Why data should be at the forefront of every startup - Technical.ly

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Apr. 22, 2016 12:31 pm

Why data should be at the forefront of every startup

Weyn founder Ida Byrd-Hill always asks fellow entrepreneurs one straightforward question: What data is powering your business?

Data is everywhere.

(Photo by Flickr user Lauren Manning, used under a Creative Commons license)

As entrepreneurs, ideas serendipitously pop into our heads. We massage and grow these ideas into life. But sometimes we fall in love with the idea that is destined to fail, as the idea has no data to substantiate its ability to generate revenue.

Thanks to the internet, big data is all around us. Yet, often we fail to consult it.

When I started Weyn, LLC in February 2015, I was focused on creating a direct-to-consumer mobile financial literacy game that would educate women and people of color. Everyone thought I was crazy! It is supposed to be common knowledge that mainly Caucasian teenage boys play video games. Truth of the matter, the data, from a wide range of sources, shows teenage boys only comprise 26 percent of video game players. The bulk of players are 26-54 years of age, and women make up nearly 50 percent of that population.

Ironically, as my data sources have grown, so has funder interest. With data, I answered the question, “What makes our games different?” There are 1.6 million apps in Google Play Store and 1.5 million in Apple Store. Rather than fight for visibility through the sea of apps, we decided to sell our app to corporate America, which is experiencing a significant loss of profits annually due to employee financial stress. While research shows financial education can solve financial stress, the employees who are the most stressed often do not attend these workshops.

So we decided to create a subscription based robo-financial wellness advisor with fun-to-play mobile economic strategy games to draw individuals into financial education.

We completed our first prototype, My Jewel Empire, December 1, 2015. In three short months, we won inclusion in the Core Labs Game Accelerator, eMerge Americas and Techweek pitch competitions. We are having discussions to receive our first round of seed funding.

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Our past few months have been quite fruitful thanks to overwhelming large sources of data substantiating our idea. That’s why I ask every entrepreneur, “What data are you relying upon to power your business?”

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Ida Byrd-Hill

Ida Byrd-Hill is the CEO of Weyn, LLC. She spent 11 years as president of Uplift, Inc., a nonprofit idea incubator, 10 years as a wealth manager and five years in human resources and executive search. Byrd-Hill is also the creator of the first cyber-blended alternative high school catering to adjudicated youth in America, Hustle & TECHknow Preparatory High School.

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