(EDITOR’S NOTE: Seven teams competed in the finale of this year’s “What’s the Big Idea” competition sponsored by the Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 2020. Sing and Spell won the event, but six other entrepreneurial teams “gave it their all.” This is the fourth in a series profiling the other finalists that competed in the revamped, 48-hour event.)
Michael Goldsborough described RESQUE during the finale of this year’s “What’s the Big Idea” as a start-up focused on helping real estate agents overcome their fear of the “social media monster.”
When did you first come-up with the idea that you submitted for the 2015 “What’s the Big Idea” competition?
About a year ago.
Tell us about the original idea. What is it? What market need or deficiency do you hope to address?
The idea came out of being turned down by real estate agents to advertise in my print magazine. They continued to express the need to “do” social media and online marketing, but none of them knew how or where to start. This led me to develop a social media for real estate curriculum. Unfortunately, they still didn’t have time for this. This is where the original idea was crafted to create a “Buffer App” for real estate. We planned on building a dashboard to where an agent can select their listings which would be automatically imported by us, industry content that would be aggregated and easy to select, and a scheduling system that would push the content out to their social media networks according to the times they selected. Our original slogan was “Social Media done in under an hour per week.” We have pivoted quite a bit from that concept since and because of WTBI (“What’s the Big Idea”).
How did the concept change during the 48-hour weekend of intense mentoring and advice from others?
During the competition, our mentors pushed me to examine the problem further. What that did was lead me to the conclusion that “technology should make agents’ work load less, not greater.” And while reducing the time they needed to spend on social media was a plus, it didn’t solve the problem. Since WTBI, we have developed a product that will reduce the barrier of entry so low (that) any real estate agent will be able to demonstrate social media marketing competency and grow their business with little to no extra effort on their part.
Who were some of your more valuable mentors/advisors and how did they help you get ready for that Sunday night finale?
Lee Martin was amazing. First of all, he pushed me to focus on our story, constantly distilling 100 words to 10, then 10 words to 2. His knowledge of technology and start-ups was vital to our team. Additionally, Will McDermott asked the right questions to help us through our pivot and eventual change in product. He helped us define the underlying issues and if our product was really solving their problem or just putting a Band-Aid on it.
Although you did not win the up to $10,000, you were on stage before an appreciative audience. Do you plan to continue working on the idea?
WTBI has spurred us on and pushed us even more to define our company and offering. We gained some amazing insight from industry experts in the fields of IP law, finance, and accounting. We will have a shippable and patent-pending product within the next six months.
If you could wave the proverbial wand and get one wish for something to help you move forward, what would it be?
$500,000 for software development and executing a national marketing strategy. (EDITOR’S NOTE: You can contact Goldsborough at email@example.com.)