27 Tech Entrepreneurs and How They Grow Their Companies

At IdeaMensch, we hear from entrepreneurs from all walks of life – and we love it. Over the last several months, we received tons of groundbreaking interviews from tech entrepreneurs. Here are 27 of those tech entrepreneurs who are featured on IdeaMensch, along with a bit about their technology and how they grow their companies. Check out their companies and learn from them how to grow yours.

Meet our Tech Entrepreneurs.

Alex Karasulu, Founder and CTO of OptDyn

What is OptDyn?

OptDyn makes Subutai, the world’s first intelligent Peer-to-Peer Cloud Computing platform. The idea first occurred to me when I realized just how much computer resources are wasted on the edge and even in the cloud itself but the real push started once we realized the impact of running applications close to where all the devices reside to make industrial mission critical Internet of things possible. Subutai ties all our machines together and makes it look like a single data close where we can just drag and drop apps into it.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

I’ve always tried to stay on the bleeding edge to differentiate our business. Everyone can use the existing tools do something that looks great. The tooling has made just anyone capable in technology and that’s great but its the edge where some serious math and physics is required to do the black magic where we feel most comfortable to compete.

Ty Smith, Co-Founder of Crypico

What is Crypico?

Crypico is the cryptocurrency industry’s top freelance platform. The current number of ways to earn cryptocurrency is really lacking. Unless viable earning options exist, the growth of cryptocurrency will be incredibly stunted. In the past, people without a certain level of disposable income were barred from entering the community in a substantial way. They simply didn’t have the money to risk. By enabling anyone to earn cryptocurrency we can vastly grow the number of market participants and further the reach of this groundbreaking technology.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Be honest in business (and life for that matter). There’s a lot of deception and manipulation out there, especially, in the cryptocurrency industry…We haven’t had an ICO (initial coin offering) because we don’t think it’s necessary to the project being successful at this point. I want to give my customers value and not rip any one off. I think it’s the correct way to conduct business and our users seem to agree.

Issac Kassin, Co-Founder of Exeq

What is Exeq?

As young people aspiring both for general financial health and financial freedom, my partners and I realized that most of us are neglected when it comes to our money. On the one hand, banking apps are clunky and boring and do not help us manage our money. On another hand, the personal finance apps out there don’t practically help us budget for our lifestyles…Put simply, the next generation expects apps to be easy, fun, & social: everything modern finance apps are not. That is when we set out to build the first app that helps people live their lifestyles within their budget through personalization and empowering better spending.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Reverse engineering our goals. Throughout Exeq’s growth we at the company to hit certain benchmarks like funding, user growth, and other challenging goals to which stakeholders held us accountable. From time to time when the goals were sizable, like our goal of a 40,000 person national waitlist mentioned earlier, we had to reverse engineer the goal and break our action steps down to the day. Then, all you have to do is focus on winning that day. When you win the day, you win the week, and then the month and so on.

Marina Berezovska, Founder of Travel Tech Con

What is Travel Tech Con?

Travel Tech Con is the only independent technology conference for travel startups and engineers, taking place in San Francisco on June 7-9, 2018. I started community events for travel startups 3 years ago with the goal to promote unbiased technology discussion and peer-to-peer learning and since then has organized over 30 travel tech events, including the annual Travel Tech Con that gathers 300+ travel startup teams and industry innovators. This demand for a travel tech community with an explicit focus on startups turned to be the main driver behind our annual Travel Tech Con.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

You get what you give and you get what you ask for. Be genuinely kind, offer sincere help to others and they will return the favor. When you need help – ask for it, explain exactly what you need and you make it easier for others to help you.

Jesse Nieminen, Co-Founder of Viima

What is Viima?

Viima is a SaaS product that helps organizations collect and develop ideas and turn them into innovations. We participated in a local accelerator program at our university and initially had a completely different business idea. However, once we started to actually try to sell the product, we soon realized that our idea was flawed in many ways. We wanted to help others avoid the same mistake of not testing their ideas early enough and started working on what eventually became Viima. The idea has obviously evolved from that and now our focus is to help organizations collect, develop, and manage their ideas to further develop their business.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

The biggest thing enabling our past and current growth has been our focus on inbound marketing. It’s the perfect channel for us since it emphasizes the strengths of our product compared to our alternatives, as well as allows us to get our foot in the door on exciting opportunities that we’d have no chance of being involved in otherwise.

