Did you know that there’s an area in Canada where it’s illegal to lock car doors, get this, in case someone needs to escape from a polar bear? This is just one example of the lesser-known things you can learn about anyplace using mapaton, map-centric social network messaging.
Startups that try to connect people to all things local – local tour guides, transportation, activities, groups, romantic opportunities, etc. – abound. Surprisingly few begin with the essential trait that makes anything local. Location! mapathon uses the map as the starting point and sounding board for connecting with people and businesses, and for finding out the neighborhood scoop.
Throw your chats and messages right onto the map using mapaton. Co-founder and CEO of mapaton, Tengiz Tutisani, tells us more:
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
mapaton is a social network about maps and about messages. We do quite simple things: we put messages on the map. So, people can read the messages on the map and send the messages to the map at their location. Our customers are people who want to hear what’s happening around them, from people just like them – who want to share what they see and where they see it.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
The greatest thing about mapaton is that it’s simple, for everyone, and for essential needs that people have in their everyday lives. mapaton is better than the closest competition because it’s intuitive – you see the place, you read the messages, and you send your thought out to the world.
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world-wide web?
My first computer was an Intel Pentium 100 Ghz that could hardly run Windows ’98 (special cut-off version). I was 17 when I first tried my hands on the world-wide web.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
We start at 8:00 AM. We work flexible hours because it’s an early-stage startup with only private capital from our own pockets. We still work full-time for other companies. But, mapaton is our inspiration that takes 4 to 8 hours from each of us on a daily basis.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
I went to the western Caribbean islands with my wife.
When do your best ideas come to you?
When I’m not working hard – usually during vacation, after meditation, or during my “third beer.”
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
We were two when we started. It’s still two of us working most on mapaton, but several people have helped us in some areas where we needed special expertise.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
Failure in previous ideas is the best inspiration to go and try something new.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
We were trying to figure out how all these small things from our heads could fit on the screen. Then, over and over, it became clear and natural.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
The biggest frustration is related to the marketing part of each startup (or, at least, founders always think it was the marketing that didn’t work – because the idea was great). I handle frustration by getting up and giving it even more try.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
Our office environment is my apartment. We usually just work, sometimes listen to music.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Simple website that helps many people in accomplishing their everyday needs. It’s not necessary to grow to 100s of employees, but it’s necessary to give people what they would like to have.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates inspire me. Steve jobs once suggested to stay hungry and foolish, no matter what.
How’d you fund this venture?
Money came from my own pocket, very little money. Time came from my personal free time. The same is true about the other co-founder of mapaton.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Failure is just another reason to go and try once more.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
START – the rest is easy.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
I would travel and see places that I always wanted to see, such as Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin… many more.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
I consider myself as an entrepreneur with good potential, who can become successful once his startup starts doing what it’s supposed to do.
Top 5 websites you couldn’t live without and why?
- Facebook – because I love collecting great quotes that flow there often.
- Twitter – because it’s a common place to hear what those particular people say or think.
- Stack Overflow – because every profession needs a challenge to become better.
- LinkedIn – for many great articles from thought leaders.
- Hotmail – you know Hotmail.
What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?
iHeartRadio. Listening to what’s popular now.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
Japan, because that’s a center of technology.
Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.
Our funding is from our pockets, under 30,000 at the moment. Revenue : we plan to be free for the near future, so we don’t have revenue. Visitors: we’ve just started. We have visitors from our neighborhood and from random places, maximum 50 unique at the moment.
Where else should our readers find you online?