Eliot Knepper: Texas Is a Certainly a Business Friendly State. From Tax Incentives to Actually Finding Affordable Office Space. Additionally When It Comes to New Technology Especially Austin Is the Place To Be

Eliot Knepper of Mnemonic AI .

Tell us about yourself?

Eliot Knepper is CEO and Co-Founder. In addition to running the day to day business affairs of the Company, he uses his extensive international career in marketing to brand their technology and bring Mnemonic AI products to market.

Mr. Knepper as CMO for Rising Media, has built a successful marketing team, developed the company’s sales strategies and brought significant profit to the bottom line.

He has overseen conferences in the EU, UK, and the Americas. During his tenure at Rising Media he gained extensive insights from panelists and speakers as it relates to how machine learning affects marketing.

This knowledge and best practices will be implemented in Mnemonic AI. Prior to joining Rising Media, Mr. Knepper was the project and marketing manager for a US based venture capital firm and the assistant to the Management Board of an International Marketing Agency.

Mr. Knepper received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Sunderland. In his leisure time, he spends his time with his dog and family in the mountains or on his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you? 

You need to be patient, focused, and persistent when you have a goal or idea. You can dissect your plan into sizeable pieces to not become overwhelmed.

You must listen carefully to your network’s thoughts and take some words for granted. Make changes fast and test them on a small scale, so evaluate which assumptions and adjustments make sense.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Test your assumptions as quickly as possible! Please don’t assume that the market needs your product but find proof. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable resources.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

There will always be times when the balance is disrupted. The challenge is to return to the balance as soon as possible not get stuck in being overwhelmed.

When you run a start-up it is very hard to have a clear structure on workload and timing. Therefore is is crucial to integrate small portions of Me-time such as 15 minute Yoga in the morning or a quick run after you worked for 6 hours straight.  

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

I am a marketer and have always loved the idea of customer intelligence which is 100% free from human bias but lacked analytical capabilities.

I remember spending countless hours in meetings with other peers trying to find common ground regarding customer understanding based on our experience and assumptions.

You probably know the situation when you have ten different people with ten different opinions in the same room – it is overwhelming and extremely time-consuming.

When I first met my technical co-founder Phil who worked in the machine learning space for over a decade and shared my pain, I never thought this would lead to an active and successful business.

But when the day came when he called and said that he had figured out a way to generate customer intelligence, especially data-driven personas fully automated, I knew that we were on to something.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

The insights are fully automated without any manual work and delivered within a few days. For decades, generating comparable insights often took months and consumed vast resources.

Additionally, we use internal and external data sources as input for our AI which provides a holistic view on the market. We invested heavily in the psychological component of customer analysis, which is extremely valuable to our clients. Something that no other companies offer.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

The absolute fundament is creating a clear understanding of your customers. Without it, your marketing and sales endeavor are shorts in the dark, and you will burn through the funds in no time.

Apart from proper market research and competitor analysis, you should run different ad campaigns with small budgets to see what works.

Try to go as granular as possible when setting up your target audience. Focus on one segment at a time, test your assumptions and then move to the next.

Try to keep it short and sweet when talking to prospects. For me personally, three books helped us a lot to sort our thoughts in the beginning:

The lean startup by Eric Ries Nobody wants to read your sh*t by Steven Pressfield Building a story brand by Donald Miller A consistent and topic-focused content strategy is absolutely critical when starting out.

Especially in the beginning, funds are limited, and maintaining a blog is the first step to growing your audience organically.

By writing articles, you not only generate content but also allows you to become familiar with the topic and develop confidence when talking about it.

Additionally create case studies to download to grow your email list and guide the first prospects through the sales funnel. One last thought:

Do not pay for small events that promise to put you in front of C-level executives. These are not the right people to talk to in the beginning. You need to identify topic experts that instantly understand how your solution helps to solve a problem.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

Certainly understanding how larger corporations work. Getting a large key account is extremely valuable for a startup because it ensures a steady cashflow for a period of time.

But corporations work slow and in silos and it is sometimes hard to make progress. As a startup you are used to rapid turnarounds and this certainly wont happen with corporations. How to overcome it? Well, with patience and finding a balance of continous follow ups.

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?

Texas is a certainly a business friendly state. From tax incentives to actually finding affordable office space. Additionally when it comes to New Technology especially Austin is the place to be.

We have so many neighbours that moved from Silicon Valley to Austin for the given reasons. Additionally, Texas invests heavily in public schools, more than any other state, that will not only help to attract new young talents but also allows you as a founder to create a good work life balance for your family.

Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?

If you don’t like the heat and want to go skiing on the weekends you are in the wrong place.

Texas has a pretty diverse population. How have you found the quickly changing demographics have impacted your business? Have you got new opportunities? Managed to expand your business into new areas?

Diversity always leads to opportunities and to receive fresh continuous inputs. Especially over the past years Austin attracted founders from all over the World and you can certainly feel the inspiration that comes with it.

It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?

Politics made Texas such a business friendly place and therefore of course, we see the advantages every day.

I have the feeling though, that Texas’s administration in not prepared with the rising immigration. There is a massive backlog due to Covid but the politics need to make sure that it sets the foundation to deal with the incredible rise of companies.

With rising prices across Texas (and the US as a whole) have you been impacted? Do you have a plan for dealing with inflation going forward?

I think everybody in the World has to deal with this problem at the moment and only time will tell if the government plans have the desired affects.

Frankly for our business the inflation is positive because it is an additional trigger for organisations to offer solutions that are tailored to their clients and meet their exact needs. To create this tailored message and offer they need to have a crystal clear understanding of their clients, that we can provide.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?

Becoming the primary company for customer intelligence, and generate enough revenue to invest in something more positive and sustainable than building a rocket and fly to Mars.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

We dont bite – just contact us via LinkedIn or drop us an email! We have various articles and videos about customer intelligence, so feel free to go through them and send us your questions and thoughts.

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