Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jeb and Patrick: A bizperc Coworking Collaboration Story

We often think of collaboration as something that only happens intentionally through formal meetings or events. While that may often be the case, it’s also true that collaboration is often embedded in startup environments, and perhaps especially so at Think Big Partners’ coworking space, bizperc. Many times, entrepreneurial collaboration grows organically from proximity and shared space.  This happened to be the case with ambitious startup leaders Jeb Ory and Patrick Stoddart.

Jeb Ory
Jeb Ory is the co-founder of Phone2Action, a mobile campaign platform that's rewriting the rules of community empowerment. Patrick Stoddart recently joined the bizperc coworking space as founder of Revdel, a cloud-based communications and event-scheduling service provider in education, government, religious organizations, and more. The two began talking since they sat a couple desks away from each other. We'll let Patrick tell the rest.

"After chatting back and forth over a couple months," Patrick says, "we realized that while our products and audiences might have been different, Jeb and I were utilizing very similar technology.  A month and a half ago, just before landing his first significant contract with the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), Jeb's CTO unfortunately had to step down. That left a huge need for fulfilling technical requirements prior to the start of the contract."

From there, the collaboration seemed almost effortless.  

"Knowing me, he scooted over in his chair and asked if I wouldn't mind helping with his development needs. The needs were pretty straightforward, so I agreed and built him some projects and pieces that he needed for the startup."

Patrick smiles at this point in the interview. "It turns out that Jeb was going on a gospel tour in the South—Louisville, Jackson, Memphis, Baton Rouge, Mobil, Birmingham—with Marvin Sapp, a well-known gospel singer and charter school founder. BAEO was utilizing Jeb's platform to gain support for charter schools in marginalized communities with few desirable school options."
Patrick Stoddart

"I happened to walk by Jeb one day," Patrick continues, "and he asked me if I wanted to join him on the tour for technical support. I said, 'Let me think about it.' I came back five minutes later and said, 'Okay, I've thought about it, and I can't think of a reason not to, so let's do it!' We took a look at my schedule and decided that I would attend the first half of the tour."

When asked about the turnout, Patrick had encouraging data to illustrate the positive impact of the BAEO/Phone2Action partnership. "We had 12,000 attendees, with over 25% of participants using Phone2Action. We were pulling data all night and sending it to BAEO, and that data helped them make informed decisions about where to focus their resources." At the time of writing, Jeb was still on the tour.

Their collaboration a so successful that the two decided to see what other ways they could branch out as entrepreneurs. 

"We've talked about other ways to leverage our products," Patrick begins. "We want to be able to keep in touch with product launch, so on Wednesday morning at 1 Million Cups we leveraged Phone2Action for content acquisition, collecting over 70 user's information. 

Reflecting on the collaboration, Jeb has nothing but glowing remarks for Patrick and Think Big Partners. “We are thrilled to work together with the great people of Think Big. In fact, one day I looked around and realized that I had received help in some fashion from 10 different people since I moved into Think Big last September. All I can say is WOW. And getting to work with Patrick? Now that's something EXTRA special. He's one of the best engineers I have ever met; like Zuckerberg smart. KC, keep an eye on this one," 

The Kansas City startup community is quickly gaining recognition as one of the premier sources for innovation, thanks to people like Jeb and Patrick. Their startup collaboration is the product of the Think Big Partners/bizperc open environment—a startup hub that's humming with conversation, networking, and opportunity. It's people like Jeb and Patrick—ambitious, open-minded, and generous entrepreneurs—that make the Kansas City startup community such an exciting place to be.

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