Pictured above: (from the left) Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Steve Case, Michael Prichard, and Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey
Michael Prichard is the Founder & CTO of WillowTree Apps, a boutique mobile apps design and development company, based in Charlottesville, VA.
CIT: Tell us about your current venture.
Michael: WillowTree Apps is a leading mobile apps design and developer who works with companies like Johnson & Johnson, GE, Barnes & Noble, Valpak and the NBA. We have grown to over 45 full-time people and were #479 on the Inc 500 2012 list. One of only two app providers to make that cut. All our work is done in-house, in our office in Charlottesville, VA; we do not outsource or offshore any of our work. We are also still growing and looking for top talent to join our team.
CIT: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Michael: 1) Believe in what you do as it is the only thing that will be there when things get tough.
2) It's all about the team. Surround yourself with smart, passionate people.
3) Keep focused, yet open to evolution.
CIT: What events/meetup groups are essential for startups?
Michael: Hang out at local meetups around your industry. It's where people that love what they do usually hang out.
CIT: How important is collaboration and knowledge sharing to you?
Michael: Hugely important. Our whole company is built on open collaboration and knowledge sharing. It is all about the team working together to improve. Remember, you can always get better and those ideas could come from anyone in the organization. Don't ever shut anyone out.
CIT: What makes your city's startup scene unique?
Michael: Charlottesville is a great town to build a business. We have the right combination of talent, education, entertainment and drive to grow strong companies. In fact, we are also extremely proud to be in Virginia and we hope to stay here forever.
CIT: Anything else you would like to add.
Michael: If you believe in something, go do it. Plan the best you can but until you take the first step it will not happen. And, no matter what, it always works out.
Founder & CTO of WillowTree Apps