“Build Relationships Not Accounts” The 5 Lessons I Learned Being a 20-Something Founder

I had the pleasure of interviewing Adi Patil, co-founder/CMO of Start It Up NYC.
Start It UP NYC is a media network site that shares the stories of the most game changing startups in NYC and how they are shaping our future. The parent company is Start It Up which provides tech and innovative startups with PR, Web Marketing, Content Creation, Web Dev and Video services.

Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?

I was born in DC but grew up living in India, Russia and the US. I went to school for Computer Science but got intrigued by the field of Marketing as Marketing started meeting Technology as a field back in 2011. I co-founded my first startup called Magnifier Marketing which ran web marketing and web-dev services for local businesses in the DMV area. I exited the company in 2014 when I moved to New York City. Three years later, the entrepreneur in me was ready for a second project. My friends Nico Hodel and Joshua Bryant Gainer worked on the idea of Start It Up with me and we finally launched the company in November of 2017. Eight months later we are prominent force in the Tech Startup community in New York.

Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our company has a unique model. We run a media site that shares the stories of talented NYC startups, our audience is primarily Startups, Talent and Investors. We want Investors to actually know a startups story besides technical details. We want to create jobs for real talent in NYC, the idea is to get them higher positions in smaller companies so they get more work experience as well as gain more knowledge to do well in this competitive space. For startups we connect them with literally anyone within our network they want to affiliate or do business with. We also run specialized PR/Marketing/Branding and development services for startups at low costs compared to the market to help them achieve all their goals in early or late stages. Our content is highly editorial and clean which is filling a void for the same in the content space on the web about startups at the moment.

Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?

We are building our own app which will be launched next year. Have recently partnered up with Ascent Conference in October which is this years biggest tech event on Pier 36 in NYC so we are extremely excited about the same. Also developing our folio for our Accelerator Program which will launch in 2020. So yep, there’s a lot to come from us!

Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I actually do not have a favorite book that teaches you business but my favorite book is CATCH 22 and it taught me early on that life is full of them. Once you learn how to deal with and get yourself out of “Catch 22 “ situations, life becomes easy.

Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

a. Never Give Up : You have to have enough saved up or generate enough revenue to pay yourself right from the beginning so you keep time by your side. Don’t hesitate to ask your family for support if you need to and teach them to have patience as well. Success requires continuous hard work, self belief and patience. Others have to believe in you too, if they don’t there’s definitely a problem.

b. Built Relationships not Accounts : I keep saying this but it’s the best way to put it. You can make some quick money collecting accounts but in order to have a long term business you need to build relationships with your customers. You also need to give them more than they ask for.

c. Transparency : Be transparent about your business which builds trust. Usually Small Businesses or startups are scared of talking about their flaws or mistakes. All fields now are complex and you need to look at every failure as an opportunity for growth. Your clients should know that you have the ability to help them bounce back from any kind of failure as you have done it for yourself before.

d. Network : This is the most important part, don’t only network for clients. Network for associations and affiliations. Success comes with continually building partnerships and all partnerships need not have monetary gains involved from the beginning.

e. Team is Everything : Build a successful Founding Team so you don’t need to hire more till you have reached your Product Market Fit. You are not going to make it alone. There has to be a team that believes in the cause and grows together.

Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I would love to grab a coffee, specifically at my favorite coffee shop — Cafe Reggio with Mark Thompson the NYtimes boss. Startups in New York deserve a column for specific attention. I would like to work on that column with a company with a huge reader base like NYtimes. Also switch focus back on editorial and not advertorial content for startups sharing more so stories like we do along with other info rather than X company raised Y amount being most of the headlines.

— Published on June 27, 2018