Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tech Startup Podcast: Jerry, Will & Tamera of PalatteApp

Podcast #30 of 50 is like a 3-for-1. Here, I interviewed Jerry Freeman, Tamera and Will Fortune of PalatteApp. With a combined 60+ years experience in their industry, these three are making PalatteApp into a serious startup.

During the interview, we chatted about:

  • Increasing trust with their audience
  • Their subtle marketing tactics (especially launching at industry trade shows and meeting with customers directly)
  • How they determine which features to update (very simply: price and number of customers the feature will acquire)
Their three target audiences:

Commercial Architects
Commercial Interior Designers
& Manufacturers who help these two groups of people

More about Jerry 

Jerry Freeman is the Founder and Principal of PaletteApp, and is responsible for overseeing all firm operations and managing strategic relationships. Mr. Freeman has over 25 years of experience in design and manufacturing, both as a corporate executive and a successful entrepreneur. He has been a part of design teams that have won over two dozen American Institute of Architects (AIA) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA) design and construction awards.

Prior to founding PaletteApp, Mr. Freeman founded the Company’s parent, TCG Flooring, a Chicago-based flooring manufacturer. While at TCG, Mr. Freeman led the launch of Attune Materials, a high end green flooring company catering to the architecture and design community. Attune was never able to go to market due to the high costs of products binders. Prior to founding TCG, Mr. Freeman held executive roles at the Lees/Karastan divisions of The Mohawk Group, where he landed four national accounts totaling over $2MM and rebuilt the sales team resulting in a 50% increase in revenues within two years.

Mr. Freeman is a graduate of the Architectural Association in London (where he studied urban housing) and the University of Oklahoma, where he studied environmental design. He is a current member of the IIDA, and served on the board of IBD (precursor to IIDA) for four years as a vice president of public relations. Learn more about him on LinkedIn.

More about Will

Will Fortune serves as PaletteApp’s Director of Business Development. In this capacity, Mr. Fortune leverages his extensive industry relationships to identify business development opportunities and build strategic partnerships and educate clients as to the operational and financial benefits of PaletteApp. Mr. Fortune has over 18 years of sales experience through which he has built a diverse network of relationships spanning the entire country and across a number of industry verticals including designers, manufacturers, and distributors.

Prior to joining PaletteApp, Mr. Fortune was Vice President and National Sales Manager for Fortune Contract, Inc., where launched the company’s national sales department and led a 26-territory sales team. Prior to his role as national sales manager, Mr. Fortune served as a territory manager in both Northern California and the Southeast. Mr. Fortune is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a member of numerous industry associations including the International IIDA and ASID, both organizations in which he has held leadership roles. 

More about Tamera 

Tamara Davis serves as PaletteApp’s Director of Brand Management. Ms. Davis is responsible for all aspects of marketing, including product development and brand management. Ms. Davis has over 20 years of design and product management experience, most recently having served as Director of Product Management and Development at TCG.

While at TCG, Ms. Davis led product development for the launch of two product divisions: Attune, and CalvertFreeman. In this capacity, Ms. Davis was responsible for establishing product portfolios, selecting manufacturers, and leading all aspects of brand management, including corporate image and web site development. Prior to TCG, Ms. Davis held roles in design and project management at Lees Carpets, Branca, Inc., McClier/AECOM, Artista Records Nashville and William Morris Agency. Ms. Davis acquired her education and degrees at Michigan State University, The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Harrington College of Design in Chicago.

More about PalatteApp

Their pitch: For over 150 years the architectural design community has been working in the same inefficient way. PaletteApp is changing the way the architectural design industry selects, orders, delivers and manages sample inventory.

At PaletteApp we are digitizing product libraries. They make the product selection process, palette building and sample ordering process simple and efficient, while reducing our carbon footprint.

Once the designer finds the right products, they are able to order samples, download specs or product binders with the click of a button. This saves their target audiences hours at a time. Their iPhone app is available in the App Store. Their tablet version is coming out late fall/ winter 2012. Until then, if you're part of their target audience (including students), register using their website.


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