(Photo by Flickr user CAFNR, used under a Creative Commons license)
Josh Detweiler started his first company 14 years ago at age 22. It was a publishing company he bought with government grants and a credit card.
Detweiler sold that company to a competitor in 2007 and transitioned into the finance industry. Then he moved his family to Hawaii (“Because it’s there,” he said) and launched a manufacturing business. But he still wasn’t satisfied with the type of work he was doing.
“Manufacturing sucks,” said Detweiler. “Never go into manufacturing.”
In 2010, he decided to settle on the tech industry. Specifically, as head of operations with social media company CrowdCloud. There, he found his focus.
“I finally figured out that what investors care about is users and revenue,” he said. “Everyone talks about product and team — that’s a given.”
Detweiler was able to fine tune his user acquisition skills when he moved to the New Hope, Pa.-based social network MeetMe in late 2012 as international director of product. “In about six weeks, we went from 200,000 new users to 800,000 new users per month,” he said.
That was enough motivation for Detweiler to get out and sate his entrepreneurial appetite once again. He founded AppJaxx — an Doylestown, Pa.-based agency comprised of user acquisition consultants and app devs, though most of its work revolves around the former.
Most of the startup’s clientele is either in New York City or Philadelphia. But that might soon change.
“A lot more of our attention has been turning to Delaware and away from Philadelphia,” Detweiler said. “I think what it is, is there’s a lot of activity happening in Delaware that wasn’t happening a year or so ago.”
Detweiler said that while the Delaware draw has always been tax-based, there’s a growing allure for smaller tech startups who feel comfortable in Delaware’s “friendly environment.”
But the number one reason why AppJaxx is turning it’s gaze to Delaware is because startups in the First State are, according to Detweiler, “scrappy.”
“The guys outside of Philadelphia and New York, these are the scrappy guys,” Detweiler said. “These are the guys who have to work for it. It’s not good enough to have a pretty face and a good pitch — that doesn’t work outside the city.”
Detweiler said that’s how his company works, too.
“We’re the David, not the Goliath,” he said. “We’ve found companies in places like Delaware, that’s how they feel, too.”
Detweiler said the best strategy for startups in areas lacking diverse venture capital is to start showing serious user growth. That’s the void AppJaxx hopes to bridge.
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