Young Upstarts

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[Interview] Lockboxer CEO: You Don’t Need A Technical Co-Founder To Start A Web Business

We had the chance to ask Jenny Morehead, CEO of startup, some questions about starting up., for those not in the know, is an online service that allows you to track and value your personal effects or any kind of inventory.

Where did the idea for Lockboxer come from?

Morehead: Say you lost everything in a flood or fire, would you remember everything you had? How much it was worth? Where would you even begin? Well, this situation hit close to home when my sister and brother-in-law lost all of their belongings in a flood. That’s when the idea for Lockboxer, initially a home inventory solution, came about.

How did you find your technical team?

I called up all my friends who have websites or businesses and asked them how they did it. Then I asked them who they used and why they used them. After much research, looking through e-lance and talking to friends, I finally was put in touch with Uri from Pixafy who I am still working with.

How did you convey your idea to your technical team?

It was a collaborative process. The idea was around creating a home inventory solution. First I literally drew the wire frames out on paper, concentrating on the user experience for each page and how it would correspond to the online experience. Next, I used Balsamiq‘s software to draw more professional wireframes in order for the designers and developers to more efficiently work on the concept.

Did you pivot your product at all throughout the development of Lockboxer?

Yes. At first Lockboxer was designed to be a home inventory site, where you could find what your stuff is worth and create a list of everything you had just to be safe in case there was some sort of tragic event. However, through creating the website and surveying,  we ended up turning the website inside out making it much broader, which now enables users to also sell, record donations and create wish-lists.

What is a standard day like in the life of the Lockboxer CEO?

There really isn’t a standard day. One day I might wear hats for PR director, project manager, customer service representative, and sales director. It’s a lot of what is fun about entrepreneurship, there is certainly a lot of variety in each day.

Any words of advice for aspiring founders who are looking for a technical partner?

I’ve proven that you don’t need to be a techie, to have a technical site or service. Honestly, it’s all about talking to other people that have been in your position before and it’s about asking tons of questions, even if they sound dumb.

Next, make sure that you feel like you’re a part of the whole process. Actually do the jobs you’re hiring for and get familiar with the software and the terminology. Sure, I didn’t go and teach myself code in one night or design the entire site, but I did learn some of the basics, including the software, Balsamiq and from there, created the wireframes for the designers. I also participated in the marketing, sales and PR of Lockboxer and will continue to learn everything that I need to in order to make Lockboxer a success.

Lastly, it’s extremely important to have a system of checks and balances in place. I ended up hiring three interns and of those interns, I hired a security expert, tech strategist and SEO specialist. From there, we were able to see how secure the site is, what it needs and where it’s going. It’s very important to have other ears and eyes working alongside of you. Being a CEO in a start-up doesn’t mean you’re doing everything alone; it’s okay to ask for help. That being said, talk to everyone, network as much as possible; you never know when you might get an invaluable nugget of information.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Mike Batesole

    Great Article, I share the same passion as Jenny,  I am working on a start up to help families document and store important information. We partnered with Microsoft to develop a secure and easy to use app that will quickly allow people to create a home inventory and store other important information.  Our next version will be released in December 2011. Like Jenny, I am also not a real technical person, and I have found it very difficult when dealing with highly complex issues, such as security protocols and technology decisions, that even with the input of my CTO and Engineering partners,  I have wished I was more technical.  I am glad that things are working out for Jenny and that she is helping people protect themselves from loss.
    Mike Batesole, CEO