A Q&A with The Kive Company founder and CEO Jedd Gold. The Los Angeles–based company was founded in early 2012 and closed a $500K Seed funding round in mid-November. Investors include Amplify.LA and Angel investors.
SUB: Please describe The Kive Company and your value proposition.
Gold: The Kive Company was created with the mission of using technology to make parents’ lives easier. Our first product is an app called ARTKIVE—the easiest and fastest way to take, tag and chronologically store kids’ art. With Artkive, we’re solving a problem that nearly every parent in the world can relate to—what to do with all the artwork kids create.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Gold: We’re heavily focused on the parent market with moms representing the majority of our users.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Gold: One of the key features of Artkive is the ability to print books and ultimately order other custom items. So, in a sense, you could say that any of the custom photo book [and similar] product companies could be considered competition.
SUB: What differentiates The Kive Company from the competition?
Gold: With Artkive, we’ve chosen to focus on a niche area: kids’ art—and school—work. We’re not trying to be a solution for organizing every photo you take, instead we’re pulling out one category that we believe parents really value and providing them with an easy-to-use solution.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Gold: The company was founded in early 2012 and we launched Artkive around back-to-school. The first step was designing a user experience that I believed would solve the problem we were addressing. Once that was done, and I had gut-checked it with a handful of parents to make sure people agreed it would be useful, I incorporated, raised a small round of funding, hired a team and started working.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for The Kive Company? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Gold: I have two girls who create a lot of artwork. I’d watch my wife take pictures of it all, then upload it to her computer. It would be hard to remember who created what, when it was done, and how the kids had described the piece. She’d then spend countless hours trying to organize it into a book and the whole process just seemed so ridiculous. I thought there had to a better way for parents to quickly and easily save these memories, and Artkive was born.
SUB: How did you come up with the name ‘Artkive’? What is the story behind it?
Gold: I’m a big believer in the power of a name. A great name can help establish a brand exponentially faster than a bad one. The app was going to archive kids’ art and so I loved the natural play on words we got with ARTKIVE. My only problem was that I didn’t like ARTCHIVE because it was sure to be mispronounced. My wife said “why don’t you just use a ‘k’” and that was it. I guess I should listen to my wife more.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Gold: I suppose it may be semantics, but what some would call an obstacle I’d say is just a minor annoyance that requires creative thinking to get around. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, it’s all part of the process and expected. You just find ways to keep moving forward and stay true to what you’re trying to achieve.
SUB: You just raised $500K in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Gold: The money we raised will go towards continuing to develop new features for the app, marketing and staffing. We’ve been able to accomplish quite a bit on a very small budget so it’s exciting to have some dollars on hand to really help us grow. We’ll continue to be smart about how and where we spend, but we see a ton of opportunity for growth.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Gold: We got some fantastic traction right out of the gate so we were able to prove market demand to our investors. It’s never easy to raise money, but showing momentum certainly helps the cause.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Gold: We’re about to launch our book printing feature so people can order books of their Artkives. Down the road we’ll offer additional items as well such as calendars, mugs and more. We see opportunities for in-app purchases and partnerships as well.
SUB: What are your goals for The Kive Company over the next year or so?
Gold: We have a lot of ideas for where we want to take the company, but we’ll also be listening closely to our users so we can continue to deliver products that make their lives easier.
The Kive Company – www.artkiveapp.com