Mike-Charles Nahounou, Founder & CFO of TimePost, told Innovation Destination Hartford about how and why he launched his startup and how the company’s platform helps Connecticut entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses.
IDH: Did you always have an entrepreneurial drive?
NAHOUNOU: I would have to say yes. I have always been a driven, self-motivated, and passionate person since youth. I guess that sounds like some of the attributes that make up the entrepreneurial spirit.
IDH: How has your background prepared you to launch a startup?
NAHOUNOU: My background is filled with great trials and tribulations, which I embrace. Growing up in Hartford’s inner city, I was surrounded by temptations to take shortcuts in life that would ultimately lead to destruction or loss of freedom. However, my faithful and praying mother instilled in me the value of “walking straight” and knowing your purpose. Discovering and understanding my purpose eliminated the fear factor many of us are confronted with when starting a new venture.
IDH: When and why did you launch the company?
NAHOUNOU: I started TimePost in 2014 and have since been primarily engaged in research and development.
My desire to launch TimePost was largely contributed to frustrations I experienced from competing with the Goliaths of the world. They always had big budgets, while mine was anorexic. All I had was a burning desire for my brand to be heard, respected, and appreciated. Many entrepreneurs with quality products and services struggle to find their voice in a symphony of offerings. The TimePost platform will serve as a megaphone, leveling the playing field from a marketing and branding standpoint.
IDH: Describe the TimePost solution.
NAHOUNOU: The TimePost platform enables advertisers to affordably purchase digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising using any desktop or mobile device. From billboards to benches, DOOH media is the latest mass-reach medium that engages hyper-local audiences in public spaces.
IDH: How did you develop the business concept?
NAHOUNOU: Digital billboards are what inspired the concept. I always wanted to be able to use billboards and posters as a way to make my brand appear larger than life. What better way to capture attention than to have your logo and message greet thousands of captive audiences traveling up and down major interstates, waiting at bus stops, or walking through downtowns? Surely, you will have a fair chance of resonating with your target audience!
IDH: What do you do differently than other advertising companies?
NAHOUNOU: Our differentiating factor is hinged upon the belief that every entrepreneur should have access to an equal voice regardless of their budget size. In this way, it is the consumer who ultimately dictates what’s hot or not. As such, we took a gamble with our business model by restricting any one entity from monopolizing available digital real estate by purchasing all ads (which we call “tics”). Like Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
IDH: Have you been involved with any of Connecticut’s startup resources?
NAHOUNOU: Yes, I’m a member of reSET. The organization has a really good program I think all entrepreneurs should consider before jumping into the arena.
I believe it is important to be active in your startup community. After all, we have the ability to create and sustain new markets if we demonstrate a willingness to stick together and prioritize homegrown products and services. This has tremendous long-term benefits. There is enough success available for everyone, yet we are plagued with the idea that we have to fight over the last crumb. I hope to help trump this fallacy.
IDH: What are your company’s future goals?
NAHOUNOU: Our goal is to leverage our platform to gain access to at least 10% of all DOOH inventory in Connecticut. We will then make this inventory available at huge discounts for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses that wish to benefit from DOOH marketing. We also hope to be the go-to for startups, mom & pops, and first-time entrepreneurs willing to “test the waters” using our cost-effective DOOH marketing solution.
The flexibility in our advertising and pricing model mimics Internet and social media marketing. You can use TimePost in the same way you can easily launch and manage marketing and advertising campaigns via Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
IDH: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever given or received?
NAHOUNOU: The best advice I ever received was from my father, who recently passed away. He helped me understand the importance of separating friends, family, and business. He would always say, “Don’t do business with the person you know, do business with the person who knows.” This will forever be my guiding light.
Learn more about TimePost at www.timepost.tv.