Written by Adam Ceresko, Co-Founder & CEO of APPEK Mobile Apps
It was a Monday night in State College, PA back in early 2009. I was a graduating senior sitting across the table from my now co-founder and CTO, Andew Herman. We were discussing strategy for Mirror’s Edge, the game of choice at the time, on how the hell we were going to beat this certain time trials level. Needless to say, we had no idea how that night would change our lives forever.
In the midst of our constructive strategy debate, I mentioned an idea for an iPhone app that would use the local transit agency’s GPS information to display real-time bus location on Google Maps. Long story short, we made it happen. After the initial success of our app we decided to pursue a business full-time post graduation. Now APPEK , primarily a B2B mobile app development company, has seen an angel investment, several additions to the team and international clients.
Starting a business would have never even been a possibility without all the people involved and the relationships our company formed over time. If you’re thinking of starting a business, or looking to expand, surrounding yourself with unofficial advisors, Angel Investors, and Co-Founder(s) is key to your success.
Whenever you’re in a bind or trying to figure out how to solve a problem, chances are there are plenty of other business owners who have experienced similar issues. I cannot overstate the importance of having a support group to call on to bounce ideas off of. Assembling this group isn’t easy, but by simply being proactive and asking people for their help, you’d be surprised how responsive the tech community is. Remember to not only accept help from outside sources, but also make some time to help those who help you.
Money is cheap. When we started APPEK, we did everything in our power to bootstrap. In March of this year, we were introduced to Kristopher Jones of KBJ Capital. After a few meetings, we decided to bring him on as a partner, not for the $50K he invested, but for the experience, networking and passion he brought to the table. Investment capital is important, but finding someone who has equally as much passion about your business is paramount.
This is arguably the toughest part of building a business. I personally feel extremely lucky to have met Andrew shortly before that night in 2009. Since then, even in the toughest of times, our respect for each other has triumphed over any hardships that came our way with the business. If I could go back in time and redo Appek I would change a lot, but one thing I would never change is my decision to Co-Found the company with Andrew. As an entrepreneur you need to find someone who not only shares your passion, but also complements your skill sets and respects your work.
Starting a business is tough — long hours, tough decisions and intense pressures are all a part of the process. As a 26-year-old small business owner, I believe APPEK is not just a business, but also a family. Without the support of unofficial advisors, passionate investors, and an amazing Co-Founder, the company would not be where it is today.