Startup Hot Seat: isWearing, Mapachat, Lexani Limousines : Under30CEO Startup Hot Seat: isWearing, Mapachat, Lexani Limousines : Under30CEO
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Startup Hot Seat: isWearing, Mapachat, Lexani Limousines

| July 30, 2010 | 11 Comments

What do you think of this startups 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 startup 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 startups 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?

iswearingWhat is the story behind your company?

Each founder has startup experience and we met randomly through the ycombinator cofounder wishlist spreadsheet.  Shane founded and he’s working on (recently got press from this week in startups) and Bob founded Smarter and Pennza Detailing in Central New Jersey.

They met one day and talked about ideas.  A few weeks later, they got back in touch and discussed a few ideas.  Within a week, they had the basic outlines for and had the alpha version of the website online in less than three weeks from having the idea.

They thought it would be cool to be able to see how clothes look on real people before buying them and would be awesome to hook up a buying engine so you can quickly find similar clothes online.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

We’re the only real time fashion company that allows you to buy items as they’re seen on people in large numbers.

Future plans for the company?

Growing the Business


Founders and Ages:

Shane Snow – 25
Bob Cavezz – 24

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: Getting more accurate search terms
Question 2: Keeping visitors engaged
Question 3: Having users come back and post frequently

map a chat

What is the story behind your company?

I was a senior in high school when I thought of the idea. I was getting ready to go off to college and when I got there, I realized how big of a place college actually was. I wanted to find out what was being said on and off campus to help get a grasp on the college experience. So that’s when I took the idea and actually created Mapachat. Mapachat allows students to interact with each other and figure out what is being said in certain buildings on campus or spots off campus, where the student body has a presence.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

With the power house social networks like Facbeook, Twitter, and Foursquare, it is hard to start any social networking idea. Although there are some obsticles to get around when starting any new business, Mapachat is very unique. Mapachat only allows users with .edu email addresses to sign up. Once users log in, students are assigned to their college/university’s network, where then, they can interact with each other. The cool thing about Mapachat is, is that you can only post within your network. You can go and view what is being said at other colleges/universities, but if you don’t belong to that school, then you cant post there. In each network, Mapachat tracks the most popular people, places, and topics within each network, so users have a better grasp on what is going on around their campus.

Future plans for the company?

Right now, we have 9 colleges fully geo-located. We plan on expanding to 25 colleges by the end of the year. The main concern right now is to develop the concept to the point where it is flawless. We are in the process of raising capital for Mapachat and getting users on the site to test out the concept.


Founders and Ages:

Greg Snow – 19

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: What is the best way to approach angel investors?
Question 2: How do I make a site go viral?
Question 3: At what point to do I know my site is big enough to approach advertisers?

Billy JinksWhat is the story behind your company?

Billy Jinks, 21, founded his Arizona-based company, Lexani Limousines LLC, at age 15. With a fascination of limousines starting at age 5, Billy spent is childhood years refining his knowledge of the industry, learning more about limousines than most adults in the business. He decided to jumpstart his future with the help of his parents by establishing Lexani Limousines, a $3 million business, which has doubled its revenue each year since opening in 2004.

What makes your company unique in its industry?

One of the profitable aspects was Lexani Limousine’s corporate accounts, which proved to be a stable part of his business year after year. Jinks ensured a strong relationship with those accounts to not only make sure they continued to do business with him, but also so they could provide referrals.

Each Lexani vehicle is equipped with the latest technology including flat screen TVs, I-pod adapters and more.

Future plans for the company?

Expansion throughout Arizona and possibly nationwide.


Founders and Ages:

Billy Jinks, age 21

Help answer their questions!

Question 1: How are other businesses succeeding in this economy?
Question 2: Is it easier to be a entrepreneur at an earlier age rather than waiting?
Question 3: What are some ways other entrpreneurs network?

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Category: Entrepreneur Interviews

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  • MattWilsontv

    For isWearing–they should check out this article we did How to Quit Your 9-5, Risk It All and Start a Business With Nothing with… I can certainly connect them with each other. I think the business idea is interesting and there would be lots of ways to monetize–events, sponsored outfits etc. I'm not sure how you keep people interested in engaged in the site though or get them to submit their stuff.

