Tell us about yourself?
Will Sims – Founder & Chairman, Tru-Spot Technologies – A proud Military Veteran of the U.S.A.F. https://www.linkedin.com/in/will-sims-3aa88510/ An Experienced Founder with a demonstrated history of working in the interactive mobile (app) industry.
Tru-Spot Technologies, is an Augmented Reality company specializing in alignment with the ever-changing AI/AR/VR streaming platform and landscape for businesses and consumers.
My business experience includes 30+ years in strategic planning, project management, sales, marketing, communications, animation, media, screenwriting and independent film.
By way of Augmented Tech., Tru-Spot Technologies, provides an interactive fan experience like none other. Gregory Proctor – Co-Founder & President, Tru-Spot Technologies – A proud Military Veteran of the U.S.N. 2023 Multiple Myeloma Honored Hero Award – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6970770147229786112?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregory-o-proctor/
A seasoned 25+ year dynamic leader who understands business and the humans who power it, I have an uncanny ability to anticipate trends and see things others cannot.
Also Cofounder of Tru-Spot Technologies, my business partner and I have revolutionized augmented reality for online virtual seat purchasing, and immersive fan viewing (without the Oculus headgear, as we like to say) all from the comfort of home.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
Patience and Perserverance! Being an entrepreneur is definitely not for the faint of heart. For a number of years, I worked in Corporate America as an Human Resources Executive, managing H.R. Divisions.
The idea, the knowing of receiving a steady paycheck on a weekly basis can be quite comforting and provide a wonderful lifestyle.. However, with an individual who has a true entrepreneurial spirit at heart, it makes it very difficult to succumb to a job that you don’t have a passion for, on a daily basis.
Some people are perfectly fine with the steady paycheck and being employed, but to true entrepreneurs, this is a miserable existence.
Entrepreneurialship is about sacrificing income, finances, family time, in the short term, but receiving the fulfillment of walking in the Destiny or Purpose that you were created for, in the long term.
Once you begin to walk in that purpose, everything else will align itself as it comes to family, mental health, and the ability to spread positive energy toward others, and hopefully assist others along the way in acheiving their purpose in life.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Strap in, it’s going to be a long, tough journey, but in the end, it will be well worth the cost.
Don’t be discouraged by the thousands of “Wow, it’s really wonderful and cutting edge, innovative technology that your startup is using, but “No Thank You – We Aren’t Interested in Investing At This Time!””
The stats and reports that say less than 2% of Startups with Founders of Color receive financial investment, is definitely TRUE!
So, secure as much financial support from family and friends as you can, to use as financial support.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Having started a bit later in life, work – life balance has been very manageable. Both Founders are empty nesters, and therefore we are able to devote time and energy to continually build our company brand and presence.
What has really been challenging over the past year or so, is the Multiple Myeloma cancer diagnosis and chemo treatments for one of the Founders, who is now in remission.
And the other Founder experience the loss/death of a grandchild within the past year, so it has been very trying time the past couple years.
The two Founders are childhood friends, from the same neighborhood in a small town in Mississippi, and this relationship has sustained us along with our Faith, to continue to move the company forward, as we know our tech offering will be enjoyed by families, and sports fans of ages 18 – 65 primarily.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Tru-Spot Technologies…….. SIGHT….SOUND…..FEELING! ORIGIN – IDEA OF THE TRU-SPOT APP: Will Sims – During my Senior Year at Brandon High School (Brandon, MS), the idea was conceived after football practice.
One of the assistant coaches asked two other players on the team and me if we’d run the chains (or be part of the chain crew) for the Brandon Jr. High (Brandon, MS) football game that evening. Being dog tired after running sprints during earlier practice, I reluctantly agreed.
During that junior high football game that night, the referee called for a first down measurement. I remember saying to a teammate on the chain crew that we talked about technology advancing to the point of having household robots and flying cars by the year 2000.
