Larry Kavanagh of NaviStone
An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Larry Kavanagh (co-founder and CEO) of NaviStone, which was honored in our:
- 2023 Best Tech Startups in Cincinnati
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Cincinnati
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Cincinnati
Tell us the origin story of NaviStone – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
The first problem we had to solve was what to do next! I had exited a company I founded, and a friend of mine (Efrain Torres) was in a similar spot. The two of us spent a day at HCBC in front of a couple of whiteboards. I had brought a notebook of ideas. What NaviStone is today wasn’t precisely in that notebook, but our fundamental concept was. We had several ideas about how to use first party browsing data to improve the effectiveness of marketing. We built a reporting based product, then an email product, all before landing on what we do today, which is using web browsing data to signal when is the right time to send direct mail to a consumer for a particular brand.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
In the early days, it was finding product/market fit. As I just mentioned, we had to try several ideas before finding one that got our target market excited. Next was refining the target market and the product. Our product works very well in many situations, but not in all. Understanding that was critical.
What does the future hold for NaviStone?
Lots of growth, both for us and our customers. We’re adding new products and now have a version of our platform for digital agencies to include in campaigns they put together for their clients.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Cincinnati?
There have never been more resources for entrepreneurs. I was just on a panel that included SIX programs to accelerate new businesses.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Hang out with other entrepreneurs. Business is not a game to be played alone, particularly when you are starting one. There are great resources listed at startupcincy.com. I personally found Alloy’s business center (https://alloydev.org/growth-lab/) and Entrepreneurs Organization (https://www.eocincinnati.org/) to be incredibly helpful when starting out.