Ryan Corry, President of Skillpics
An interview with Ryan Corry, President of Skillpics
1. What does Skillpics do?
Skillpics is an online community for people to network and showcase their skills through visual ePortfolios.
2. What inspired you to start this? What problem are you solving?
The idea came to me while I was launching my first business and struggling to find qualified help in the community. I realized that LinkedIn was not the tool for the next generation of workers who wanted to showcase their visual portfolios. There was an opportunity to capitalize on 18-24 year olds (LinkedIn’s smallest market segment and underserved audience), by creating a platform that allows them to market themselves effectively using visual-based content.
Skillpics makes networking and connecting to skilled labour, easier. Our platform enables job-seekers to share images and media to validate their skills and ability, while giving potential employers who are viewing their profiles, confidence in the job-seekers’ ability.
3. How long did it take you to go from prototype to launch?
Three years. It started with a drawing on a piece of paper, and led to further iterations as I validated the idea in the marketplace and conducted market research.
Market research included looking at who were my competitors, what were their weaknesses, what were the challenges that people were having with the current tool. This then led to networking and validating the idea with the target audience (testing what worked well and what didn’t).
I initially tried to build the platform with sweat equity, pivoted to a contract team (which I found to be too small), and then eventually hired a full development firm.
4. What are your greatest achievements so far?
Taking an idea all the way from paper to product! This is my greatest achievement because everyone has ideas, but few actually see it through to creation. Acting on an idea is challenging because idea execution costs money, time, hard work and constant thinking. Trying to create a business doesn’t happen overnight and you will constantly be challenged to give up.
I am proud that I haven’t given up on my idea - and because of this, I have been rewarded with amazing opportunities. These have included showcasing as an ALPHA Startup at Web Summit in Lisbon and as a finalist at Startup Calgary’s Launch Party this year.
5. What are your future goals for your company?
Our two immediate future goals are to: Expand into the USA, UK, and Ireland, and complete a capital raise to support this expansion, fulfil the market demand and continue building out our product.
Forbes predicts by 2020, 50% of the workforce will participate in the Gig Economy, through contract or freelance opportunities. Our big hairy audacious goal is to become the go-to platform for the gig economy.
6. How has Startup Calgary helped you so far?
Networking opportunities, education sessions, brand visibility and product validation. Specifically through networking events, mentoring sessions, pitching practice and startup bootcamps, I was able to refine my skills as an entrepreneur, and grow my list of quality contacts. If you want to discover the steps to take your business from launch to capital, the experience and connection with Startup Calgary is invaluable.
7. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary and Launch Party?
Give yourself time to prepare in advance, seek to understand your audience (who they are and their challenges), practice your pitch and be confident in your opportunity!
8. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?
Don’t stop listening to customer feedback. Constantly listen, pivot, innovate and create. Find the people and opportunities to help bring your product to life. Make sure the people you surround yourself with are not just talented, but also good people and hard workers.
9. Who do you look up to in the Calgary startup community? Which companies are doing cool things?
I look up to the entire community and the tireless work everyone is putting in to carve a new business landscape in our city. I see Calgary entrepreneurs as pioneers who are risking a lot because we believe in each other and our city.
However, if I had to pick one company, I would say VOG Calgary, because they are my contract development firm and have done a fantastic job with the Skillpics platform. They are hard workers, rapidly expanding, and are creating a strong service company in the Calgary tech scene.
10. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?
Nothing - it’s all a learning opportunity. If you dwell on what you "could" or "should" have done differently, you're wasting time and energy.
For more info, please visit: http://www.skillpics.com/
Published December 15, 2017