One day, I hope someone invents a way to measure first downs by the computer or some laser type on the field. Give the fans in the stands an opportunity to witness up close the whole spot measurement process with the official! That dream never went away.
Later in life, like a parent taking my children to NFL games sitting in the cheap seats, watching the referees conducting first down measurements and wishing my kids and I could see the football measurement as it was taking place – up close – on the field – by way of a mobile phone or device. It’s a thought/vision that remained with me for 40 years.
The name TRU-SPOT is the only name that I’ve ever conceived for this dream for many years because the name says it all… the purpose of the app. And now, machine learning technology has developed to the level level of providing this feature.
So that is how the idea for computer and machine learning for first down measurement was conceived. Greg conceived the idea for the virtual seating aspect part of the app. ORIGIN – IDEA OF THE TRU-SPOT APP: Gregory Proctor – During the pandemic, the idea was conceived as I watched each professional & collegiate sporting season cancel because of COVID-19.
Rapidly, as the pandemic occurred, I discovered that being an avid NBA fan & concert goer, I would no longer be able to partake in these types of activities. Also, I begin to contemplate how the fans, team owners, and musicians/artists will play live without fans.
Realizing the potential for lost revenue and ticket sales, we began to brainstorm how to place fans into a stadium or concert venue seat virtually.
Initially, we conceptualized if you were to attend a Drake, John Legend, Beyonce, Adele, or Carrie Underwood concert in Toronto, Canada, by utilizing the Tru-Spot app, virtual seating technology Row 10, Seats 4, 5, 6, & 7 the experience would be interactive in a practical sense.
For example, when a fan purchases a seat in the upper deck, the view and interactive experience would be that of the upper deck seating, like the lower decks, courtside, or floor seating.
Another example is stadiums and concert venues could utilize our technology to fill the avoid seats, as well as double booking capabilities based upon limited capacity. Our technology is fully scalable and adaptive to any situation for any largely crowded arena – worldwide.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Lost revenue and ticket sales for mainstream sporting events and concerts have become a reality for franchise owners, arenas/stadiums, and fans. As well, fans at sporting events and concerts seek more than just a visit to the venue.
Tru- Spot’s “pure” fan engagement features the latest technological advances in AR/VR technology by way of immersive experiences such as unique premium suite experiences (to include double-booking of seats), virtual fan tailgates, fan chat options, pre-game & post-game access, up close and personal viewing experiences such as on field/court POV, while attending the venue on site, or in the comfort of home. Fan Engagement – “Event Day” features: https://youtu.be/C_0WKcIW1R8
As well, in an American football game, our patented 1st Down (Spot Meassurement) technology takes into account the chains -1st Down marker and the football itself, while simultaneously displaying shortage or successful results on the fan’s Tru-Spot mobile app.
Utilizing the 1st Down Chains with machine learning and distance measurement technology will be the way to preserve the integrity of the game as well as utilizing AR Technology. Some Traction concerning our fan engagement technology:
NFL Hall of Famer – Joe Montana – will consider investment and consulting – advisor role once additional funding secured. Mr. Montana reached out to us personally by phone.
Publicized personal review of Tru-Spot Tech. by Mr. Percy Miller (Master P) – Master P Reviews https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzr-I-uhRjY Memorandum of Understanding with Jackson State University (Historically Black College/University – Currently coached by Hall of Famer – Deion Sanders – JSU Football), & planned outreach to the additional 105 HBCUs.
Presently working with Indoor Arena Football Team – Mississippi Raiders for utilization of our technology for next year’s Indoor Football Alliance/Teams.
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?
It has been really difficult to secure any investment funding from Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists.
Mostly operating in a Pre – Revenue and build out of a Pilot, status, so it is very important to seek out potential customers and secure MOUs or partnerships with entities and organizations to strenghten investment appeal, if you have limited to no financial funding or operating capital.
