Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interview with an Entrepreneur - Tom Williams InnoGage

What is InnoGage?

InnoGage, LLC is the little company with a Big Voice – on its way to be the market leader in social media solutions for recruiting. InnoGage is grounded on the core belief that the onset of Web2.0 and Social Media makes it absolutely necessary for companies, colleges and organizations to innovatively engage (aka “InnoGage”) people in marketing and recruiting.

What problem does InnoGage Solve?

InnoGage solves a communication problem. In the college market, fifty year-old VPs of marketing and admissions are trying to figure out how to reach Web2.0 savvy 16 and 17 year-olds. Companies and organizations are trying to figure out how to use social media to make their recruiting efforts less expensive and more effective. We solve these problems by offering thought leadership through strategic management consulting and the implementation of public and proprietary web-based tools.

In short, we help institutions execute the right social media strategy to connect with people more personally, while improving efficiencies and driving out costs.

Where is the Company at its maturity?

InnoGage was founded at the end of 2006 in Chicago and then moved to Columbus shortly after its formation. We have three equity partners on the team: Tom Williams, Founder & President, Drew Dillon, Head of Marketing and Andrew Strader, IT Lead. We also have a group of developers in New Delhi whom we work with on a regular basis for outsourced IT work.

We have one web product selling in the higher ed. market, MyCollegeVid, which is a video sharing platform designed specifically for colleges. We have two more products in development, MyCollegeBlogger and MyCollegeIM. MyCollegeBlogger, our blog engine designed for colleges, is scheduled for beta release at end of October, 2008 and MyCollegeIM, a radical new spin on Instant Messaging, is on track for a beta release by the end of December, 2008.

Why did you start InnoGage?

I started InnoGage out of a combination of frustration and opportunity. Having worked in three multi-billion dollar companies, I grew weary of watching good people walk out the door while poor managers were promoted and protected by their internal political connections. I also came to the realization that I was much more of a risk taker than my peers, willing to work harder and stretch further than most. With my love for marketing and the onset of Web2.0, I saw a huge wave of opportunity and decided to get off the beach and grab my surfboard.

Tell us a little about your background

I have a bachelors degree in accounting from Ohio State and an MBA in marketing and management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. I am also a CPA – but I try to kept that quiet…please don’t hold it against me. I worked for KPMG, LLP in Chicago and two other multi-billon dollar companies before founding InnoGage, LLC during my MBA at Kellogg.

A little about yourself personally

I grew up on the west side of Cleveland in Elyria, Ohio. My father was a music pastor at our church and my mother taught first grade. As you can guess, money was not abundant in our home - but work ethic and character was. My family is made up almost entirely of artists and musicians. I began taking piano at Oberlin college at age 6 and grew up playing the piano, violin and singing. I credit much of my creative approach to business and problem solving to the influence of music and art in my childhood and young adult life. I also played ice hockey in high school and in intramural leagues at OSU and I enjoy bike riding, playing with my two boys and working out. My favorite book right now is Groundswell by the Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff at Forrester Research.

What are your aspirations for InnoGage?

My aspirations for InnoGage are to establish its dominance as the market leader in Social Media for Recruiting and to grow the company aggressively while maintaining quality and control. My hope is that InnoGage spurs innovation and new ways of thinking as well as adding jobs and revenue to central Ohio. Eventually, I would welcome the opportunity to sell InnoGage at the optimal time to the right buyer.

What would you like to tell our readers?

I would like to encourage all the readers who are trying to start their own companies to stick with it. I know what it’s like to want to quit every day. I know what it’s like to pass up lucrative job offers to barely make ends meet in pursuit of the dream. It’s the dream that makes us tick and keeps us working late into the night. It’s the dream that binds us together. Don’t quit on that dream.

I also want to challenge all the readers to get involved in Columbus. We have the opportunity to do something amazing here in central Ohio – to establish the silicon valley of the Midwest. Without an active tech community, we will never achieve our goals. Columbus has all the right DNA– from strong Universities to talented people to financial capital. It’s all here for the taking. Get connected, get involved and make a difference.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home