Michael Tunney, Creator of KeySmart

What is KeySmart?

Constantly annoyed with thigh poke, key jingle, and damaged pants, [I] set out to design a solution to the bulky key ring.  After months of prototyping, testing, and redesigning, KeySmart was born. The frame was crafted out of aluminum to be ultra lightweight, and the hardware was milled from stainless steel to survive anything life threw at it.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Always be experimenting and fiscally planning around it. 90% of campaigns will fail and it’s easy to rest on your laurels when you stumble upon something in the 10%. Everything tapers down eventually so it’s important to always be launching items in parallel with that expectation.

Adam Riggs-Zeigen, Founder of Jolt.ai

What is Jolt.ai?

Jolt.ai is an artificial intelligence program that keeps you accountable for health and fitness goals. People are beginning to interact with software in a more personal way. The mission of my company, Rock My World Media, is to help people live healthier, more active lives. That mission, coupled with people forming deeper connections with technology, led directly to Jolt.ai.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

It’s a value as much as a strategy, but what’s helped grow my business is us caring about our customers. It sounds trite, but I think lots of businesses zero in on revenue first. They hold it above the satisfaction of their customers. That model is ultimately detrimental for long-term success.

Casey Isaacson, Co-Founder and CCO of Dig

What is Dig?

Dig is the dog-person’s dating app, which I started both because it was a good idea, but also because I was tired of dating guys who don’t love my dog as much as I do. After a relationship ended when a guy refused to let the (self-awarded) World’s Cutest Dog (Layla) in his apartment, I wanted to find someone who would love my dog as much as I do. We created Dig because being a dog lover isn’t just another box to check off on a long list of your attributes. It’s a way of life for a growing number of single people, and it’s crucial to know that up front when dating.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

From the beginning, we’ve surrounded ourselves with advisors who have gone through start-ups and small business experience before. Without their advice and guidance, we would have been lost.

Akos Boros, Co-Founder and COO of Capturly

What is Capturly?

Capturly is a full-stack analytics platform whose aim is to provide online businesses with first-hand feedback and real business insights simply and intelligibly. Our mission is to make easier for our customers to make those business decisions which will result in amazing business development. Capturly focuses on the main driving forces: conversion and retention. The idea of Capturly came from a specific need we had about 3 years ago. We used Google Analytics on a real estate portal which is great when it comes to collecting quantitative data. Eventually, we wanted something more, so we started searching. Then we asked ourselves, why not combine the benefits of the two tools under one hood? So the idea of Capturly was born.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

I would say SEO. To be precise, achieving quality organic traffic with the help of content marketing. It took quite some time until we figured out the methods we should follow. At first, we started looking for guides, that should produce “magic numbers”. However, after a couple of months, we realized, that there’s no better teacher than experience. Whatever you do, don’t follow a single guide, instead, take the harder trial and error way.

Michael Snape, CEO of Retruster

What is Retruster?

Retruster is a company built to protect people from phishing and fraudulent emails. It protects companies and individuals across the globe, using the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to stop malware, ransomware, data loss and fraud way upstream. [At a previous job] I received an email from him to transfer money to a new supplier’s account in order to get big discounts. We made the transfer – except a couple days later, we realized there was no email. He never sent it. Someone had researched our organization, faked his address (really easy to do, by the way), and sent me the instruction. I was blown away that none of our software stopped this from happening, and when I looked into this more deeply, realized that this is a global problem that costs companies and individuals billions of dollars. I got together with some friends and we started Retruster, to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to other, good, people.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Being different. Seth Godin talks about the Purple Cow, and it’s so true. You have to stand out. We sent phishing emails to a number of people to prove the need for our solution. Sure it probably irritated some of them, but it got results. (Disclaimer: we immediately let these people know that these were not real emails. Do not try this at home)

Cherie Kloss, Founder and CEO of SnapNurse

What is SnapNurse?

