“MEDIAWORKS” #4: Topics

MediaWorks(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is hosting its second annual “MediaWorks Demo Day” on August 11 at the Square Room on Market Square. To register, click here. Ahead of that event, we are profiling the nine companies in the start-up accelerator. This is one of those profiles.)

Topics, formerly named Picktographs, is one of nine companies participating in this year’s “MediaWorks” start-up accelerator program. We posed a set of questions to each of the entrepreneurs. Here are Shanna Ricker’s responses.

  • When did you first conceive the idea for your new start-up? November 1st, 2014.
  • Describe the product or service you are offering? Topics is a visual project management tool for creatives in design industries. Meeting the designer’s needs to visually communicate more efficiently, we have combined the visual excitement of Pinterest with the robust project management of Basecamp. By doing this, Topics has simplified and clarified the design process for all involved and has become the view-and-do way to move projects forward.
  • Why do you think the market is ready for this opportunity you are offering? People are interested in finding faster ways to do everything in their lives in order to save time and money. We think that Topics will help them do this by referencing and sharing their research more quickly in a visually-based way.
  • What do you think are the two or three biggest challenges you face that “MediaWorks” will be able to help you overcome? Pinpoint a viable customer segment, understand our customers’ pains, and help us to develop a clear plan of action on how to make our business a reality.
  • Finally, tell us a little about yourself such as hometown and education. Friends since 2004, Lindsay Gardner and I are designers from East Tennessee who both have our Bachelor’s Degrees from ETSU. We are very visual people and when Shanna noticed that there wasn’t a product that catered to both their visual preference and their need for organized information, they decided to embark on a mission to bring that product to the market.

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