Commercial trucking is one of the most used forms of cross-country product transportation. Sasha Kucharczyk and his team invented a device to ensure a smooth ride for companies and their drivers. The Preteckt device is a networked prediction service that connects into any truck. Data collected through sensors alert the driver of signs of machinery failure weeks or months in advance. Sasha Kucharczyk shares with us his beginnings and development journey with Start Co.’s Seed Hatchery Accelerator program.
Q: Where did the idea for your business come from?
A: The initial idea came from one of my co-founder’s experience in receiving maintenance. However, our company has pivoted a few times since then. The current idea came from applying the idea we were working on before moving to Memphis with a market vertical we were introduced to after we joined the Start Co. accelerator.
Q: What was your favorite or most impactful experience at Start Co.?
A: The “your baby is ugly mentality”, which was stressed many times. That is to say, you need to accept that your first iterations of your product may not be market-ready. You need continuous feedback from your customers at all stages of development in order to ‘hit-the-mark’.
Q: What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A: Get customer feedback, get it early, and iterate.
Q: What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A: Going for growth too early. Growth is what makes a startup and it gets a lot of the attention. However, it can also be a major distraction if you are lacking good retention. Early on, we kept trying for growth before we hit product-market fit. We would get customer interest, get them to try our product, and then the relationship would fizzle out. We experimented a bit to try and fix this problem but kept falling short. We have since come to the conclusion that we had been thinking about the problem incorrectly. The problem was not about how we were engaging and interacting with our customers, but characteristics of the product we were selling. By removing features to a core set of features that strongly resonated with our customers, we were able to change the trajectory of our company and move back on the path to product-market fit.
Q: If you went to another program how was your experience different at Start Co.?
A: We have done a few programs. Where I found that Start Co. shines is that every team member at the accelerator is willing to go the extra mile and out of their way to help portfolio companies succeed. That extends well beyond Demo Day. We feel like we have a 24/7 hotline that we can call anytime we have a question or challenge. Every one of them truly cares for us as individuals and for the success of our business.
Q: If you were to sell another founder on why Start Co. and why Memphis what would you say?
A: Start Co. is an early-stage accelerator that will provide you with support to make your idea into an actual business. Unlike many other accelerators out there, the hands-on help and support continues after Demo-day.
Q: How can people reach you?
Interested in participating in Start Co.’s Summer Accelerator Program? Apply before Wednesday March 1, 2017 at http://neverstop.co/seedhatchery/.