Tru-Spot Tech. has a 30,000 fan base of followers through our social media platforms, so it is important to build your company brand through social media channels.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Probably the challenges of the lack of financial investment opportunities.
Less than 2% of startups with Founders of Color ever receive ample to non-existent financial support. It is primarily for this reason Greg and I have bootstrapped and provided self-funding for the development of a clickable prototype.
We still seek the assistance of an Angel Investor, or VC company which looks to invest in early stage tech startups. Also, the physical and mental challenges of one Founder’s battle with a Multiple Myeloma cancer diagnosis, stem cell transplant, now in remission.
The other Founder has dealt with the grief of losing/death of a grandchild. Persistence, Perserverance, Patience, and our Faith has kept us moving forward, as well as the tremendous support of our 30,000+ member fan base on our social media platforms.
What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in Texas over other states in the US?
Texas is arguably the next Silicon Valley hub for innovative startup companies. Tru-Spot focused its efforts in operating our startup in the State of Texas, and in an ecosystem that invites, encourages, and promotes likeminded tech companies to thrive in such an environment.
We believe the State of Texas is primed for our innovative tech offerings due to the love of sports, music, concerts, large scale events for the Professional, Collegiate, High School, and Junior league fan base.
Both Founders are Military Veterans, and this is a definite asset or positive, to continue to receive tremendous support from current and past military members and their families.
Are there any disadvantages of operating our business in Texas?
Lack of investment opportunities such as an Angel Investor, or VC Funding for early stage tech startups.
More specifically for Founders of Color. This is not just in the State of Texas, but other states as well.
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?
We are not affected by demographics, our target market is the sports fan or concert goer from ages 18 – 65 primarily.
Our business model is as diverse as it gets. Our tech can be utilized by anyone with smart phone or device which can access our mobile app.
It is often reported that, in Texas, politics and business are intertwined. Have you noticed this? Has it impacted your business?
Politics haven’t really affected our business model as of yet. When it comes to enjoying fan engagement and an augmented fan experience, our offering transcends different boundaries such a s political affiliations and gender or racial boundaries.
It’s about having fun, the total fan experience at a live event, or in the comforts of home.
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?
With our business model, we don’t see inflation as being a factor. Our mobile app downloads and fan offerings for subscriptions, will be in line with our competitors, and in many cases more afforable..
Our virtual experiences to attend concerts, sporting events, large scale venues will be priced much cheaper than the actual live event ticket price, to always present an appeal factor. This will be our model and guide as it pertains to pricing, going forward.
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years with your business?
For Tru-Spot’s name and logo, our brand to be National & Global recognized brand synonymous with fan engagement and immersive fan experiences at large scale live events and in the comforts of home.
To be recognized as providing unique premium seating and regular seating features using AR/VR technologies at arenas and stadiums Nationally & Globally. . Our 1st Down (Spot Measurement) Technology, company logo, and brand to be utilized at an American football game at the Professional, Collegiate, High School, & Junior league level, in honor of Military Veterans. .Merchandising – Our brand and sporting apparel to be as common as the name Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, Addidas. .
Further enhance our double seat booking technology for arenas, stadiums, large scale events. . Partner with an Investment Company – A Partner, who believes in our innovative tech., for the development of future iterations of our tech offerings.
Be financially secure enough to fund future startups with Founders of Color, to really move the needle and make a difference in this area.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
.Continue to be a part of the Tru-Spot Technologies movement, and support us via our social media platforms.
If you are a serious Angel Investor or a part of a Venture Capital Fund seeking to be a part of a cutting-edge, innovative tech company very recently rated as one of the top 101 most innovative startups in the State of Texas, please reach out to myself, or Co-Founder.
Will Sims, Founder/Chairman – [email protected] Gregory Proctor, Co-Founder/President – [email protected] Our company website – www.truspotar.com We are also located on all the popular social media platforms as Tru-Spot Technologies or Tru-Spotar.