(Nationwide) Au’loni Magazine got a chance to catch up with the co-founder of the wildly successful drinking invention, The Snapshotr’s Andrew Levin. The start-up has gotten viral social media buzz exceeding hundreds of thousands of YouTube promo views, massive national press, and recently doubling their KickStarter campaign in less than a week.
AM: How did you come up with the idea for it?
Andrew: We came up with the idea in college, where going to fraternity parties was a weekly affair. It was at these parties that I noticed how messy and wasteful the standard two red cup method was for taking shots. I thought that there must be a way to consolidate the process into something less awkward and more enjoyable. When I pitched the idea to my now business partner and childhood friend, he said he could build something.
AM: How does it operate on a daily basis?
Andrew: It’s just two of us working on the company full time at the moment. Justin (my business partner) and I live in different states (Florida and New York, respectively), so all of our communication is via phone call and email. We work together on all aspects of the business and send an email each night laying out a to-do list for the next day and include a summary of the day’s accomplishments and things to work on.
AM: What hardships did you face when developing it?
Andrew: Creating an entirely new product from scratch is always a difficult affair. From an engineering point of view, zeroing in on the perfect dimensions (some smaller than a human hair) was a long process. We made sure to do plenty of prototyping and 3D printing to help us finalize dimensions. The biggest hurdle was combining product requirements with manufacturability.
AM: How were you able to overcome these challenges?
Andrew: Trial and error coupled with careful step by step analysis was our primary way of targeting and solving problems. However, it all came down to seamless communication. Justin and I have known each other since we were babies, so our partnership in business doesn’t feel that different than when we were growing up. Our overall theme is learning from mistakes and giving plenty of lead time when expecting to meet a deadline. Even then, every process is a challenge in and of itself and a constant learning experience—we only graduated from college five months ago after all.
AM: What advice do you have for others interested in entrepreneurship?
Andrew: If you have an idea, make sure you have a basic background in the field you wish to affect. For example, if you come up with an idea for an app, you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage from the beginning if you don’t have any knowledge about how to code. Everybody has had an idea that probably could be brought to fruition and be profitable, but they lack the ability to execute because they are not well-versed in the field. Start by thinking about something in which you have prior knowledge, then brainstorm what would make that product unique or better than what is already in existence. Bring in partners who one – you trust and two – can bring something to the table that you would not be able to provide.
AM: What are your short-term and long-term goals for the business?
Andrew: Short term: We are focusing on our Kickstarter campaign for the next 27 days, but after we want to see how we can drive sales with p2p marketing rather than social media. Experiencing the Snapshotr first hand makes a much stronger impression than just seeing it online. Long term: Become a standard drinking device for homes, bars, and clubs around the world.