Picmonic is the visual learning platform that improves memory retention by turning dry facts into unforgettable images. As co-founder and CEO, I’ve devoted much of my life to this entrepreneurial mission. When I heard about Venture Madness, I made the decision to enter our company into the competition. Like the name implies, it’s been quite a wild ride ever since! My Company has seen some great successes over the past few years, and I’d like to share a few of my biggest takeaways after being involved in the Venture Madness program.
Be Raw to Get Refined
If you think entrepreneurship is for the faint of heart, think again. Through Venture Madness, my team and I were faced time and time again with the challenge of opening ourselves up to the scrutiny of others. When you’ve poured your heart and soul and resources into a business like I have, even dropping out of medical school to be able to focus on it, it’s humbling to see your baby get torn apart.
What I learned, though, is that this is an incredible opportunity for growth. If you open up your mind and accept the fact that you’ll be receiving external feedback from people who only know a little bit about your company, you’ll be privy to objective, important perspectives. Even knowing this doesn’t make the process less painful. However, it’s imperative you allow your vision to be vetted and shredded under the glare of a magnifying glass. Trust me – you will walk away with a more highly functioning and eloquently refined story, presentation and business model.
It’s All About the People
I’m often asked what the most valuable part of participating in Venture Madness was. I never hesitate with this answer: it was the people. Force yourself to get involved with as many events and interactions as you can, whether you make it to the top spot or don’t progress past the starting line. I always encourage startup teams to extend their hands to every person they can possibly meet. You never know who will introduce you to your next funding source or who might become your most valued business development partner.
There’s also a misconception I’ve come across several times. Some people think that in order to get ‘good’ funding, you have to be in Silicon Valley. Sure, the Bay Area is famous for venture capital and Arizona doesn’t have the same reputation. However, as Picmonic has demonstrated, if you’re plugged into the right networks, you can get financing, advice and other invaluable resources that can help you build a successful business here in Arizona. So when you’re involved in Venture Madness, soak up every interpersonal interaction you can have. The people and network are by far this program’s most priceless asset.
The Future’s Looking Bright
As for Picmonic, we have continued to gain steam. We closed a seed round of funding in September 2014, and earlier this month we closed a $2.3M Series A round. We’ll be using this capital to enhance our platform to deliver new functionality, expand our team and reach new markets. We are pumped for further growth and success.
I’m personally excited to see the new changes that are in the works with Venture Madness under Mario Martinez’s lead, and the next round of entrepreneurs who are passionate enough about their businesses to be humbled in order to get to the next level. Last year we were honored to be awarded $5,000 for the People’s Choice Award – something that is up for grabs again this year. Good luck to all the participants!
—Ron Robertson, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO