Billy McFarland

Going as fast as possible and always trying new concepts and new things.

Billy McFarland is a serial entrepreneur who has carved a successful path, starting and selling three companies before graduating from New Jersey’s Pingry School. He is the Founder of the ad-tech startup, Spling, and became one of the youngest Americans to raise institutional venture capital. Billy has guided Spling from concept to profitability and has acquired notable customers including Hearst Corporation, Discovery, Universal, and Warner. Billy still sits as CEO of the Company. In 2013, Billy founded his most recent venture, Magnises. Magnises is backed by investors including Bill Gray, former CEO of Ogilvy and Mather; famed photographer Patrick McMullan; Deep Fork Capital; Lance Weaver, former Chairman of MasterCard; and Kevin Liles, former CEO of Def Jam Records.

Where did the idea for Magnises come from?

When someone moves to the city and gets their first job, they get stuck in the career and industry that they’re working in. There’s no real way for them to meet people from different industries and experience the city the way they always thought they could. So we started Magnises as the catalyst to have all these urban millennials meet new people and try new experiences and live their dream life in the city.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

We’re trying to expand and scale our brand, first across the country, and then internationally. We need Magnises to be a must-have for every urban millennial who wants to get ahead both professionally and socially. So our entire team is focused on accomplishing that goal.

How do you bring ideas to life?

With Magnises we’re really lucky because our 10,000 members are a testing ground for any ideas or features that we want to try. So we’re very quick to test new ideas and gauge reception to see if it’s something that adds value to members and the community.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Building real offline communities that are backed by an online component and the data we collect from all our members.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Going as fast as possible and always trying new concepts and new things.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never really had a job, I’ve always been building websites or starting tech companies.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

It’s really all about staying focused on the main goal and making sure every decision you make and action you take is going to help you achieve that goal. For us, it’s making Magnises a must-have for everybody who moves to urban areas.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Always hire the best people and try new products and features.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

For us, it’s really been about the Magnises card. It was the best free marketing tool. And the fact that we have 10,000 members in New York City and Washington D.C. using their Magnises card on a daily basis to go shopping and integrating it into their daily life helps spread the brand both amongst consumers and brand partners.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It’s really important to fail with new products and features on a daily basis. We are big believers that we’ll launch 10-20 new ideas every single day, and a few of them stick. We’ll double down on those and leverage them to help scale and build our business.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think there’s a lot of opportunity in creating platforms that can connect and bring together the technology and entertainment industries.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The Magnises champagne. It’s been an amazing marketing tool for us and it tastes really good.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I’m a big basecamp fan.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

It’s really all about our members. The most valuable thing to our entire team at Magnises is now having access to 10,000 people from every industry. So we’re constantly getting different points of view, and different feedback and different ideas, and it’s our job to digest all of them and figure out the best way to grow personally and as a company.


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