SnapNurse is a technology platform that allows facilities to book nurses on-demand to fill empty shifts. All nurses are pre-credentialed and operate on a rating system. SnapNurse is working towards solving the PRN and per-diem pool shortage.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Focus on bringing money in…any way you know how. At SnapNurse, we put a lot of energy into marketing to grow our business. Some companies prioritize more tangible things like building out a bigger tech team or getting a bigger office. However, I think when you start cutting down on marketing expenses, that may not be the right decision.

Michael Roloff, Founder of Rental Pal

What is Rental Pal?

A lot of people have good quality sports gear laying around that is just collecting dust or it is a seasonal sport and is not getting used. Before starting the company, I would rent the equipment to people who did not own boards and I ended up making double of what the snowboard costed. I started doing this with all my sporting equipment even golf clubs and baseball bats. That is when I felt I need to create something that offers people a secure way to make money or borrow sports gear.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Social media has helped grow my community. Instagram has been the best as it connects me to the right demographic for me.

Raman Shalupau, Founder of Crypto Jobs List

What is Crypto Jobs List?

Crypto Jobs List is the number one community to find and post web3 jobs. After a few failed bootstrapping ideas I thought it’s time to get back into software engineering consulting, or to find a job. At the time I was also looking closely at cryptocurrency markets and at the blockchain technology. I felt that was a promising field and I started googling for a tech job in the space. I checked several exchanges, browsed several “careers” pages of major crypto companies (exchanges, wallets, etc…). And at some point thought, why not create a job board where anyone could find all crypto jobs. That’s how the idea for Crypto Jobs List came about.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

For me, I’ve been attributing a lot to keeping expectations low. That’s how Crypto Jobs List got started and took off. It’s also how I started some of the most meaningful relationships in my life — by not expecting anything, yet giving my most, staying present and enjoying the moment.

Sophie Miles, Co-Founder of QuotesAdvisor.com

What is QuotesAdvisor.com?

QuotesAdvisor.com is a website that allows customers to compare the best rates in insurance and loans instantly. Ten years ago, I was in a meeting with a colleague after work in New York. At that time, I was working at the well-known bank, and my colleague from the Polytechnic of Torino was working in the competition. We were in our respective websites, when almost without thinking I asked him: How difficult is to find a useful number here? After trying for ten minutes to get the information, we realized that it was too much complicated to get a simple rate. Immediately we came up with the following idea: ‘should be real a website that goes through all the pages of the banks’. This website would extract the information from each page and compare it in a simple and visual way. Now it is quotesadvisor.com but at that moment, it was just a crazy idea!

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Digging in our statistics, we realized that 25% of our users read the entire main page and only a 17% of them perform a search in our comparator. The user usually does not spend more than a minute in searching a specific result. Therefore, we have decided to not requesting personal information in order to make the user experience much simpler. Our business grew 5% in the first quarter after that.

Jason Martell, Product Developer at Blast

What is Blast?

Blast was created with the concept that “building wealth should be easy and fun,” so the creators merged FinTech and gaming tech to help gamers worldwide earn and save money all while playing their favorite games. Unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies found in FinTech, Blast uses real money to help people build real savings. It is a sort of twist on the “gamefication” model that banks have previously used to try and entice people to save; rather than creating a game, Blast works in conjunction with games people are already playing.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

The one thing that has helped build a successful product is assembling a successful team. It’s never been a one man job to build something amazing. We all have skills as individuals, but combined together we become an unstoppable force!

Maximus Yaney, Founder and CTO of Titan Aerospace

What is Titan Aerospace?

