Before Co-Founding PlaceIQ, Duncan McCall, led the operations of a growing retail organization and before that he built and led IS Solutions INC, a Silicon Valley based System Integrator. Usually entrepreneurs found companies in the same industry of their professional experience. How did Duncan come up with the idea for PlaceIQ, a “location-intelligence” company that provides digital consumer insights?
It took a trip to the Sahara desert and a desire to make his own path for the idea of PlaceIQ to be born. Typically visitors hire a guide to take them through the 12 mile gateway to the Sahara desert. Duncan wanted to do it his own way. He found a set of waypoints on the internet from a recent traveler and downloaded those to his GPS device and made it through successfully.
Duncan’s trip to the Sahara sprouted his passion for local: “…it isn’t local itself but the power of location… the ability for location to create a connective backbone to bring together, connect and make sense of a huge amount of digital data about the world, and consumers within that world,” Duncan said. “That ultimately builds a new model for consumer behavior. Not one built on panels, survey and modeling – but one built upon actual observed behavior in the real world.”
Founded in 2010, PlaceIQ is a VC backed local technology company based in New York.
What inspires you to come up with business ideas?
As technology evolves burgeoning trends emerge. Right now we are seeing the wearables trend: Ringly, for example, connects an 18K gold ring with a semi precious stone to your mobile phone. It vibrates when you have calls/texts/etc from specific people. It is a challenge to project which trends will turn mainstream and which will drop off. (Remember Betamax?) A lot of assumptions need to be made.
We recently caught up with David Shim, Founder & CEO of Placed, to hear about his experience founding a company in the emerging space of local and mobile analytics in 2011. David remembers “The opportunity in local and mobile reminded me of the early days of digital, where web analytics meant log files, and third party ad serving was optional.” With his experience in digital media, David was able to draw parallels between the two and he saw significant potential.
“This comparison highlighted the opportunity in local to bring analytics and accountability into a space that represents over 90% of retail transactions in the US. The future of local, looks a lot like the current state of digital, where everything is measurable. “ David said.
Founded in 2011, Placed measures consumer locations, providing a view digital behavior, physical location, and the impact of media.
Which trends do you see becoming mainstream?
Coming up with business ideas can be challenging. James Altucher, an entrepreneur and best selling author, suggests practicing coming up with ideas (10 per day) in order to exercise the idea muscle. The more used to coming up with ideas, the more likely you are to come up with a good one.
But what about after you come up with a “good” idea? How do you know if it will work? We recently caught up with Mike Cooch, Founder of StartupProfs, a team of entrepreneurs who’s mission is to improve the lives of people around the world by helping them build their own lifestyle business.
Mike, who has had years of trial and error with business, has learned to evaluate new ideas carefully. He says: “The most important thing I’ve learned is that not all business models are created equal. Some are inherently better than others when it comes to enabling you to reach your personal and financial goals.”
Mike takes business idea evaluation a step further: not only should you see if your idea is viable, but you should also evaluate your idea based on the what it is that you would like to achieve in your life. A simple example: a person who would like the flexibility of working remotely should not start a business that requires them to be physically present.
Mike Cooch is a serial entrepreneur. Prior to StartupProfs, Mike was the Founder and CEO of Everon Technology Services, which he successfully sold in 2010. His businesses have been named to the INC Magazine List of Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row, and were also nominated as a Best Place to Work in their respective cities.
How do you evaluate your business ideas?