Ricardo Grant always wondered why it was so difficult for the women in his life to find what they were looking for when it comes to their hair care needs. And when they did find what they were looking for, be it a stylist or a bundle of weave, the cost was not cheap. The black hair industry was simply complicated. But he didn’t stop at wondering. He did the research and co-founded CrownMob, a tech startup that connects stylists and barbers with clients.
The premise of the mobile based platform that focuses on serving the ethnic hair market is simple. You register as either a creator (stylist or barber) or as a general user (client looking for a stylist/barber). Then, it allows consumers to connect with what they are looking for in their area. The app has launched on November 13th of this year in Cincinnati, Washington DC, Chicago, Atalanta, and Oakland.
Here is our quick chat with Ricardo about his startup venture and the biggest lesson he has learned.
BlackExcellence: What inspired you to create this app and company?
Ricardo Grant: As a lifetime consumer of the Black Hair Industry, I’ve always noticed voids that could be eliminated by technology. Everyone around me from friends/family and coworkers were also struggling at that point I noticed some real pains and decided it needed to be disrupted.
BlackExcellence: How did you go about finding funding?
Ricardo Grant: We applied to many of the top tech accelerator programs around the country and landed a slot in the 6th cohort of Uptech Ideas a top 30 accelerator in the country with a $50,000 investment. I would say we applied to nearly 30 or more and was accepted into maybe less than 10%. The power seems to be in the volume, the more you apply the greater the chance very similar to colleges and universities.
BlackExcellence: What was the biggest challenge with launching?
Ricardo Grant: We launch Nov 13th of this year (2017) the biggest challenge I would say is revolved around having realistic expectations about everything from development to going to market strategies. It’s all a learning curve and never goes away but it does get better over time.
BlackExcellence: What’s the best advice you can give to somebody starting up a tech company?
Ricardo Grant: Throw yourself in the water and learn how to swim. What I mean by that is I use to be one of those entrepreneurs that thought my plan had to be perfected prior to jumping into the execution phase. What I have learned is if you take 100% of the time planning and trying to perfect something that will never be perfect you will never get started.