I founded Titan Aerospace to build a low-cost, high-altitude, solar-powered drone that could fly continuously for years and provide internet to underserved communities internationally. For a solution, I turned to two of my childhood interests: aircraft and solar power. The confluence of these passions led to the creation of Titan: perhaps I could create a solar-electric, high-altitude aircraft that could fly for long periods of time at an altitude of 20 kilometers. This approach had several advantages: first, it would be significantly faster than a satellite internet system. Additionally, it could be deployed regionally and incrementally–and at a fraction of the cost of a space-based satellite network. I called these aircraft atmosats or atmospheric satellites. From this, Titan Aerospace was born.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Building the right foundational culture so that it can grow itself. Doing everything I can do to make myself redundant and superfluous. When I bring people onboard, I tell people that their first goal is to fire themselves (replace themselves) from current position, take another one, and keep growing. I build organizations around people, not processes, so culture is critically important–something I learned from my exposure to Facebook, Google, and other tech leaders.

Anuja Ketan, Co-Founder and CTO of NewtonX

What is NewtonX?

NewtonX is the world’s first AI-powered knowledge marketplace. My co-founders, Germain Chastel and Sascha Eder noticed that traditional expert networks were slow, imprecise, and not cost effective. Because matching experts with clients was a manual process for these incumbents, it could take up several days for a client to get the information they needed — a timeline that often didn’t work. They reached out to me in need of a co-founder to develop an algorithm that would automate the process of identifying experts and matching them to clients, and a strong automation framework to actually connect experts with clients in a fast and cost-efficient manner. So we developed precisely such a solution, which is now the crux of NewtonX.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

From the beginning, we have been a revenue-focused business. So many companies today seem to view making money as an afterthought — which is a dangerous mindset, and for many has proved untenable. While this should be a given, in Silicon Valley it’s a bit rare to see a company as small as ours generating as much revenue as we have in the first year.

Jamey Edwards, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudbreak Health LLC

What is Cloudbreak Health LLC?

Cloudbreak Health LLC is a leading telemedicine company currently performing over 75,000 encounters per month in over 700 hospitals nationwide. Cloudbreak’s mission is to humanize healthcare by leveraging technology to build trusted communication and relationships between patients and providers. The idea for Cloudbreak evolved as our team realized that hospitals were faced with trying to support multiple point solutions on different and incompatible IT platforms for telemedicine. We believed a more collaborative, high quality and cost-effective solution could be created, so we took on pioneering Unified Telemedicine and Telemedicine as a Service (TaaS).

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Storytelling. Storytelling is a key part of business and the companies that do it well have a distinct advantage over ones that don’t. As people, our stories are what make us human. If you want to attract the best talent, partners & clients your company needs a story that allows you to create a meaningful experience for all your stakeholders and create an environment that they want to be a part of. It can make you the employer of choice, partner of choice and product of choice.

Gabriel Allred, Co-Founder of Tokes Platform

What is Tokes Platform?

Tokes uses a logical synergy of two bourgeoning but fringe industries; cannabis and cryptocurrency. Making the unbankable, bankable, by utilizing technology few understand. My partner ultimately had the idea, which we then refined together. One of the key objectives is to provide a consumer advocacy non-profit initiative that should benefit merchants, consumers, enthusiasts, and even those opposed to the legalization movement. Our efforts focus on public outreach at events, education, accurate product information, and political lobbying.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

We work in a relatively small space by tech company standards. As such, one strategy of ours is to engage in strategic partnerships, rather than competing with other small teams to create the same software products. This approach may not work for all industries, but in cryptocurrency and blockchain, it’s a way of growing our network of affiliates, minimizing development costs (and mistakes in development), while reducing our overhead.

Michael Lai, Co-Founder and CEO of Sitejabber

What is Sitejabber?

Sitejabber is a consumer reviews platform that has helped over 100 million consumers discover, connect and review businesses online. Sitejabber was developed in part with a grant from the National Science Foundation as a consumer protection site to help consumers get better information about companies before engaging, donating or making purchases. =As it becomes easier to buy and sell over the internet, we feel that customer reviews and recommendations will be critical in helping consumers avoid scams and connect with exciting new businesses.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Focus on having an amazing product. Trust your instincts but also listen to your most passionate users.

Fiona Adler, Founder of Actioned.com

What is Actioned.com?

