We interviewed Pradux Founder, Alex Koblenz, to learn more about how he got the idea for the app and how he leveraged the unique capabilities of the Windows Platform when building it.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I was at a JAY-Z concert and wanted to know what he was wearing. I went home and searched it for hours but couldn’t find the answers I was looking for. So I decided to build something to solve that problem.
Tell us about your app.
We want people to be able to purchase what they see in the world. Pradux lets users shop the world’s largest database of styles worn by TV stars & celebrities as well as share their own style to earn cash & unique experiences.
What did you do before creating your company?
I was a trader at a hedge fund for about 4.5 years focusing on retail and technology. Before that I spent some time in Entertainment marketing at the NFL.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
We get great feedback via social media and email. People really enjoy what we are doing and the comments we receive confirms that. When we launched, we received a lot of great press. You never really know if what you are doing is going to work until it’s out in the wild.
Tell us about your funding history
We have raised about 600k to date from angel investors.
How many employees do you have? How many of them are developers?
1 Employee, 1 Developer
Why did you decide to build an app for the Windows Store?
It was a great way to expose our product to a new audience. 75 percent of our current customers are not using Windows.
How are you leveraging the unique capabilities of the Windows or Windows Phone platform?
Using the share charms in Windows 8, the user can send share items that they find on the site instantly with their friends. Also with the live tiles they can see the latest products being added to Pradux.
What advice do you have for a developer building an App on the Windows platform?
It’s great to work directly with Microsoft as they have tools to help market your product. In terms of monetization, our model works whether it’s on mobile or desktops.
Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?
In the beginning not much. We were introduced to BizSpark at our incubator a few months into it. I used the access to software and that was the extent of our relationship with Microsoft.
What do you think of the BizSpark Program and how has it helped you?
I think the BizSpark program is great. We were introduced to it originally at our incubator: Dogpatch Labs. I was able to take advantage of having access to various Microsoft products that allowed me to focus my attention on building our company.
Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
Microsoft has the resources and infrastructure in place that could benefit your company in the early stages that would otherwise be extremely costly.
What is the one piece of advice you have for young startups?
It’s an extremely long journey. There are a lot of ups and downs. So it’s important no matter how small, each day you can point to some type of progress you’ve made as a company. Take some time also to celebrate the successes as there will be plenty of failures. As an entrepreneur trying to create something from nothing, we are constantly pushing a ball uphill. It’s ok to sometimes look down at how far you’ve gone.