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Tampa Bay Startup Week: Demystifying Technology with Milind Bharvirkar

March 16, 2017

The third annual Tampa Bay Startup Week was held last month at venues in both downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay Startup Week brought together entrepreneurs to help them take their venture to the next level and give them the extra motivation they need to bring their entrepreneurial idea to life. Its purpose was to connect individuals on both sides of the bay with startup resources in the community and opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs.

On Day five of Startup Week, The Iron Yard hosted a founders panel to discuss the topic of “Demystifying Technology.” Leaders of some of Tampa Bay’s very own Startup Companies discussed how technology and coding play a part in creating, building, and succeeding in a startup. The moderator was Reuben Pressman, CEO of Presence. The panel was comprised of Rachel Carpenter (Co-Founder & CEO, Intrinio), Jody Haneke (President, Haneke Design), Chris Morancie (NetSynergy Virtual Solutions), Deborah Neff (Director of Operations, Sourcetoad Development Studio), and Elevate’s client, Milind Bharvirkar (President, Priatek).

The session kicked off with Pressman asking the panel what their favorite piece of technology was. Hearing the array of responses to this question was very interesting. Surprisingly, many of them used similar if not the same technologies. Some of the technologies were very sophisticated. Others named very popular collaboration technologies, such as Slack, a team instant messaging software. The most popular of all the technologies was mentioned by Bharvirkar who expressed that his “iPhone was by far the best piece of technology he owned.”

The founders were given the opportunity to discuss their startups and ways their products and solutions help them stand out from their competition. During the discussion, Bharvirkar discussed his company, Priatek, and how they were disrupting the advertising industry. Priatek designs and manages custom prize promotions for local and national businesses under its in2win brand. in2win promotions engage consumers through a network of interactive kiosks located in high-traffic locations, such as many of the malls in Tampa Bay. Consumers can also play promotions on Priatek’s in2win mobile app.

One of the ways they are disrupting the advertising industry is that with Priatek promotions, businesses promote their products and services, and only pay per consumer engagement. They pick their budget and the geographical areas they want to target. It’s a great solution for businesses with different sized marketing budgets. One of Priatek’s strengths is through their analytics. Clients receive comprehensive data analytics that reveal key insights about the success of their promotion.

There was no doubt that Bharvirkar’s startup has significant advancements in technology. However, he joked that his team “may not peg him as the most technical founder.” He encouraged other entrepreneurs to learn the skills that they can and then fill in the gaps with a strong technical team. Keys to having a successful technology startup is having a team of people who all have different skillsets. Bharvirkar also pointed out that it is important for everyone on the team to understand a company’s vision and for all the employees to be on the same page as to where the company is going and how they plan to get there. It took Milind seven years to build the perfect team. Bharvirkar’s employees are passionate about their technology and Priatek’s mission, which is to create a positive user experience while helping companies of all sizes advertise in a cost-effective way. While most of his team is local, he does outsource talent from California. He suggested that entrepreneurs “start small and build in phases so that they can figure out what’s working and what isn’t.” Bharvirkar hinted that his team and company is about to grow their footprint and are preparing for a national rollout over the next few months.

If you are a company looking to reach consumers, especially in malls, you should consider learning more about about Priatek and in2win.


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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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