Incrwd rewards online contributorsBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on September 16, 2011 at 8:00 am
Carlos Ramirez was inspired to start Incrwd while considering a book purchase from Amazon.com.
When he scrolled down the webpage to read reviews of “Ender’s Game” before buying, he saw the first one was basically a 500-word essay. He thought to himself, “What would compel someone to write such a detailed review? None of my friends would do this.”
And that’s when it hit him.
“If everyone wrote reviews like this, the web would be a much better experience,” he thought, and Incrwd, a loyalty and analytics platform that rewards website users for their online contributions, was born.
“Users can get great discounts, free stuff, and exclusive offers,” he says.
To learn more about Incrwd, including why Ramirez and the company’s co-founder, Tivian Amour, applied to Ohio’s New Entrepreneur Fund, how they benefited from it, and why their experience in the fashion industry has been helpful, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: When did you two start developing the business?
Carlos Ramirez: We started partially working on the business in January of 2011, but it wasn’t until we became aware of the 10-xelerator program that we started doing this full time.
[M]: What were some of the first steps you took?
CR: One of the first things we did was research the market to get an idea if there were any competitors we might be up against. We found out that there were competitors, but they were not offering exactly what we wanted to offer. Next, we spoke to brands and publishers to validate an interest in our specific product. Then we started looking for talent to help us develop each aspect of the business. We hired some programmers and a graphic designer and, in the meantime, we started hashing out a rough business proposal. It’s changed a bit since then!
[M]: Have you turned to any role models or mentors for advice or input?
CR: The 10x program allowed us access to excellent mentors and advisors in a short span of time. Over the course of the program we met Matt Armstead, Victor Thorne, John Edwards and Rick Blair, all of whom have helped us refine our business model and strategy.
[M]: Why did you apply to the Ohio’s New Entrepreneur Fund pilot program?
CR: We applied to the fund in search of mentors, seed capital, and the credibility that comes with admission into a business accelerator. We had heard of similar incubator programs across the country and this seemed like a good opportunity to enhance our likelihood of success.
[M]: Other than gaining mentors, how have you benefited from the program?
CR: During our short 10x tenure, we learned how to present to investors, landed our first clients, Metropreneur.com and Cup O’ Joe, and secured influential advisors to help us through the next phase of our business.
[M]: What were each of you doing professionally before launching Incrwd and has that work experience informed the way you do business?
CR: Both of us came to Columbus to work for Abercrombie & Fitch at their corporate offices in New Albany. As merchandise managers, we were in charge of product development and mass production overseas. The experience gave us an understanding of the importance of attention to detail when developing products, maintaining positive rapport with partners, and always keeping cost in the forefront of your mind. Being in the fashion industry was also a great crash course on how to respond to rapid, frequent change.
[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know?
CR: Forgive us, but the opportunity for self-promotion is too good. Stay up-to-date on our progress at www.MyIncrwd.com!
Melanie McIntyre has served as editorial director of The Metropreneur since its launch in 2010. She previously worked as a staff writer for a business and legal newspaper, where she wrote more than 500 stories about finance and real estate and development in Central Ohio. Since 2008, Melanie has worked on a freelance basis for several local entities, including Columbus Underground, where she is a featured writer. She also blogs about fashion, style, and pop culture at Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is a graduate of The Ohio State University, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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