Elevator Pitch: Proxima

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Sebastian Pedavoli, co-founder of Proxima.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Proxima develops software that engages users with content that is relevant to where they are and what they are doing in a particular moment.

We focus on three major areas including events, enterprise and digital signage. Our events platform allows any company to manage the full event cycle from ticketing to event information and guides, event content and agenda, and post-event analytics. We help large enterprises build custom software to solve business challenges such as mCommerce and custom integrations; and our signage platform gives businesses the ability to display engaging content remotely.

Our software is all about creating rich user experiences based on user's’ surroundings.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

We bootstrapped our software product from the very beginning. In order to build our software platforms around events and digital signage, we have tested our product in high calibre Enterprise projects. These projects have allowed the software to be perfected, the IP to be built within the business, the market to be appropriately tested and it has ultimately allowed us to scope the product before it is built and taken to market rapidly. This approach has allowed us to be agile and take on new opportunities.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

We have never pitched to investors. Instead we have used the Enterprise projects we work on to build, test and develop what we do. This has resulted in a high quality product for events and digital signage that can be easily replicated and implemented cost effectively, rather than building a platform for one-off creative projects.

At it’s core, Proxima is driven by engineering and beautiful design. Meticulous attention to detail and our obsession with sweating over the little things, has meant we have created an intelligent digital solution that allows consumers to change the way they engage with their surroundings.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

One of the biggest challenges facing our business and many others in the tech sector, is finding and retaining the right talent. In a country where the workforce is undeniably much smaller than the US and the rest of the world, it’s really tricky attracting workers that are the right cultural fit. Brain drain has certainly worsened in the past couple of years, and we are seeing a large chunk of our best Aussie talent jump ship to San Francisco and other major cities around the world. It’s vital that startups can offer that extra something that makes people want to stay in Australia, beyond a good salary!

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Calm, the meditation app. It’s vital to manage stress while you are managing day-to-day work and scrambling to get your product to iteration.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Unlike many startups, who have a board of investors, we put together a board of advisors who had mentored us to the point of starting the company, and they’re the people we’ve continued to trust.

Some of the best advice we received is to always know where you’re going beyond the present moment, to the next two, five or ten years. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut or become overwhelmed by what’s coming up in the pipeline. We’ve learnt to always carve out time to think about the future, otherwise you’ll have no control over it, or have the ability to shape how it happens.

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