WhiteyBoard: Sticking it to the Big Guys
Last week I did a post announcing the launch of the WhiteyBoard.com affiliate program on Affiliate Venture Group and today I want to introduce one of the founders, Jason Wilk. I had a chance to interview him some time back and found it most motivational. It is amazing to me that it took a couple of young kids to come up with an idea so simple, which may revolutionize the whole white board industry.
Back in 2010 they obtained $5000,000 in seed funding from Bill Liao – founder of Xing.com, the dominant social network for business professionals in Europe. They have never looked back.
Jason, thanks for taking the time to discuss a little bit about you and WB, let’s get started:
Q: The prices of white boards surprised the heck out of me. Is there a personal experience that inspired you to start WhiteyBoard.com?
A: Saachi is the one who really was looking for a cheap dry erase board solution since he was a finance major interested in crunching numbers all day for his favorite stocks. Our college library had great whiteboard but they were so expensive, so we searched out for a better solution and found one. Now over 5000 startup companies and businesses use them.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your professional background prior to WhiteyBoard.com and what led you to start your business?
A: Saachi was a college student and stock trader. I graduated a few years before Saachi and have been involved with web startups ever since. I sold my first company when I graduated college, it was called 1DaySports.com and it was like Groupon for sports products. While we started WhiteyBoard, I was starting another company at Y Combinator.
Q: Did you feel any fear when starting your own business? If so, how did you overcome it?
A: I had done it before so I wasn’t worried. Saachi was clearly ready to start something, so we decided to go at it.
Q: What has been the largest hurdle for WhiteyBoard so far? Finances? Scalability?
A: The largest hurdle has been dealing with a small team. We all have to wear every hat, every day, plus we have other things going on at the same time. We could use some help in areas like better customer service, which we are starting to get better at.
Q: What advice do you have for people interested in starting their own businesses, particularly in the current economy?
A: It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you have the passion to do it, the economy shouldn’t stop you.
Q: You guys have involved lots of interesting collaborations I suppose, is there anyone out there that you’d really like to work with, and has anyone ever said no to working with you?
A: We have had some interesting people that have helped us. Our favorite being Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit.com. We’d like to work with some larger stores so everyone can find out about WhiteyBoard. We are in current talks with Wal-Mart, Staples, Target, Office Depot and a few other large companies.
Q: I love the name WhiteyBoard and some of your videos are awesome – have you had any resistance to it at all? ;-)
A: Surprisingly no. Only one person has ever said something negative about the name. If anything, the name has helped immensely because it’s sticky and easy to remember. 99% of our sales come from people who just remember to type in WhiteyBoard.com directly into their browser.
Q: Take a moment and sell us why whitey board vs. a white board, what are the benefits?
A: It accomplishes the same thing at the end of the day, our product is just a lot cheaper and easier to install. There is no point in buying the alternative.
Q: You have chosen Affiliate Venture Group to manage your affiliate program, what led to that decision (fishing for compliments here)?
A: We’ve heard some great things about Rick and his team. We’re excited to work together on this venture and hopefully get some great success like he’s done for so many others!
Q: Any words of wisdom for our readers who are inspired by your story and would like to pursue their own passions?
A: Do your research, have some courage and go after your goals. It’s not easy, but it’s worth if you can pull off even the most slight success.
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