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NYC Next Idea: TaxiTreats provides and manages vending machines and proprietary convenience solutions for the transportation industry, including NYC taxi cabs.
Team: Tomas Grosskopf, Universidad de Buenos Aires (left) and Brian Shimmerlik, NYU Stern School of Business, MBA Candidate (right). We sit down with Brian Shimmerlik for this Q&A.
Why did you choose New York City to turn your idea into reality?
NYC is the ideal location to launch TaxiTreats due to the quantity of taxis in the city (about 13,400) and the quantity and affluence of NYC taxi riders (there are about 245 million passengers per year, over half of which earn more than $100,000 per year). Further, TaxiTreats’ founders are both current and future NYC residents who love this city and want to further technology and innovation in the city.
What experiences led you to your idea?
My experience as an NYC resident led to the idea. There is a gap between today’s technological advances and the daily requirements of traveling around NYC, and those of many other cities around the world. There is not enough value delivered to and derived from commuters. NYC residents want to maximize the effectiveness of their time. For instance, in South Korea, commuters can shop for groceries while waiting for the subway and have their purchases delivered to their houses. NYC is technologically behind in this field and TaxiTreats wants to help NYC take the lead.
How did you work with your team to develop your idea?
The TaxiTreats team has a strong balance of age, nationality and skill sets. By bringing different perspectives to the team, we have created a team that is stronger than the sum of its parts.
What, to you, are the most important qualities for becoming a successful entrepreneur?
To us, successful entrepreneurs must be passionate and confident, with an extremely high social intelligence. Passion is the number one required quality as the entrepreneur must commit himself/herself to achieving success. Entrepreneurship is not a 9-5 job. If you don't regularly WANT to work on your company seven days a week, putting other hobbies aside, entrepreneurship is not for you. Great entrepreneurs think about their company in bed at night, dream about it, and wake up thinking about it.
Confidence is essential because entrepreneurs must not only envision the future, but trust their vision above all else. I once heard that, "If someone isn't laughing at your idea, it probably isn't creative enough." You must have the confidence to see things differently.
Lastly, social intelligence is our third required quality for a successful entrepreneur. Bridging the gap between the present and your vision requires interacting with hundreds of parties, including clients, suppliers, partners, service providers and employees, to name a few. Knowing who to trust, who to avoid and selling every person on you, your team, your vision and your ability to execute takes an extremely high level of social intelligence.
Which books do you recommend for business or pleasure?
I’ve recently read and recommend The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. The book teaches you how to figure out what makes you happy, challenge the status quo and everyday bureaucracy in the corporate world, and take control of your life.
What are you most excited about seeing in New York?
Tomas is most excited to see his older sister Sol. As a result in the distance between NYC and Buenos Aires, Tomas and his sister have not seen each other in over a year and he is very grateful to the NYC Next Idea competition for flying him to New York.
It's NYC Next Idea week! Come see these and other finalists compete in the NYC Next Idea Final Round on Wednesday, March 21st at Columbia University.