A Q&A with imagoo founder and CEO Mickey Hernandez. The Las Vegas-based startup, which has built a real-time social polling app, just announced that it has raised $1.2 million in Angel funding. It was founded in 2012.
SUB: Please describe imagoo and your value proposition.
Hernandez: imagoo is a social polling app and web platform that lets consumers, brands and businesses issue challenges and comparisons and vote on content in real time. Users can get advice on purchasing decisions, debate politics and challenge rival sports fans. Using imagoo’s challenge feature, users can go head-to-head with friends or other users and poll the community to see who wins. We strive to offer our users immediate feedback on any and all questions that they pose, while providing an environment that is fun, interactive and encourages friendly competition.
imagoo also has value for businesses as a consumer data tool. Using imagoo, businesses can poll followers and other users on the network and receive instant feedback. The polls and challenges that businesses create serve as real-time A/B testing. Instead of investing in expensive consumer data tools, businesses can use imagoo to access opinions easily and informally. A business can also challenge its competitors to compare two products or even the brand itself.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Hernandez: Honestly, pretty much anyone can use and benefit from imagoo. Our target demographic is men and women ages 16-to-35, which is the makeup of a majority of our current users. Businesses can use imagoo, too. We’re currently working with a few that are looking to take advantage of instant, informal market research. The wide array of categories featured on the app—from cars to music to fashion—offers content for a wide range of demographics.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Hernandez: Polar and Seesaw are our closest competitors.
SUB: What differentiates imagoo from the competition?
Hernandez: imagoo is different because it enables users to issue challenges. A challenge is a friendly competition in which a user can compare items and pictures with their friends and connections. Upon the creation of the challenge, the participants subsequently solicit the opinion of the imagoo community. When the challenge ends, one user has more votes than the other and consequently wins. Family, strangers and businesses on the network can issue challenges and solicit the opinion of the community. This feature is something the social polling landscape is missing. Additionally, imagoo offers users more than ten ways to discover and vote on content for those who are more interested in interacting with existing challenges and comparisons.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Hernandez: imagoo was founded in 2012. After securing the first round of funding, we began building the team and a culture within the office.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for imagoo? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Hernandez: imagoo was born out of a few friends’ hunger for friendly competition. The idea came about when my friend and I got into an intense argument about car brands. I thought, ‘What if we could generate the opinions of all of our connections and resolve this argument quickly?’ I then did some research into the mobile landscape and realized that this problem could be solved with an app. It’s human nature for people to believe that they are the best or have the best things. imagoo is a platform that allows users to test that assumption through the opinions of others.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Hernandez: ‘Imago’ is where the name imagoo came from. Imago is the idealized mental image of someone that influences a person’s behavior. We felt like this would be a perfect name for a challenge app in which others constantly test the idealized mental image of a person. Additionally, imagoo is an image-based app, so incorporating ‘image’ into the name made sense.
SUB: You recently raised $1.2 million in Angel funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Hernandez: We were ready. The purpose of meeting with Angel investors was to acquire enough funding and resources to successfully launch our app and web platform, which we’ve done.
SUB: Do you have plans to raise more funding in the near future?
Hernandez: We have no concrete plans at this time but we’re always on the lookout for interested parties who believe in imagoo as much as we do. Like most other startups we are constantly looking to grow and expand, so we would never shoot down a great opportunity to acquire more capital.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Hernandez: Luckily, we haven’t encountered any major setbacks. Prior to launching the app and web platform, we dealt with bugs, as every app developer and creator does, which pushed the launch back a week or two. Since launching, however, we’ve been extremely pleased with how the app functions as well as people’s receptiveness.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Hernandez: We plan to generate revenue through businesses and brands that want to use our platform to solicit instant opinions and feedback from our large network of users. We’ve already seen interest, which is exciting.
SUB: What are your goals for imagoo over the next year or so?
Hernandez: Our goal for imagoo is to reach 100,000 app downloads and maintain a very positive growth rate. Long term, we hope to become one of the top comparison platforms for both consumers and businesses.
imagoo – www.imagoo.com