Interviews New York City

ideaphore: Identify and engage with customers


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What is ideaphore?

We are an open innovation company. We make it easier for companies of any size to crowdsource innovations.

Who is your target user?

Techies, DIYers, inventors, idea people, and consumer goods and services companies.

Why did you build ideaphore? What problem are you taking on?

True open (crowdsourced) innovation is expensive. The complications of intellectual property laws means you need a team of attorneys. And the number of (bad) ideas that get submitted over social media means you need a research team. We want to make it simple, gamified, inexpensive, and fun for consumers to participate in the innovation of the products they love.

How is ideaphore different from what is currently available?

Currently ideation contests and open innovation challenges in general are only available for big huge problems with 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars in prizes. This makes them inaccessible for most companies, especially startups and SMEs. We allow companies to start with simpler challenges with smaller prizes, and identify their lead customers (customers that consistently give them good ideas early and clearly) and then continue working with those customers directly on more complex innovation tasks.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

As an intellectual property attorney, I had insights into the innovation process of many big companies. I was doing research on startups and quickly became familiar with the “lean startup” method’s requirement for in-depth “customer development.” It was clear that talking to customers and potential customers is key, but how? Where are these people that will give me free input for my potentially profitable business? I know where big companies get them, and how they use teams of attorneys and field researchers to ensure that all ideas become “theirs” but how can smaller companies do this as well? That’s when ideaphore (idea for) was born.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Maxim Price – CEO – Computer Scientist and Intellectual Property attorney. I never grew out of that kid who likes to break stuff just to see what it’s made of. I just do it on a larger scale now.

Marika Szczech – CFO – Economist, two-time startup founder, attorney. Marika founded a dating startup and ran her own law firm, at one point at the same time.

Maksim Kogan – CTO – Computer Scientist and Quantitative Analyst. Maks is a data scientist who has worked at several ad-tech startups.