    For MapAChat–I couldn't watch the video on their homepage, so I'm not exactly sure I understand how it works, but it is crazy difficult to try to compete with Facebook. I like the location based stuff which makes me wonder when FB is going to join that craze. I think it'd be a cool tool to gather information, but maybe as a Facebook app? Not sure.

    Any site is big enough to approach advertisers, just go in, tell them it's going to be the next big thing, tell them how targeted your demographic is and go for it! Sell the idea and the dream to your advertisers. To approach angel investors, start with friends, family and fools…make sure you have a solid business plan that a mentor looked over even at this stage–then you can start approaching angel networks in your area. Tell everyone you know that you are looking to raise capital and see who's rich uncle they can introduce you to.. keep hustling until you find the money you need. Or, my best advice–bootstrap!

    So the 3rd businesses is obviously well ahead of the rest… it must be tough during this economy selling limousine service, but the key would be getting in with the right corporate clients and signing those long term contracts instead of waiting for the phone to ring. Package the service so they get things with it and are locked in for a while–then you understand what kind of cashflow is coming in as you grow.

    It's definitely the best time to be an entrepreneur when you are young–what do we have to lose, and if we do lose it all, we have plenty of time to make it all back!!

    Networking for this business is obviously all about high net worth clients, so go and hang out where they hang out. Your local chamber of commerce meeting probably isn't cutting it…. network with people who know people with high net worth or whos businesses also cater to these clients and get on a referral basis. Give them a cut of the action!

    Whew, okay, so I enjoyed giving all this feedback, it was pretty intense. Not sure what you guys think about answering their questions, or maybe want the feedback to be a bit more open ended. Some sort of competition worked into this would be great. Maybe we could do a giveaway–the person who leaves the most insightful feedback when's X?

    Please contact me if you have anything you'd like to giveaway or if you'd like to sponsor the next startup hotseat–it'd be a great way to generate buzz online AND engage a really smart userbase–the people commenting on these posts!

  • Greg Rollett

    I love the concept of isWearing. As for search terms – not sure if this is going to be a search heavy site, as far as traffic. I think branding is more important and making some moves with bigger designers, celebrities, athletes, etc will be more key to their development. Like think of the X Games this week. Get all the skateboard companies to submit what their riders are wearing. Think people want the shirt Ryan Sheckler or Travis Pastrana is wearing? I bet they do.

    As for visitor engagement, what about rewarding the people who get their stuff clicked on/bought the most. They can win gift cards or grab bags from designers. Obviously this means their style is trendy, so the companies would def give away some free gear to people who are trend setters in their niche/tribe.

    For Map-A-Chat – you need to do something to get the students using the platform and going crazy. Create a FB community. I would look to get mobile and FB apps, as many college kids are attached to these things and your userbase could grow rather quickly.

    Lexani Limo's is a really cool concept. Check out Turtle in this season of Entourage – high level service is not going anywhere. Big spenders will continue spending big money. For question #2 I think it's really smart to start early, as you are really educating yourself during the entire process. Is anyone ever really ready? Are you ever really ready to have a baby? Just go out and make it happen. Mistakes are bound to come, but your confidence and belief in your concept will go really far.

    As far as networking, I think you need to start building relationships with venues, clubs, hotels, etc. Places where people need rides and where referrals are the ultimate form of business. I would also start creating some social exposure – maybe a Facebook group where you have pics of the cars, some of your guests, testimonials, etc.

    Good luck to all of you guys!

  • MattWilsontv

    Greg, thanks for you insights, you really took a lot of time to help these startups out. We want this community to come together to be able to start smarter, faster, stronger businesses and hopefully Under30CEO will be it's start.

    Anyone who has any ideas on how we can make the Startup Hot Seat better, please let us know!

  • MattWilsontv

    Okay quick idea for IsBuying–

    Say you throw on a shirt, snap a picture and attach an affiliate link to it that IsBuying provides from their database and throw it out on social media…so you have mini sales people everyday. Make a little money if you are obsessed with what you are wearing.

