Mark Gilicinski of MobileXpeditions LLC
Mark Gilicinski is the co-founder of Dublin-based startup MobileXpeditions
. The firm has developed platforms for location-based, media-rich tours, presentations and games that can be used on iPhones, iPads and iPodTouch devices. The applications' content can be customized by users, like an art museum, business or a city, looking to offer people a more engaging experience during an outing or an event.
When and why did you start your business?
I started the company in 2009. I was inspired by the iPhone and its ability to combine software, data, and GPS all in one device that fits in your pocket. With that kind of technology, I imagined what kind of new experiences were possible out in the world rather than your living room. Based on my years working at Disney, there were lots of great use cases I came up with.
Did you consider yourself an entrepreneur before that?
Not really. I worked for years in large companies and early in my career with the federal government.
Where did you find your first employee?
I brought on my business partner, Sean Boiarski, to help build and run the company. He and I worked together prior to MobileXpeditions. Sean is really talented in a wide range of areas. We compliment each other well.
What state or local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We were fortunate to be in the first 1492 class out of TechColumbus. 1492 is a business accelerator program that helps new companies define a business plan, create an initial product, and get a first customer over the course of several weeks. If it were not for 1492, I don’t think we would exist today. Later we also received a TechGenesis grant that has helped us define our market and grow. We’ve also had countless meetings with the startup and tech community here in Columbus. There have been so many people genuinely interested in helping us succeed.
What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?
There are a number of difficult things, but probably the most difficult is the uncertainty. Whether it’s the details of a strategic partnership, pricing models, raising capital, or a myriad of other questions - there are many possible paths. Anyone you talk to has an opinion, but these can often conflict, or not be directly applicable to your situation. Deferring a difficult decision is a kind of decision and can be costly. Ultimately you need to choose a path and keep moving. I learned there is no one right path.
What’s the best thing?
The best thing about our business has been creating something of value out of thin air. We have multiple customers and revenue that all started with a blank piece of paper. Another great thing is the scope and breadth of interesting people I’ve met through this experience that I never would have met otherwise.
What has contributed most to your growth?
Having a product that works. We would not have been able to get new clients if we hadn’t delivered great solutions. By design, we also picked an area of technology we knew would be rapidly expanding.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
I’m particularly impressed by companies that understand they need to evolve as markets and technologies change. When a company creates disruptive innovation to displace its current offering is especially impressive. I’ve seen first hand a number of organizations addicted to existing sales and can’t pivot with market changes until it’s too late.