Entrepreneur Andrew Ginzberg was encouraged to participate in the CTNext Entrepreneur Innovation Awards by a University of Connecticut professor. Since then, he has worked with a variety of mentors and startup resources in Connecticut’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to launch his startup, LOKI, LLC.
LOKI was a finalist in the 2017 Entrepreneur Innovation Awards, a pitch competition where Connecticut-based companies and entrepreneurs present their innovative project ideas to a panel of entrepreneurial experts for an opportunity to win $10,000 awards to help support business growth
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: What was your motivation for launching the startup?
ANDREW GINZBERG: There is a disconnect between the people tuning in to watch live events and the actual events. We now live in a virtual world, but the virtual experience from one perspective is not equivalent to the visceral feeling of actually being there. LOKI aims to fix this.
IDH: When did you launch?
AG: LOKI was created in kind of a “group independent study” through UConn’s Digital Media and Design program. As the idea continued to take shape, we realized the potential positive impact the platform could have in the way millennials watch and understand current events. We are now almost finished with developing the first version of our first mobile app. We are going to begin a private alpha launch in the next few weeks for individuals who are impassioned by what is going on in with the media right now and want to be innovators of change.
IDH: What makes your company unique?
AG: Every media company in the world maintains control over the creation and curation of information. This creates a black and white filter between viewers and reality. LOKI removes that filter and lets people see the full spectrum.
IDH: How did you become aware of the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards?
AG: I heard about the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards this past summer right after I graduated from UConn. Through one of my professors, I was fortunate enough to get connected to Douglas Roth, Director of Investments at Connecticut Innovations.
I pitched a very early concept of LOKI to Douglas. He was intrigued and recommended we put further work into development and, when we expanded the idea, apply to the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards. This is exactly what we did.
IDH: How any other Connecticut startup resources help to shape your business?
AG: We met one of our biggest mentors, Eric Knight, through the Entrepreneur in Residence program at reSET in Hartford. He has been a phenomenal aid. Kevin Bouley, the CEO of NERAC, runs a program called XcellR8, which allowed us to practice our pitch and make great networking connections. And we are working with the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at the UConn School of Law, which is helping us with all of our IP needs (patents and trademarks) for free!
IDH: Tell us something we don’t know about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and launch a startup.
AG: Being an entrepreneur really comes down to having belief and a having a great team. You have to truly believe your product or idea is special, because a million different obstacles will get in your way, and if you don’t believe in your product, you are not going to be willing to face those obstacles.
And you need to have a group of people who all share this belief. I am fortunate to have an incredible team. I have complete faith and trust that each of my guys will put the interest of the group over themselves. I couldn’t imagine getting as far as we have without having such a collaborative, talented group devoted to this project.
IDH: What’s the biggest challenge your company has faced as a startup?
AG: The biggest challenge we face on a day-to-day basis is being able to accept the fact that, at any given time, anything we build could completely change or disappear. Because we are entering into a very experimental field, almost everything we do is trial and error. This means that we will dedicate a great deal of time to a project just to find out it will not work or no longer be needed. Having the drive to build 10 different versions of one thing is a challenge we constantly encounter.
IDH: Where do you see your company one year from now?
AG: LOKI is going to change the way people get updated on current events. Whether it is sports, entertainment, or politics, once people experience LOKI, they will never read or watch the news again.
To learn more about LOKI or join the startup’s private alpha launch, visit loki.live. At the bottom of the page, enter your email address and press the “BE LOKI” button.
Interested in learning more about 2017 Entrepreneur Innovation Awards winners and finalists? Read our interviews: