KaChange Is Making Sure We’re Not Paying Too Much For Our Bills. Thank Coco Puffs!
It’s the worst feeling when you find out that you’ve been paying too much for anything— be it groceries, clothes, or (especially) bills. KaChange hopes to change that by working with suppliers to give you the best rates on your gas and electric bills. Score!
We touched base with President and CEO David Lieberman, to find out why sugar cereals inspire him and what he would be doing with a year off (and $500k).
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Our first choice was BillChop.com, but it got nixed during our copyright review. We wanted something related to what we did, but which wasn’t impossible to remember. It’s a painstaking process these days.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Check our stats, traffic/new customers.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
3 people to start and we now have…well…3–although we now set up a call center.
I’ve always worked with a very small core team and then outsource nearly everything else. My last company I started, BookRags.com, we had a team of 6, but had over 400 contract writers, editors, and engineers. It’s really efficient for everyone to have very defined roles with very specific goals.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
We are completely decentralized and located in 3 different states. Like my prior company, which didn’t have an office for its first 10 years and we don’t have one now. Offices do have value, but if you have a group of independent, motivated people, it’s far less necessary and can actually be an impediment. Rather than spending that harder to get initial capital on things that won’t impact growth, you can invest it into things that will.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
We’d like to give anybody, whether home owner, renter, or business owner, that has the option of energy choice, the ability to easily compare the options in their market.
Who or what inspires you?
Sugar cereal. There’s almost no kind I don’t like except Honey Combs and Grape Nuts (does anybody like them?) and you can usually find 5-10 different ones at my house at any given time. Hopefully, it doesn’t rub off on our kids.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Keep costs lean. When you raise a few hundred thousand, it’s easy to spend more openly. Pre-VC, you are trying to show an ROI, so to the extent that you can show that you can do more with less, but do it with scale, you’ll more easily prove your value. Also, OUTSOURCE!! It’s a dirty word, but can save your business and can easily be done, even with a one person business.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I’d love to spend a year hiking. I don’t think that would cost near $500k, though. So, it’s more a function of having a year off than the money.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
I don’t think there’s ever a point of feeling successful. There’s always another goal to reach and that’s what makes it fun.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
Amazon. You know how much of a pain it is to buy diapers when you are busy? Home delivery for the right price = awesome. If a day passes and we don’t have a box from Amazon, my wife is disappointed.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Runstar. Super cool. It measures when you run, how fast, etc. It also prevents me from getting lost, which occurs easily.
Dogs or cats?
One dog, a girl named Fenway. In fairness, I tried to have our first born son named Fenway as well, but no dice from my wife (who is also a big Red Sox fan). I mean, come on, Indiana Jones was named after a dog, why couldn’t our son?
iOS or Android?
Ask me again in about 3 months. I’m an antiquated APPLE hater. Yet I have an iPad and whenever the iPhone5 is finally released, I’ll have the iOS, too. So, even though I’m currently Android, I’m an embarrassed convert.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
Many states have passed legislation that provides consumers and businesses a choice when it comes to Gas and Electricity suppliers. Unfortunately, very few people know about this. The utility companies naturally don’t want to advertise the competition and the independent suppliers don’t have the advertising budget to compete with the massive utility companies.
As a result, most people do not even know that while these independent suppliers have cheaper prices, their customers get the same exact Gas/Electricity and service from the utility companies (i.e. nothing changes but the price. See FAQ). In fact, you still receive your bill from just your utility company but pay the independent suppliers’ prices.
KaChange is a free service that helps consumers and businesses take advantage of these lower prices without the uncertainty and hassle of trying to find, research, compare and sign-up with these generally unknown independent suppliers. In addition, once you sign-up with KaChange, we continue to seek better prices from other independent suppliers and automatically notify you when we find a better price for you. In nearly all cases, your bill still comes from your same supplier.
Thanks Dave! For the record, I think Fenway is a really great name for a boy (or girl). I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m baby name picking. Hopefully, not any time soon.