The Importance of Focus with Devon Copley of Avatour


Summary of Episode

#17: Devon Copley joins Annaka and Ethan to share his story founding Avatour, a VR platform that allows users to bring clients, coworkers, and inspectors on site with 360 degree support so others can feel like they are sharing the same space with you. Devon shares his insights on finding a cofounder, using feedback to direct a company’s focus, and redefining what it means to be successful.

Devon Copley is the founder and CEO of Avatour, a company working to share real places in real time without the need for travel. While at Nokia, Devon worked on a similar product bringing VR technology to cameras. However, Nokia ended up scrapping the project and making cuts to the team. Devon, having had experience working at a variety of startups, chose to continue pursuing his vision for VR technology and created Avatour.

Full Episode Transcript

Podcast Episode Notes

Finding the right cofounder to partner with can be essential to success [4:11]

A clear division of responsibilities is key to an effective partnership [10:15]
From prototyping a VR product to building a business [13:22]

VR and spacial communicators allow Avatour users to feel like they are physically present in the space, which can be useful for audits and inspections [16:47]

Listening to customers to better understand feedback and uncover use cases. Avatour’s main use cases include presenting “show” and investigating “look” [21:31]

Working with multiple verticles and finding the balance between going broad and going deep with customer discovery [25:28]

Following the customers’ needs and desires to keep up with current demand [30:46]

Marketing to adapt to shifting landscapes, develop leads, and establish the brand [34:44]
Focusing on the problem in order to build awareness, showcase the solution, and generate traction [39:11]

The startup survivor bias — startups that receive press are those that survived, and we rarely hear from startups that failed [48:16]

There are opportunities to grow your business and succeed, but it’s important to define success and remind yourself that your own self worth is not tied to your business’s success [53:21]

You don’t necessarily have to get VC backing to grow an enterprise [57:12]

Develop a strategy and be able to clearly and succinctly explain your company [1:02:14]

Devon’s philosophy on creating an efficient management structure: he provides the goal and removes blockers that the team encounters [1:03:01]

How to pay bills and survive during the initial phase of a startup? [1:05:18]

Devon’s advice — “If you’re looking to get rich, there are much better ways to get rich than starting a startup” [1:09:41]

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