Startup Success: Taking technology to hotel rooms
Sometimes inspiration is right in front of you. That’s how it happened for Stonington native Matthew Gillen.
Gillen loved using his family’s Google Home smart speaker and home assistant. He also had worked at a local hotel. The idea for Hotel Helper, Gillen’s first voice app, was a no-brainer.
With his app, the smart devices could be installed in hotel rooms to enhance the guest experience and support front desk staff by serving as a 24/7 concierge.
Gillen reached out to friend Ryan Forana for his technical expertise and together the two created Voxion. Even more impressive: both just graduated from high school. Gillen is a member of Ella Grasso Technical High School’s class of 2018, where his focus was information systems and technology; Forana is a recent graduate of Stonington High School.
Working on the technology side of the business comes easy to these two millennials. However, they also needed to learn about how to start and run a business.
Fortunately, Gillen heard about the North American Tech Tour. Sponsored by the Ignite program of Thames River Innovation Place and Crossroads Venture Group, the Results Junkies’ North American Tech Tour recently made two stops in Groton: a single day in October 2017, and three days in May 2018.
Results Junkies is headed by entrepreneur and investor Paul Singh. During each trip, Gillen was able to meet one-on-one with Singh, and to attend group sessions.
“Paul really shifted our thinking and made me commit to the business in a new way. He provided guidance on how to run a successful startup and helped us figure out how to develop a sales process,” said Gillen.
“He told us to make 200 calls every day,” said Gillen. “The targeted action is giving us massive results. It really is working for us.”
While Voxion is preparing to pitch for their first round of investment funding, its founders are moving into a new arena: partnering with advertising agencies to create custom apps for their clients.
“Voice apps are the future,” said Gillen.
NPR and Edison Research released data showing that U.S. households have acquired 118.5 million smart speakers through 2018 — up 78 percent from 2017.
As this young company works to build its brand, grow revenue and hire additional employees, things are looking good.
“The sky is the limit.” said Gillen.
Emma Palzere-Rae is the Ignite Program Manager for Thames River Innovation Place. If you are an entrepreneur looking for support, visit IgniteThamesRiver.org for information on events, programs and resources.
Who: Matthew Gillen, co-founder
Founded: Spring 2018
Featured Resource: Results Junkies and its North American Tech Tour — https://www.resultsjunkies.com
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