I really enjoyed seeing the explosion of stuff for local Jason Baptiste and his startup OnSwipe. To really see how this all works, you need to read all the articles surrounding the events of the last 24 hours:
TechStars NYC Announces their companies in their first class with one Mystery company:
note the allusion: “And a mystery company focused on building a “Platform for Tablet Publishing and Advertising.” I immediately thought of PadPressed (the old name for OnSwipe) for a lot of reasons I won’t go into, but couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t be announced. Then it was cleared up…
1) TechCrunch Announces the Funding:
3) And Boston Angel Wayne Chang talks about his investment in OnSwipe:
So what to learn from this? A few quick lessons and observations:
1) A mystery breeds intrigue
Being the mystery company…of the first TechStars…in tech hotbed and media mecca New York City…is a heck of a way to start things off with a bang. TechStars tries to help companies make more noise and this is huge for OnSwipe. On top of the buzz the other companies get, OnSwipe gets a huge extra magnification as people were looking to see what that 11th company was up to.
Lesson: If you can create some intrigue…definitely do! People love a good mystery.
2) Announce it and be AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE!
So we’ve got the source for Startup Tech News aka- Tech Crunch, writing about your funding announcement, a brilliant manifesto on the company blog by a truly gifted writer and the Angel investor that was the first to commit all writing about it at the same time. Now that’s how you burn up Twitter and the social webs!
Lesson: The more ways you can get your message out, the wider the reach and the greater the buzz you can create. Buzz = ongoing press attention, easier recruiting of employees and plenty of opportunity for serendipity.
3) The First Commit Came from BOSTON and was a new Angel
I’ve heard more than I care to about what it’s like to try to raise angel money in Boston and so it’s thrilling to hear that the first commitment for investing in OnSwipe was a Boston Angel (see Wayne Chang’s blog post).
Lesson: Boston.is.not.dead. There’s good people and if you show you have the right idea, the right team and the right skills, you can get funded around here.
4) Jason is the PERFECT choice to execute on this idea
Jason is a truly gifted writer/blogger both on his own blog: http://jasonlbaptiste.com/ as well as for the past few months Dharmesh Shah’s widely read OnStartups Blog: http://onstartups.com/ So when you take someone who is reaching tons of people because of his gift of writing…and happens to be giving tons of great advice on being an entrepreneur, that’s a perfect fit for someone that wants to lead a company that wants to change the way content is consumed.
Lesson: If you’re pursuing an idea, think about why you are the PERFECT choice for the idea. Then make sure the investors you pitch know why.
5) Jason has the BIG VISION investors love
So besides solid domain expertise, a solid personal brand to leverage and an initial product that is apparently already impressing investors, you have a guy ready to take on a big vision of how to transform an industry. In his post on OnSwipe, he says it all:
“…50 billion dollars of traditional media spend needs to shift online. Our belief is that it’s in a holding pattern and can’t. There’s a disconnect between award winning beautiful ads found in print and tasteless spam ads that litter the web. We think touch enabled devices can let this change by providing advertising people actually enjoy with the best of the web layered on- mobile, local, social, and more.”
Lesson: Think BIG, but be grounded in understanding the macro trends and opportunities. Share that vision with the world and execute.
So to me, this is a home run all around at this stage. Yes, they still have to execute, but they’ve got an exciting and awesome set of pieces in motion.
This is the first of what I’m sure will be many more major steps in the future of OnSwipe. I wish Jason and the rest of his team all the best and look forward to using it on my iPad soon.