Meet Innovator of the Week
CEO at Gemr
Please provide your 30 second pitch about your company.
Gemr is a social platform where everyone from the curious to the collector can find a passionate community around the stuff they love. Users can display, discuss, and learn about items that are special to them, and receive feedback about item history or value from the Gemr membership. Whether it’s vintage furniture, sneakers, comic books, or antiques, there’s a community dedicated to your interests on Gemr.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
For two reasons, Gary Sullivan has been our best resource. First, he’s a nationally recognized authority on early American clocks with over 30 years experience in the antiques business, and a regular appraiser on the PBS television show, Antiques Roadshow. Gary knows collecting and the behaviors that drive collectors. Gary also introduced Gemr to Jim Hawkes, Chairman Emeritus of Eaton Vance, and the eventual lead investor in our Series A round.
Gemr also benefited from our second place finish in NHHTC’s TechOut competition. While we’d already received our seed funding commitment prior to the event, the $30,000 award funded our hugely successful summer internship program.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
Focus. There are infinite numbers of collectible communities that exist in the world; we had to focus on a select few to build our user base. We began with an eye towards the vintage and antiques genre but soon discovered that our most engaged users were interested in pop culture items like Funko Pops, Amiibos, and comics. Leveraging our digital marketing playbook, we’ve run campaigns that have helped us discern what works and where to invest time and effort.
What’s the best advice you have received?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from Steve Jobs: “Real artists ship.” The reason this is such good advice for me is that it emphasizes how lots of startups and companies get caught up in creating the perfect product but, in their quest for perfection, fail to ship anything to the outside world. I firmly believe that until the public can touch and interact with something, it’s not real.
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
New Hampshire’s outdoor lifestyle appeals to me, as does its historic architecture. I’m an avid hiker, and I enjoy all four seasons. New Hampshire’s lakes, mountains, and other natural elements make it the perfect place for me.
What does the future look like for your company?
We’re super focused on creating the best user experience possible. We want Gemr to be synonymous with all things collecting. It is the place to go to show off your stuff, engage with fans, learn about your collections, and trade with other collectors. If we execute well, remain focused on the product, good things will happen.