Tech Twurl granted the TIC access to its growing business in November of 2014 and answered a few questions about how it was conceived, who they are now and where they think they are going….
Usman Majeed is the CEO and founder of Tech Twurl, an online electronics buyback service. Tech Twurl allows customers to sell their electronics for cash and has had press coverage in prominent media outlets such as Business Insider, PCMag, and Xconomy.
TIC: Who had the idea for the business, how did you get it started, and how did you find out about the TIC?
Usman: The idea for the business started out in 2010, a friend of mine sold things on eBay and wanted to make an eBay store and I thought why not make it a website instead? We got started by pooling together around $5k to cover the development and startup costs. I initially heard about the Hatch/Spartan Innovations and while working there for several months we needed to get an office to handle physical inventory. Naturally I was referred to the TIC which is right next door and we ended up buying an office there.
TIC: Was there anything you wish you would have known about starting a business when you first began?
Usman: Of course! If I could go back in time I would tell myself before I started to build a purely digital product, handling physical inventory requires meticulous details, time and cost. I would also recruit a team the moment I started. The success of a startup increases when you have more than one mind working on the project. I would also have started networking much earlier on, a friend recently told me, "Your network is your net worth".
TIC: What is something that sets you apart from other businesses like yours?
Usman: Currently we are developing two new features that will give us our competitive advantage. The first one is called Trade In Trade Up which will allow customers to buy phones from our website and send in their old phone to act as a rebate/discount on their purchased phone. We are also working on developing a mobile app which will have proprietary diagnostic features to monitor your phone condition and give you instantaneous price quotes as well as track if it is broken.
TIC: Where would you like to see yourself in a year?
Usman: I would definitely like to see myself working on Tech Twurl full time in one year. I also see us being able to secure some seed funding for the business to help scale our business and gain strategic partnerships with larger companies. In addition, I'd like to see the team expand and fill in some positions that are missing in our company as well as be able to expand our operations across the country.
TIC: Do you have any suggestions for new startups or existing entrepreneurs?
Usman: My suggestion for new entrepreneurs would be firstly if you have an idea, make sure you are extremely passionate about it. Do your due diligence in your niche and maybe sit on your idea for a bit while you do some customer discovery. This way you can separate the infatuation from actual passion for your idea. Once you have the passion, immediately starting developing a prototype, recruiting a team, and begin networking. Make sure you also organize your time and create a schedule when you start out as it will make it easier to progress in the future that way. For existing entrepreneurs, depending on the stage you are in, I would suggest trying to build your sales channel and marketing strategy if you already have an MVP. Try to bootstrap with pitch competitions, grants, etc. as much as possible until the only thing keeping you back from scaling exponentially is funding.
Usman is currently a student at Michigan State University studying Computer Science. He is a passionate entrepreneur and enjoys learning about and meeting individuals in startups, computer science, and entrepreneurship.
Find out more about Tech Twurl at www.techtwurl.com