By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Their business is focused on helping developers and realtors use virtual reality to enhance their sales, so the two Founders of local start-up Evolvr decided to join two entrepreneurial accelerators at the same time with their eyes wide open.
“We knew going into it that it would be a battle of time and objectives,” Patrick Teasdale told us recently.
There was a good deal of travel, but he said Chattanooga’s “GIGTANK” and Knoxville’s “MediaWorks” were so different that it worked well.
“We did ‘MediaWorks’ on Monday and Thursday nights at the KEC (Knoxville Entrepreneur Center), then went down to Chattanooga on Friday,” Teasdale explained. “We would check in with Alex (Lavidge) and Mike (Bradshaw) and spend the weekend on min-hackathons.”
It helped that the “GIGTANK” provided participants lodging, thanks to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The weekends away also helped them manage their time. Tyler Hays, the other Co-Founder, works full-time, while Teasdale works part-time.
There were also three weekend sprints that KEC added to the “MediaWorks” program this year. Those were designed to be intensive, almost 48-hour launch events.
“Both programs helped us map our business plan,” Teasdale said, adding that the focus at one complemented the work of the other.
“We focused on the nitty gritty at ‘MediaWorks,’ while ‘GIGTANK’ was more at a 30,000-foot level,” he explained. “They were challenging us to think about what we needed to do now to be the next Uber or Google.”
Was the effort to participate in two at the same time worth it? Teasdale’s response was absolutely.
“We have a solid business plan and virtual reality content to show to clients,” he said, adding that it also feels like they are back to square one in a sense.
“We are going back out to the realtors and developers, asking if this solves your pain point,” Teasdale says. Those efforts are more focused today and not just hypothetical as to what Evolvr could do.
“It’s better to show people than to tell people,” he explains.