Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Think Big Accelerator Spotlight: Connor Sweeney of Weejay

Connor Sweeney, founder of Weejay.
A few weeks ago, Weejay, a startup company founded by Connor Sweeney, was accepted into the Think Big Accelerator program.  The startup, which originally was planned to be a mobile jukebox, has pivoted into a marketing platform with a music focus.  And now that the startup, and the entrepreneur behind it, has gone through a few weeks of the Think Big Accelerator program, things are starting to look bright for the Kansas City-based Weejay.

But it wasn't always that way.  After coming up with the idea, researching it and watching parts of his vision come to life, Connor decided to walk away from the Weejay project in June of 2012 when he found multiple competitors who were already years ahead of him in the space.

"As an entrepreneur, when you have an idea and then discover that someone else does the exact same thing already, it's a deflating moment," says Connor. "But then Blake [Miller] from Think Big gave me a call and encouraged me to move forward.  Think Big gave me the confidence to continue with Weejay.  They reminded me to think of Coke and Pepsi.  There's always room for two in any industry."

But after creating Weejay's design, crafting up a layout and starting the Think Big Accelerator class, Connor still didn't feel 100% about his idea and where it was headed.  So, within the accelerator program, he learned the power of the pivot.

"I had an ah-ha moment a few weeks into the accelerator," says Connor.  "I realized that instead of a mobile jukebox, Weejay could become a marketing platform with a music focus.  It's how other great apps like Pandora and Front Flip have become so successful.  I am now creating a unique music discovery platform that is even better than my original idea."

According to Connor, Weejay is currently in "baby-step mode".  The startup has set out to prove its new model and has begun testing for engagement from establishments around Kansas City (i.e. restaurants).  In addition, the startup is narrowing down much of its gaming components, design and MVP.  But there's no denying it--Connor is anxious to tie up all the loose ends and begin the funding phase.

"I am so grateful for the structure, guidance, education and confidence that the Think Big Accelerator program has given me," says Connor.  "Plus, this is a lot of fun!  I am very excited to move forward through the next 30, 60, 90 days."

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