Inc. magazine has a habit of picking startup winners as part of their annual “30 Under 30 World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” list. Santiago Jaramillo and his Fishers, Ind.-based mobile apps company Bluebridge made the list before announcing $2.8 million in investments and major expansion plans, including a new headquarters and up to 199 new jobs. Perhaps former college classmates turned co-founders Peter SerVaas, Eric Jiang, and Ilya Rekhter will have the same kind of success now that their transportation technology startup DoubleMap has officially received Inc.’s “cool pass.”
Interestingly, both Bluebridge and DoubleMap won TechPoint Mira Awards right before they grabbed Inc. magazine’s attention. Is Inc. scouring this blog for stories on the next big thing coming out of the Midwest? We can’t say for sure, but it’s probably a good idea (wink)!
I caught up with co-founder and CEO Ilya Rekhter, who is currently in Israel on business, and asked him some questions via email about what it’s like to be named one of the World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs with his partners Peter and Eric.
QUESTION: How did Inc. end up choosing DoubleMap for it’s 30 Under 30 list?
ANSWER: The judges didnt reveal their criteria to us, but I felt that our bootstrapping strategy set DoubleMap apart from many other groups. Bootstrapping provided us with full creative control, which allowed us the freedom to develop impactful features like voice announcements for visually impaired riders rather than building things based solely on the financial return.
Q: What kind of reaction did you get from customers and the public when DoubleMap appeared on this prestigious Inc. world’s coolest list?
A: Many of our clients referred to their systems as being from “the dark ages” when we pitched them. It’s great that many of those same customers read the Inc. article and now get to brag to their transit peers about being on the cutting edge with DoubleMap.
Q: Has being part of the 30 Under 30 had an impact on your business?
A: Several prospective clients have mentioned the Inc. article as one of the reasons they took a meeting with us, so we’ve definitely felt an impact. I met with a major Silicon Valley employer — an iconic tech brand — just last week for a final round interview as part of establishing our business relationship with them and all five people from their team had read the article.
Q: What’s next for DoubleMap?
A: We’re really focused on expanding the ways we help transit. Our historic focus has been on helping riders catch the bus, but we see big opportunities in helping with the route planning process and using new technologies (i.e. Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc) to make fare collection a more seamless process.
WATCH VIDEOS from Ilya’s Tech Rising Star win and last year’s Mobile Tech Award and Tech Startup of the Year from past Mira Awards: