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What is Skubes?

Skubes is in the process of becoming the Internet’s top educational community/website for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Skubes is currently creating educational videos for children in kindergarten through the 12th grade, and such videos feature accredited teachers actually teaching the subject matter according to the national academic standards. The initial videos, available in English, will cover math, science and language arts, with additional subjects to be added later. Our goal is to have all the lessons that are taught in K-12 education available through our video library. Our video library will be accessible through the Internet via tablet computers, smartphones and Apple TV. Additionally, the videos are being packaged with other educational materials and sold as an interactive educational ibook, which are currently available through Apple’s iBook store.

We are currently involved in a deal with Microsoft to be apart of their June 2014 education rollout. We are in the process of creating an app for Windows that will be packaged along with other apps and advertised around nationally and internationally by Microsoft.

We’re in the process of creating one of the largest learning management systems on the web. Our LMS will function in tangent with our video content library, offering testing on each lesson and collecting the test data for later use. The individual data will available to schools or parents to review on their child/student.

What’s your traction been like thus far?

We truly in startup mode. We launched our website on August 15 of this year. Currently we are giving away more trials than we are receiving revenue. Since September we’ve been giving away 90 day free trials to several smaller private schools. We have 3 public schools who will, through the PTA, begin giving away 90 day trials in January. We currently have around 300 customers using on a monthly basis. We’ve increased the number of customers using our site each month since we launched. About 50% of our early customers came from the homeschool market and that market segment continues to grow with our site. In fact we have two large homeschool websites that have endorsed our website and have posted links to skubes.com as a resource.

We have 6 currently and should have two more by January 1st. They are 9.99 and we average about 30 books sold a month but we expect that to increase with advertising on our website.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started Skubes?

I think one of our big mistakes was not beginning business operations until we had all our funding, which we never obtained. We lost about 8 months waiting instead of getting started during the pitch process. If we were doing it all over again we would have begun bootstrapping it while searching for funding. It might have even helped find funding because we would have been pitching a functioning operation instead of an idea on paper.

What’s a hypothesis that you’ve had that has failed? And how did you respond?

Early in 2011, I strongly believed that it would be easier to sell an idea to angel investors that was unique and had a market that was wide open. The reality is it’s easier to find backers to start the next facebook than it is to find investors for the first widget. The fact is consumers that are already spending money or time on a business/service are considered much easier to move to a similar business/service. Investors want faster returns, which makes it harder to convince them that you will create a brand new market and convince a brand new market segment to spent time and money on it.

As a successful entrepreneur for the past 20 years, I understood that we had to respond by bootstrapping the startup of the company. My partners and I needed to show investors a better picture of what we were proposing and to allow for some measurable success, through customers support and/or attention from larger companies. Responding in this way has made all the difference.

What’s your favorite startup in Atlanta? (Besides your own!)

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What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is the creation of something new and watching it rise from nothing to something. Its the feeling you get from having a good work ethic and seeing that ethic payoff. When I was in college I would work framing houses in the summer because I could work on my tan and it paid well. You would start out with a slab of cement and by the end of the first day you’d see the bottom floor of a structure and by the end of a week you’d see the frame of a house. You could see it coming together and turning into a house. And you’d feel proud of what you created. I feel this way about building a business.

I started my last business in 1997. In the first 2 years we were 3 employees in a 600 square foot office. But by making the right decisions, making our customers happy, we grew 3 more times in 12 years until we were in a 3,000 square foot office and we continued to grow until it was sold.

What’s your favorite local sports team?
Atlanta Braves/Falcons

If your company were an animal, what would it be and why?

We’d be an owl. I have this picture in my head of an old wise owl, with glasses on teaching how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. But still small and fast enough to react and make changes to our business, even if it means changing directions.

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