Music Dealers catalog also has the potential to generate revenues and profits in a number of other ways that are not included in the projections — including those that cater to consumers. For example: Music Dealers could create a “Pandora” style consumer business that is focused on undiscovered music (instead of the established music used by Pandora). The basic idea is that consumers could create streaming play lists using Music Dealers’ catalog and sophisticated filtering system (which could be as broad as “genre” or as narrow as specific terms for each of the fifty or so fields available). Besides competing in an area of relative strength (undiscovered artists), Music Dealers could have another important advantage over Pandora in that users could even choose the exact songs they want to listen to and would not have any of the restrictions on skipping songs, etc. that Pandora was forced to implement in order to be allowed use of the music in their service. Like Pandora, Music Dealers could make money by selling ads (video, audio, or graphical), which it would share with the artists. Other significant potential upside comes from:
• Subscription-based in-store radio service (similar to Muzak)
• Partnerships to sell downloads to consumers
• Turning webisode promo show into an actual television production
• Ebay-style product placement engine using the end-user/music creator relationship
in reverse
• Booking live acts by including venues into artist network (similar to “Sonic Bids”) –
would provide advertising revenues in addition to the booking fees
• Brokering publishing rights for top unsigned artists to publishing companies

URL:

http://www.musicdealers.com/

Founders and Ages:

Eric Sheinkop, CEO 27
John Williamson, Director of Ops. 30
Jonathan Sheinkop, Exec.Chairman 41

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: hiring strong sales people
Question 2: developing strategic alliances that work
Question 3: hiring strong sales people

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  • Andrew L.

    Music Dealers gets my vote!

  • Mziasadik

    For Cupcake Central,

    Q 1: What do you need the finance for? Seed capital? Inventory? The more justification behind the purpose of the finance, the easier it is to generate interest from investors. You have a clear idea of where you want your business to finally end up, a franchise, so perhaps research what other successful franchises have done to get cash. Some did it the hard way – KFC, while others were just stumbled upon.

    Q 2: Time and it's effectiveness is all releative in my opinion. What do you spend your current time on? What would you like to do in the time that you free up? Most people who save time somewhere end up filling it with another time-consuming activity, so have a clear idea of what you need the time for as well as how much time you require for it. A pretty interesting book that I have recently read is the Four Hour Work Week, very eccentric but worth a read.

    Q 3: What sort of a difference do you want to make? Do you want to just contribute funds to something from your business profits or provide a corporate social initiative that has a close relationship to your business? An interesting case in South Africa is Ster-kinekor, a movie-theatre chain that provides eye-tests and free spectacles to the underpriveleged. Since they show movies, their initiative has a direct link to their business and expertise.

    Hope this helps. Although I asked you more questions than you posted lol. But it is aimed at channelling your thinking to the right places.

    Zia
    South Africa

  • Kialimani

    Cupcake central: How did you bake at home? Aren’t you required to use a commercial kitchen? Let me know because I want to start making food from my home but running into some issues with regulations