Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Manu Goffer, COO of CampusVR, located in Syosset, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
CampusVR creates moving, 360º virtual reality ("VR") experiences of universities, athletic facilities, and game day experiences to be accessed by prospective students, athletes, and alumni. Prospective students and athletes are immersed through VR (and non-VR) devices, and our clients are now capable of bringing the campus to them.
Universities may even hold "Live Over VR" sessions with students or athletes to create strong connections and drive enrollment. Our customers are colleges and universities, collegiate athletic departments, as well as alumni associations.
CampusVR experiences are unique. CampusVR has eschewed the basic point-and-click static tours to create more impactful experiences, thereby achieving longer engagement with users and leading to stronger connections helping to drive enrollment.
Tell us about yourself
We were already brainstorming about all the possibilities that VR offers, and then the original idea behind CampusVR emerged when co-founder Zvi Goffer was trying to get his children 15,13 interested in college. However, after visiting his alma mater's web page with them, it just didn't resonate with them. Images of buildings and a bird's eye view of the campus did not hold their attention. So Zvi asked because the technology exists, why wouldn't every school in America have a true virtual reality tour?
Motivation these days comes easy. I love coming to work. I get enormous energy when I hear client success stories. Whether it's a three-times returning admissions-focused customer telling me they got a 40% bump in admissions applications or a college basketball program telling me they had their best recruiting season ever utilizing our "difference maker" VR technology, these are always the highlights of my days.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest accomplishment at CampusVR is that we have created a product that provides a great benefit to everyone, from students and parents to the administrators themselves.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Constant pivoting and adapting to new vertices are required by any start-up. Originally, VR was mainly used as a 360º video on mobile phones or desktop computers. Then, the VR headset became very popular. We aimed for admissions and pivoted into sports. In our short 18-24 month age as a company, we have worked with many top-tier athletic programs such as Duke, Alabama, Maryland, and Auburn, among others. Next, we anticipate our new vertical will wade into tourism. All of this must, of course, be done along with, and not instead of, currently established and entrenched verticals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- BootStrap - Unless you are one of the lucky few who can command and attract massive investors, you must be prepared to work for the bare minimum and continuously pour time and money into the company if you expect it to succeed. I've watched many start-ups over-extend by depleting their funds through salary, expensive furniture, etc. Any money that comes in must be deployed to the neediest facets of business in order to ensure that it will not falter in the beginning years.
- Practice Patience- Commit to your plan and plow ahead through thick and thin. Understand going in that the slow days and long nights will be the most painful but are a trademark of even the most successful businesses. You must be willing to deal with instability in your life.
- Be Versatile- Keep your eyes and ears open for any changes necessary to your business, especially when they are telling you the opposite of what you thought you knew to be true.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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