Ideawake has had a long and arduous path to success, and I can’t thank my team enough for having the wherewithal to make it to where we are today. Ideawake accelerates innovation with idea management software that empowers enterprises to automatically identify the top 5% of ideas that drive 95% of bottom line results. Our main goal for 2016 is laying the groundwork to take Ideawake profitable by mid-2017. Can’t say enough great things about how [BizStarts] has helped me personally in my development as an entrepreneur and the impact they’ve had fostering entrepreneurship in the Greater Milwaukee community.
Read Full Story of Featured Entrepreneur – Coby Skonord, Ideawake
BizStarts of Milwaukee is excited to present the August 2016 Featured Entrepreneur, Coby Skonord. Each month, BizStarts highlights an entrepreneur and their company to provide inspiration to other Milwaukee entrepreneurs.
Interview with Entrepreneur, Coby Skonord
Question 1.) What is your professional background?
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with degrees in Accounting and Finance. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to be hired full-time by EY Milwaukee as an auditor. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about my passion of starting a community or company that empowered entrepreneurs to transform ideas from concepts into commercialized products. Shortly after starting, I left the firm to start Inventalator which, after two pivots, ended up becoming Ideawake.
Question 2.) What is Ideawake’s background?
Ideawake has had a long and arduous path to success, and I can’t thank my team enough for having the wherewithal to make it to where we are today. We started out as Inventalator, an online startup accelerator that empowered inventors with tools to validate, develop and launch new technology products. After figuring out that inventors were too sensitive about their intellectual property to publicly disclose and crowdsource the development of their ideas, we pivoted to focus on entrepreneurs and rebranded our platform to Crowds.io. Unfortunately, we couldn’t scale the business model and were having trouble raising additional capital, which led us to make our final pivot and achieve product/market fit with Ideawake.
Question 3.) What product/service does Ideawake sell?
Ideawake accelerates innovation with idea management software that empowers enterprises to automatically identify the top 5% of ideas that drive 95% of bottom line results. Our technology efficiently captures the ideas of employees, customers and suppliers while leveraging their collective intelligence to forecast the ideas that will produce the highest return on investment.
Question 4.) What has been the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Hands down, the process of seeing your vision come to life in front of your eyes and having a team behind you that is just as crazy and passionate as you are to make that vision a reality.
Question 5.) What are your goals for Ideawake in 2016? How do you plan on achieving your goals?
Our main goal for 2016 is laying the groundwork to take Ideawake profitable by mid-2017. We will accomplish this by providing our idea management software combined with value added offline services such as innovation workshops and internal company hackathons to enterprise companies combined with mid-sized companies.
Question 6.) Where do you see Ideawake in 5 years?
Successfully transform the enterprise software innovation space by bringing the technology to mid-market companies and be able to focus on having a larger impact on the promotion and attraction of startups to the Greater Milwaukee Area. Begin the relaunch of our original platform and ultimate vision, Inventalator. Finally, begin the process of searching for an acquirer who will most likely be a larger organization in the enterprise innovation space.
Question 7.) How has BizStarts helped you and Ideawake grow?
Bizstarts has provided Ideawake with incredible guidance over the last two and a half years and is now helping us raise funding via the Investor Forum in mid-September. Can’t say enough great things about how they have helped me personally in my development as an entrepreneur and the impact they’ve had fostering entrepreneurship in the Greater Milwaukee community.
Question 8.) What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Lesson One: Dream in years, plan in months, ship in days (Shameless Startup Vitamins Plug)
Make sure that you’re realistic with yourself and build your product in iterations, as many people know it the proverbial “Minimum Viable Product.” Because we’re so passionate as entrepreneurs it’s one of the hardest things to do but the most important.
Lesson Two: Build a Sustainable Business Model, then worry about scaling it not the other way around
The hot topic nowadays is to create a really cool website, get a ton of users on it and then monetize them after they’ve all come to the party. Sometimes you have to follow this business model but make sure that if you do you at least have a contingency plan in place. There’s nothing worse than almost being out of money and having to give investors too much bargaining power, leaving you with less equity in the company that you’re working tirelessly day and night to build.
Lesson Three: Stop Thinking, Start Doing
It’s never going to be the right time to start your company. My advice is to take the leap because if you don’t you will always wonder “what if or what could have been.” It’s not going to be easy but if it was then everyone would do it.
Question 9.) Are there any BizStarts mentors you would like to thank?
Dan Steininger, Jaquin Davidson, and John Limbach.
Congratulations, Coby Skonord, for being the BizStarts August 2016 Featured Entrepreneur! Read more Milwaukee entrepreneur success stories >>