Monday, January 7, 2013

Energy, Persistence and a Great Idea: The Story of Patrick Stoddart and Startup RED

Patrick Stoddart's favorite quote comes from the one and only Benjamin Franklin.  It reads, "energy and persistence conquer all things."  After all, no other quote could attribute more to Patrick's startup story.

Patrick's first big idea, a product known as RED, was not immediately accepted in his community of Lee's Summit.  When Patrick first presented RED, an interactive communication platform for organizations with events and activities, to the administration at Lee's Summit High School, the product suggestion was immediately turned down.

But even as a junior in high school, Patrick was not willing to take "no" for an answer.  After researching similar platforms such as Google Calendar, Blackboard and TextCaster, the high school student realized that none of them efficiently organized and communicated multiple events.

Patrick Stoddart, founder of RevDel.
So, Patrick, being the energetic and persistent person that he is, developed RED anyway.  After the product received 1,000 sign-ups in the first month of launch, the administration at Lee's Summit High School was suddenly interested.  Finally, both administrators and the director of technology for the school district began to support Patrick and RED.

Now, a few years later, RED has about 20,000 end users (50% schools and 50% churches/athletic organizations/nonprofits and chambers of commerce).  The communication platform sends alerts through text, email, social media and calendars to simplify the way that event-driven organizations interact.  After all, 90% of all communications are event-related, according to Patrick.

"RED addresses more than just the communication side--it addresses the calendar side too," says Patrick."  The platform is customized to the user; it easily filters through buildings, types of users, activities (120 available to select), and more.

RED grew so fast after its implementation in the Lee's Summit school district that Patrick had to drop out of college in order to continue to run the business.  After building up his client base considerably, Patrick began to face three well-known entrepreneurial barriers: lack of time, lack of experience and lack of interaction.

To solve for this, Patrick moved RED's headquarters from his home in Lee's Summit to the bizperc coworking space in downtown Kansas City.

"I was tired of the commute from the bedroom to the study," laughs Patrick.  "I needed a social environment, an established routine and fewer distractions.  Since I joined bizperc in August of 2012, I have learned more about the Kansas City entrepreneur community than I have in the past 2 years.  There are so many people to meet and things to get involved with."

Patrick even met Startup Weekend teammate Julie Edge in the bizperc coworking space.  Their Startup Weekend Kansas City idea, Shop Startup, is still moving forward from within the walls of bizperc.

Patrick is also excited to announce his newest product, RED 2.0, which is currently being tested at Lee's Summit North.  In addition to its official launch in January, Patrick is also working on the new RED site which will allow clients to purchase the product online.

Patrick Stoddart, founder of RevDel and RED, lives by the words "energy and persistence conquer all things."  And although Benjamin Franklin may have been the first to say it, Patrick truly is living out this quote in his day-to-day startup life.

How does Patrick Stoddart Think Big?  "What helps me Think Big is traveling or going somewhere else.  The longer I stay in one place, the more I slip into that small-thinking mentality.  I realize all the little problems are insignificant when I travel.  It puts things into perspective.” 

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