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Name: Sam Kynman-Cole
What are you building, and who benefits most from it?
We are building interactive virtual experiences and digital twins, primarily for businesses with physical spaces to help them better showcase their offerings online and give their sales and marketing teams additional and improved visual media to communicate with.
What is one of your startup’s most impressive accomplishments?
We developed an overlay system that allowed us to effectively combine multiple virtual tour solutions with a menu in order to effectively show both inside and outside spaces and multiple 3D models within a single virtual experience. We’ve found this particularly useful for creating large tours for retirement villages; it’s also well-suited to schools, etc.
What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
There are multiple virtual tour solutions out there (Google Street View, Matterport, 3D Vista, etc.), and they tend to have strengths and weaknesses. No single one fit exactly with what we wanted for our larger clients with properties consisting of multiple buildings. For this reason, we developed our own overlay system to combine existing systems into a single viewing experience—we could use various systems for their strengths and not use them in situations where they were weaker.
What tool or app could you not live without and why?
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That’s a hard question because there are so many digital tools essential to running the business. I’ll pick the Google Suite, particularly Gmail and Calendar because those are really my go-tos at the start and end of each day. Hubspot would come in second. This is ignoring hardware—my MacBook Pro and iPhone are essential, and I love how these Apple devices sync so well these days. I can copy a line of text on my computer and paste it on my phone and vice versa; this simple task was just not possible not that long ago.
What marketing strategies have worked for you?
I maintain a presence with Google ads. Since we’re B2B, Google search is relatively small, so this doesn’t cost much but also doesn’t deliver that much. If you really want to drum up business, you can’t beat getting on the phone and directly calling your target customers, which, for me, are particular businesses. Less urgent, personalized emails to the right people are also a good option. LinkedIn has worked as well, but in a way similar to personalized emails, making direct and specific connections with the right people.
What’s the best specific piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
When starting out, I’m a believer in Grant Cardone’s advice in his book The 10X Rule, particularly that you need to put in 10 times as much effort as you might originally think. Many young entrepreneurs fail simply by underestimating something. They may expect they can get x amount of work that would allow them to charge y, but they fall short on the amount of work, so their revenue ends up being too low at the y price point they decided to charge.
What does your company’s trajectory look like over the next five years?
The use of virtual tours and interest in virtual reality continues to increase. More industries are also becoming interested and finding uses for digital twins. We serve this growing market in the 3D scan capture and virtual tour build side and are a market leader in New Zealand, delivering excellent results for our clients. We want to continue to grow our customer base as well as keep up with and embrace new technologies as they are developed and continue to create our own proprietary solutions.
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