Startup Interview: VouchedFor

VouchedFor is a transferable online badge system that shows potential dates, associates, friends, and clients what kind of person you are. It allows users to run a background check on themselves, ensure all information is proper, and then share it as needed. Michael Bergman, co-founder of VouchedFor, answered a few questions we had for him about the company and why he chose the Brandery

What inspired you to start VouchedFor?

My wife and I met speed dating and before she would go out with me she did her own little investigation into my past, searching high-and-low online. She ran across other’s with my name, so, we started to think that there is an opportunity to fit that consumer need. We thought, wouldn’t everyone want to know the real story on the people they meet online and interact with in the real world.

Why did you decide to come to the Brandery?

I have known the guys from the Brandery for awhile, interacting with them from the agency side, and I know what kind of great work they did and their vision.  I was excited to be apart of what they are doing for entrepreneurs and for Cincinnati.  Also, having worked in the branding field for 4+ years, I realized how important branding can be, especially for a young startup, so getting this opportunity to be a part of the Brandery has been great.

What is the biggest surprise since you started at the Brandery?

I am always surprised and in awe of the other entrepreneurs in the Brandery.  Everyone has great, diverse backgrounds, which is truly helpful in building something that’s never been done before.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head . . . Then I come to the Brandery and start the day with a video conference with my team.  We touch base to see what people have been working on and what they want to do in the coming day.  I then usually will have a bunch of calls, with mentors, possible partners, and others that are helping us build our vision.  Somehow the day flies by and it’s night before I even realized what has happened.

How can people test out your product?

People can sign up for our Beta at www.Vouched-For.com

If you weren’t a founder of your company what other Brandery company would you want to be a founder of?

I would like to mash them all up and form a Conglomerate, like GE.


Key Take Aways: Geoff Allen's - What if You Succeed?

We asked the Brandery class what their key take aways from Tuesdays’s great talk with Geoff Allen founder of Ziplist. This is what they had to say:

Austin Hackett from CrowdHall said, “ You must Identify the segment your business is in and focus there.”

Another CrowdHall favorite takeaway was, “Choose good people to work with as your founding team and pay attention to the boring stuff because it will save you from headaches in the long run.”

Greg Svitak from AndTix enjoyed when Allen discussed, “The two biggest factors when your considering a startup is total addressable market and what is your magic moment.”

Michael Bergman from Vouchedfor’s favorite thought was,  “A sexy partner for your business may not be the best partner.”

The classes overall favorite quotes were: “Nobody understands your business as well as you do, take every piece of advice with a grain of salt.” 

“Just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should.”

“Control rests with those who generate success often irrespective of ownership."

Thanks again Geoff for coming and spending time at the Brandery and discussing what you have learned.

Startup Interview: Impulcity

Impulcity helps you discover and experience local events and venues. We take the chore out of finding fun things to do and get you to the event, with a cold beer in your hand, faster. Hunter Hammonds, co- founder of Impulcity, answered a few questions we had for him about the company and why he chose the Brandery

What inspired you to start Impulcity? 

I’ve been an “entrepreneur” since I can remember. I’ve always been finding ways to do things on my own and build a businesses out of nothing. Impulcity came from my absolutely lack of skill at finding things to do. I love to go out and see shows, great nightlife, sports, whatever it may be, but the problem is I’ve always been horrible and finding out about it. One of my favorite bands was going to be playing in town and these guys never tour, so this was a rare opportunity. Problem was I didn’t find out about it until 2 days before they were going to play and the tickets were all sold out! So that’s kind of where the idea was born. Allowing people to discover the best things to do, with barely any effort on their parts because it’s all curated for you.

Why did you decide to come to the Brandery? 

I was having lunch with a friend of mine, Dave Durand from Keepio (Class of 2011) and we were talking about progress with Impulcity and what Austin and I should do next. Our obvious weakness was branding and our go-to-market strategy. Dave pretty much told me if we didn’t apply to The Brandery that day, that we were idiots. So we did and now here we are.

What is the biggest surprise since you started at the Brandery? 

You know, that’s a question that people keep asking and I find myself not being able to answer… We had a really good sense of what to expect from talking with Dave and the Brandery co-founders and the GM Mike. Everyone kept us pretty informed about the program, what it consisted of and how it would benefit Impulcity. I think really the most surprising thing to me is how fast we can build product and iterate when we have 0 friends and family distracting us. We’ve really accelerated our shipping date.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Days lately have been a mess. I like to take my mornings to review everything we’re doing and make sure that it all makes sense. Things change so much from day to day at this stage that it’s hard to stay on top of it all. Sometimes I like to look at the product from the top down and make sure that everything we’re doing to build it from the bottom up makes sense. But mainly meetings, tweaking minor product things as we build it out, working on our branding/marketing strategies and mainly learning as much as I can.

How can people test out your product?

We’re actually shipping out our private beta in 7 days. So if people are interested in using it the best way is to go to http://impulcity.com and click “Sign Up”.

If you weren’t a founder of your company what other Brandery company would you want to be a founder of?

Not to avoid the question but I don’t even think about that. I am a founder of Impulcity and that’s what I focus on. I really like the other founders and companies in the program, but I don’t spend much time thinking about them. Just like to make sure that I’m doing the best job I can with Impulcity.

Is there anything you would like to add? 

If you think you have a kick ass startup idea and think you have the skills to build it, then get to know the guys at The Brandery and get in the 2013 class. It’s been such an amazing experience so far that I can’t imagine what things would be like if we weren’t here.