Actioned.com is a productivity tool for individuals and teams of any size. It works on the simple principle of getting everyone in the team to enter their plans for the day (3-5 priorities that they will work on), and having that information visible across the team. Having a focus of just a few action items for the day, plus the accountability from colleagues means that people get more of the important things get done. It’s far more simple than project management software and it gets enormous productivity gains for almost all kinds of teams.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Content marketing has been an important part of growing all my businesses. In part, this is because it’s a solid strategy, but also, it suits my style. I think it’s important to choose strategies that play to your natural strengths and that you enjoy doing.

Malcolm CasSelle, President of Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX)

What is WAX?

WAX is a decentralized platform for the development of secure and transparent in-game virtual item exchanges on the blockchain, created by OPSkins. The genesis of WAX came from our team’s experience in both item trade at OPSkins, a very successful centralized marketplace for trading virtual items from video games. In just 2 years we became a multi billion dollar company yet the clear future opportunity was a decentralized marketplace. The blockchain solves so many fundamental issues with billions of micro-transactions occurring cross border, it is an obvious innovation.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

The best strategy has been to work with the best and the brightest and with them on my team, to focus on areas where not many others are working. If there is lots of competition in a business, it quickly becomes less profitable and less interesting. The best businesses focus on a green field. Oh and by the way, they are the hardest to get funded.

Marc Morin, Co-Founder and CEO of Auvik Networks, Inc.

What is Auvik Networks, Inc.?

Auvik Networks Inc. is a provider of cloud software that allows IT managed service providers (MSPs) to manage and monitor their clients’ IT networks more simply and efficiently. Software existed to remotely monitor and manage devices like computers, printers, and servers, but there was a gap in software to control the devices that form the network—like routers, switches, and firewalls. MSPs would traditionally spend days or weeks performing manual network tasks for their clients, like wire tracing to hand-draw a network map, doing manual configuration backups, and manual troubleshooting. Auvik has automated those time-consuming, inefficient network tasks to boost MSPs’ productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

I like to system design everything, so I view the business the same way I would view software. You’ve got to lay out all the pieces that are interconnected. Nothing’s random. It’s how we do our business planning: Everything is data driven, it needs to be logical and interconnected. Everything has to be in balance.

Judd Schoenholtz, CEO and Co-Founder of Open Listings

What is Open Listings?

We started Open Listings after having frustrating experiences with homebuying. Anyone who’s gone through the process knows that there are countless ways to improve it. Tech-savvy buyers don’t want an agent — they want a home. At Open Listings, it’s not about a specific idea, but a shared mission to make homebuying simple and affordable. Open Listings allows you to buy a home online with plenty of virtual help.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Build an email list. Email is still a universal and highly visible channel that the average user checks dozens of times each day. If you can get in someone’s inbox and provide value, you can retain them for life.

Issa Asad, Founder of Q Link Wireless

What is Q Link Wireless?

Q Link Wireless supplies low-income individuals and families living in America with a free cell phone and free monthly service that includes free calling, free monthly data, and unlimited text messaging through the government-run Lifeline assistance program. The program was designed for Americans who might not otherwise have access to vital communication services, including the ability to make 9-1-1 calls.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

I think that, by being charitable, you will grow your business while helping your community in the process. As a Lifeline provider, I feel that I have an obligation to help others who need our service, and that in turn has helped me grow my business. For example, we recently made news for working with the FCC on a proposed mandate that would require Lifeline carriers to provide free airtime to their customers after a natural disaster. Yes, we were highlighted for our efforts, but that was a byproduct of supporting our customers.

Lukas Dryja, CEO and Co-Founder of Format

What is Format?

Format is a simplified website-building process and platform that allows photographers, illustrators, designers and artists around the globe to make a beautiful online portfolio within minutes.

What strategy do you use to grow your business?

Focus on the right things. At Format, we focus on our goals, our metrics, and our team. We know what we want to accomplish and we put plans in place to get us there. Things don’t always turn out as planned, but knowing where we want to go gets everyone in the company rowing in the same direction. That focus is truly vital to our success.

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Tech Entrepreneurs Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash