Entrepreneur of the Week - Joshua Konowe

Pictured above: (from the left) Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Joshua Konowe, Steve Case, and Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey.

Joshua Konowe is a serial entrepreneur on his third startup. Prior to Uppidy (a CIT/GAP Funded company) he boot-strapped then sold both eAgent.com and BrandClick.com. Konowe grew up in Chappaqua, New York. He attended the University of Kentucky graduating with a liberal arts degree. He then returned to NY in 1996 after his studies and worked on Madison Avenue until late 2001 learning all things marketing, publishing and advertising related. In January of 2002, he became an entrepreneur with his first venture and never looked back. Konowe also consulted for Arrow Electronics (Ticker Symbol: ARW) for the better part of 2 years. Primarily helping the eCommerce group with all of its successful digit marketing and conversion strategy ending in 2011.

Known for having a keen eye on trends, marketing and now mobile, he has morphed his digital and media expertise of the past into someone who can execute quickly as a CEO.

Konowe is a father of a very precocious 6-year old named Gen. In his spare time he enjoys running, travel, all types of food, reading about history, meeting new people and plans on completing his first half marathon this Spring in 2013. In high school and college, he was a very competitive 3-sport athlete playing football, baseball, and soccer. Prior to that a competitive Gymnast. Since hanging up his helmet and cleats, Konowe now enjoys skiing, cross training races, and anything that involves spending more time with his son and family.

CIT: Tell us about your current venture.
Uppidy lets everyone store, search and make portable their text/sms messages. The company has stored over 25 million texts from tens of thousands of devices and plans on rolling out premium services in a matter of weeks for businesses and end users alike. 

CIT: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Newton said it best: A body in motion tends to stay in motion. In the beginning it is how you have to run your business. Pivots (or failures as they should more accurately be called) are normal. You also learn from them a lot more than you do from success, so welcome the, "whoops that didn't work" moments. Be relentless about numbers, math and less about feel. Feel can get you in a lot of trouble because you feel good one day and then bad the next. Feel is not how you should make any large decisions. Rely on math, there is reason it translates across all languages, countries and is easily understood by the buyers of your product or service.

CIT: What events/meetup groups are essential for startups?
Lean startup is a great place to begin. The wonderful part of DC is you have a ton of nighttime activity to get started with and to grow into. See Meetups and Peter Corbett for help in this arena.

CIT: How important is collaboration and knowledge sharing to you?
Massive! I think if any entrepreneur believes they get there on their own merits alone they are lying or crazy. We all need help, we all need cheerleaders and we all need aid from peers or those who have done it before. It's also a great way to make sure you don't screw up prior to getting to a good place with your business. I absolutely, do this a lot.

CIT: What makes Northern Virginia’s tech scene unique?
Joshua: It is unique in the sense that is it is larger than anyone realizes. A lot of great people are hidden away in a desk at SAIC, Boeing, Raytheon or some other defense related company and rightfully so. But it also means there is a ton of talent and it’s vastly cheaper to hire those folks here vs. a place like Silicon Valley. I also believe that NOVA is a great place to live, work and raise a family. Unlike some other parts of the country where the tech scene does not necessarily equal an all around good standard of living, NOVA can clearly chest pound about its place in the universe.

Contact Information
Joshua Konowe
Co-Founder and CEO, Uppidy