    Even better get a huge group of celebs to do this everyday. If they are paying Kim Kardashian $20k a tweet, imagine if she said I'm wearing these sunglasses, snaps a twitpic and it's a link to buy…

  • Michael Terry

    “isWearing” is a great concept. I'm going to focus on this startup in my comments. Although they may not answer the questions above to a 'T,' they will help in overall efforts.

    Branding: My first impression is branding. It appears you have something to start with but it also looks like it might be in the development stages. Fine tune the overall appearance of your brand and visitors might look at the web site as a little more finished and reliable as a tool.

    User Experience: You might be able to reduce the spaced used for the header/navigation/form which will increase the realty for popular outfits, new outfits, ect. I think it's important to give the visitor a sample of everything “above the fold” and I'm concerned for those with low resolution monitors – they might have to go hunting. Utilize the right column to display more outfits.

    What's important: Looking at the pictures in comparison to the type size of the list – they are the same in terms of hierarchy. It's difficult to concentrate on one or the other. Why not put more emphasis on the pictures by reducing the type size of the list of items.

    People: Your people page has blank spaces and it may until the idea really catches on but it gives the site an incomplete feel which can cause visitors to step back and leave. Throw outfits of yourself in the mix to fill the space. Also, if you can have a counter of some sort displaying the number of outfits currently available to view, visitors might see your web site as a reliable resource – “There are 10,000 outfits to go through so it must be a cool site.”

    Blog: Your web site states your blog is to launch June 7-12. It's August. It's a great opportunity to get others to follow if you can get it going.

    Keywords: I think you will have to run more of a social marketing campaign the rely on keywords. StumbleUpon is a great way to promote your web site on a small budget and can lead to generating organic traffic. Email marketing is also a low-cost, effective marketing strategy to generate brand recognition and visitor loyalty.

    Great idea. I think it can really catch on.

  • MakingMoves

    IsWearing: Really agree with Greg on this one. I love the concept and think that more recognizable names would really help with your brand and development. People want to know what the trend setters are wearing.
    Question: Do people care what average joe's and jills are wearing? Do certain people make the clothes look bad?
    What If: you incorporate semi famous people. Like youtube sensations. They are not really really famous but still have a lot of people viewing their clothes. It may be an easier first target which could lead to that Brad Pitt down the line.

  • JulianJung

    Lexani Limos: @greg I was gonna make the same reference about entourage haha. It's one of those businesses where if you put it in the right place with the right demand you will for sure be successful. It looks like you are doing a great job so far. Keep it up. There will always be big spenders out there or those who want to have that experience once in a while.

  • Making Moves

    First off, excellent article. I love the Hot Seat idea and I love being able to help out/provide advice to young entrepreneurs like ourselves.

    isWearing – Fantastic idea! Photos in magazines and on company websites are Photoshopped and the clothes are custom fit. Being able to see how the clothes look on unaltered photos on REAL people is great! To keep visitors engaged, we have had a lot of success using Facebook and twitter. Updating your fans and followers often about relevant material will keep them engaged. Also, coming up with a creative contest or somehow rewarding users that frequently post good material are excellent ways to keep people engaged and coming back for more.

    MapAChat – In order to help your site to go viral you should utilize the powerhouse social networking sites. As Greg Rollett said creating a Facebook community can be huge for you. Facebook is extremely powerful. You will know your site is big enough to approach advertisers when advertisers start approaching you. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't get out there and try to get people to advertise. Set up Google Analytics if you haven't already so you have all of the stats you need to present to potential advertisers. As your site grows in traffic and users the more you can charge for advertising spots. Also I would put together a advertising packet that explains terms, pricing, and banner AD sizes if you haven't already.

    Lexani Limo – We have found that being a young entrepreneur has its advantages and disadvantages. Having youth comes with lots of energy! 18 hour days hardly phase us. In addition, your responsibilities are limited. You go to school and have a social life on top of building a business. Its still a lot to juggle but throw in a wife and kids, a mortgage, etc. and things become more more difficult. On the disadvantages side, depending on your industry, being young may make it difficult for people to take you seriously or trust your knowledge on the subject matter. If you have this problem and have the money you may want to consider hiring an older person to your sales team. Adding some age could work wonders!

    Congratulations, great job, good luck to you all, now get out there and Make some more Moves!!

    - Making Moves

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