Nirmal Parikh is the Founder/President at BEEP, a career entrepreneur who loves to challenge and disrupt the status quo. He thrives on finding creative and innovative ways to solve problems facing today's marketers.
His passion for technology, innovation and marketing has led to the creation of many cutting-edge products and platforms. He's worked in and alongside startups, SMBs and brands like EMC, Subaru, Citi, Kaiser Permanente, Hilton, Lending Club, BlueCross, BlueShield and countless others.
With 20+ years of experience in all aspects and channels of digital marketing, Nirmal is a sought-after speaker on UX, mobile apps and analytics. He has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and a Master's in Management of Innovation and Technology.
In this interview, Nirmal shares how BEEP came to life, how he developed a unique competitive edge, and bit of his personal philosophy. Enjoy!
OKAY, SO NIRMAL, AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE YOU’RE REALLY ON TO SOMETHING?
The idea for BEEP struck me while attending the Inc. GrowCo conference in Nashville about 18 months ago. We'd just started working with Beacons and (at the time) were focused on building TravelTag, a mobile app that would let you track your checked bags.
But, during my conversations with attendees at the event, a few exhibitors and the folks from Inc., I realized there was a huge opportunity to transform events and conferences through the same proximity-based marketing tech. I talked to a few event planners and organizers once I was back in Boston and that’s when I realized we were on to something really big!
WHERE DID YOU DRAW YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE FROM INITIALLY?
I knew there were many event apps when we started working on BEEP (Beacon-Enabled Events Platform). So, competing with them on features wasn't the best or smartest option. But, differentiation was.
So, we used what they lacked in features as our competitive advantage i.e. implementing Beacons into the mobile app from the ground up. So, in addition to matching 90% of their features, we were able to offer attendee tracking and capture interaction data. We could measure attendee dwell time, send them in-app and push notifications, engage with them in real-time and more! All made possible with Beacons.
TO DATE, OTHER THAN YOURSELF WHO OR WHAT HAS BEEN BEEP’S GREATEST ASSET?
Finding the right person whose passions and vision align with yours is extremely important. Having started the venture about a year ago, I’d say over the past 6 months, Richard Turcott (ex-CMO of Constant Contact and Curata) has been of great help. We’re both somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades and we both bring a positive do-what-it-takes attitude. From moving furniture to pitching investors, we do it all!
AS AN ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE STRONGEST CHARACTER TRAITS?
Passion. Hard-work. Trust.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW STARTUPS FACING FUNDING ISSUES?
We’re actively seeking investment so we’re going through this turbulence ourselves. All I can say is keep trying. And, most importantly - don’t be discouraged. We’ve probably been rejected/ignored by at least a dozen potentials thus far. So, we’ve got 88 more to go I suppose.
WHAT MAJOR CHALLENGE/MILESTONE IS BEEP WORKING tOWARDS RIGHT NOW?
We’ve received good traction and feedback having enabled events in NYC, Boston and London. We were also able to capture a lot of great input from Organizers, Exhibitors and Attendees. They love the simplicity of our app!
They like that it offers unique features. We need funds to accelerate our development efforts and to build on this initial momentum. But, getting there in the amount of time we’d like to get there requires serious investment. Our biggest challenge right now is finding the right investor and partner who will not only back us financially but also have the connections that allow us to scale quickly through introductions.
HOW DID YOU OVERCOME YOUR BIGGEST LIFE/WORK BALANCE MISTAKE THUS FAR?
Being involved in a startup can consume every minute of your working day. Also, the dynamics are different when you’re single vs when you have a family. I fall in the latter bucket. So, working hard can only get you so far, even if you’re willing to work your ass off every minute that you can.
You can’t compete with a 20-year old working 18-hrs a day. You have to realize what’s important to you and be smart about balancing your personal life. Find the right people. Look for those traits that I mentioned earlier (passion, hard-work and trust) and delegate.
Do you believe there’s a pattern or formula to modern business success?
No. There’s no magic formula. Yes, luck plays a big part but there’s no substitute for hard work and believing in yourself. Work hard, pursue your idea and follow your passion.
If the BEEP brand had theme music, what would it sound like?
Hmm…can’t think of one.
What advice you got for folks considering setting up shop in Massachusetts?
Do it…..as long as you can handle the winters! Some of the best talent, good startup scene, many angels, VCs, etc. And, don’t forget we're also home to the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. Go Superbowl LI Champions!