Greg McDonald is cofounder and CEO of Vizanda, a startup that makes it extremely easy to discover and share insights about your data. He previously managed the web analytics system at About.com and was Senior Manager of Research Operations at ABI Research.
Ezetech: Tell us about why you left your day job to pursue your own entrepreneurial journey?
I built a prototype for Vizanda and started showing it to potential customers. Over and over, I saw their eyes light up as they saw the demo and understood the potential for what this idea could do. Eventually I had to give it a try or I would have always regretted it!
Ezetech: How did the idea for Vizanda come to you?
I spent 6 years in the industry constantly looking for pain points that a startup could capitalize on. The amount of time it takes for people to discover and share insights came up again and again.
Ezetech: Do you think New York City is a good place to start a venture in the data visualization/analytics space?
Perhaps not the best place, but it's a great place. There's a lot of support for New York's growing startup community.
Ezetech: Who is your ideal customer?
Someone who's in Excel all day trying to analyze and communicate insights to others but extremely swamped.
Ezetech: Was it hard to build a team comprised of folks who were inspired by/shared your vision?
It takes perseverance, especially to find the right co-founder. Ultimately I got lucky in finding the right person—but you have to work hard to get lucky as they say.
Ezetech: Do you think making the right architecture decisions in the early stages of development for a product like Vizanda is critical?
You don't have to get every decision right, but you want to get most of the big ones and a decent number of the small ones right. It takes a lot longer to change architecture decisions, so although you don't have unlimited time at the beginning, you want to bat above .500.
Ezetech: Did Ezetech help you make the right decisions early on in Vizanda’s development? What kind of feedback on the product’s architecture and technology stack have you received from industry experts so far?
Very much so. During the planning stages I only had a passing knowledge of many of the technologies that Ezetech wanted to use. It was extremely helpful to lean on their judgement and have that judgement affirmed by others after the fact.
Ezetech: For how long of a runway do you think seed funding should afford a tech startup like Vizanda?
You want enough to launch effectively and get your first handful of paying customers in order to validate the idea and get enough traction to close the next round of investment. That amount of time varies for different companies.
Ezetech: Where is the best place to look for seed funding?
Ezetech: What is the best part of running your own startup?
Being able to move fast and build the great things you know should be built.
Ezetech: What would you say to people who are currently employed and looking to go all-in with their ideas for the first time?
Go as far as you can while you're still employed. You can't do that forever, but the further you get before the clock starts ticking, the better your chances.
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