This week we are heading out to the Midwest to Cleveland. Mark Lorkowski is CEO of ePaper display startup, Bluboard. I spoke with Mark about his experience as a founder and how Foundersuite has helped him stay focused.
In Just one sentence, what is your compamny? What do you do?
My team are experts in low-power ePaper displays. These are wirelessly connected to the Internet to replace paper posters, signage, and directionals.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup? What is the founding story or inspiration?
Before BluBoard, we were working on a major technology called Electronic Shelf Labeling. An idea that started from seeing a mislabeled price label on a shelf, and asking why this should ever occur in an industry that prides itself on operational advances. It turns out that building hardware, networks, etc, and tying it all into POS and ERP systems for large corporations is really, really, really, difficult. We came close, but in late 2015 the technology and stakeholders in our small venture had to make a decision.
Seeing that the Republican National Convention was a year out, we decided to take all our knowledge, technology, and support, and take aim at a larger format screen. We decided to change the team up, find new investors, and plant our feet on a “Hot Air Balloon”-sized project before building the "Rocket Ship." Since many contacts, clients, strategic partners in the industry had been asking for a larger screen format, the transition was much smoother and easier to comprehend than we had prepared for. Execution is a lot easier when you’re being pulled toward something, and you already have tens-of-thousands of hours under your belt around the tech and startup life.
What do you love the most about running a startup?
The challenge, and working with a team that truly wants to accomplish major goals. There is no other experience like it.
What is the hardest or most surprising part about running a startup?
The hard part for me is the challenge of inspiring people (customers, team, advisors, investors, clients) within the restraints of reality. This sometimes requires popping inspired bubbles. You want awesome and interesting things to happen, but in a startup you must also keep very much in mind what can be accomplished with the cards drawn.
Do you have any success stories, (big or small) you would like to share?
During the RNC we were able to successfully manage multiple deploys at paying-customer locations with our BluBoard product (hitting our year goal) despite a myriad of security, and logistics considerations during the event. We were also able to get a new technology working with our system in a matter of days, an integration we estimated would take weeks. You can find more about this technology on MultiTech’s Website.
How, if in any way, has Foundersuite helped your company?
Foundersuite has been instrumental in organizing my thoughts, and building an execution plan for accessing and engaging prospective investors, and current investors alike. I was happy with the tools and services before, but now with investor updates added to the Foundersuite platform, I look forward to being even more efficient in how I update my investors.
Finally, what is your best tip, hack, or piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
Quit. Seriously, not many are cut out for it. It’s hard, the hours are long, and you have to be so intrigued, passionate, or motivated you’re able to get through a lot of difficult experiences to succeed. However, if you decide to not take that advice, then remember persistence is the only thing that is uniformly elemental to success in any venture.