Checkmate Creations is working to “build experiences with today’s startups and tomorrow’s brands.” The company, which is also a startup, was founded in February 2015 by Quinnipiac University graduates Tom Nassr and Connor Croteau.
Chief Operating Officer Croteau studied biology and has a background in “how systems work.” He says he hopes this background will help in the future when tech and biology merge up. Nassr, who is the company’s Chief Executive Officer, majored in entrepreneurship and philosophy.
Croteau and Nassr launched and sold several startups while they were in college, says Croteau. Their first startup was an online platform for rating landlords and renting houses near campus. That app created a demand for rating neighbors. “People wanted to be able to anonymously text their neighbor to ask them to be a little quieter,” Croteau explained.
The app won awards in several competitions, including the 2014 “Dream it. Code it. Win it.” contest and the 2014 International Business Model Competition, which took place at Brigham Young University in Utah.
“Through that process, we really learned how funding works. It also helped us gain tech and networking skills,” says Croteau.
NETWORKING AND MAKING CONNECTIONS
Croteau says he and Nassr network with all kinds of individuals and organizations including startups, entrepreneurs and angel investors. They attend and organize events throughout Connecticut and New York.
“We organize the Meteor New Haven Meetup, a monthly event where we congregate talented meteor developers and host presentations and social opportunities,” Croteau added.
HELPING STARTUPS GET STARTED
“Based on our success with creating startups, we realized: we’re doing cool stuff, let’s help others,” Croteau said.
Croteau and Nassr designed Checkmate Creations to help other startups get off the ground. “We wanted to help new companies and individuals hone in on what they want to build,” says Croteau. “We help them target a minimal viable product. Sometimes a design can fail when it is too bloated.”
Checkmate Creations provides strategy and planning, branding development, search engine optimization, marketing, custom applications and web and development. “We specialize in Meteor.js development, which cuts minimum viable product (MVP) time in half for new companies and larger brands looking to create iterative prototypes,” Croteau noted.
Since the company launched, Checkmate Creations has worked with more than 100 startups in some capacity, from small jobs to full-blown applications, Croteau emphasized.
“We designate specific developers to specific startups,” Croteau explained. “We want to be their tech team. Our long-term goal is to continue to grow with our startup clients.”
Checkmate Creations has a team of eight employees, including designers, developers, social media experts. The company is currently working out of the 1253 Whitney co-working and culture center in Hamden, CT. Croteau says they have plans to move to New Haven by the summer of 2016.