My name is Adam Agresta and I am the CEO and Founder of HeadPal. Our product has been dubbed “The Next Selfie Stick”. It is a new and innovative device that enables the user to use their smartphone, handsfree, in 3 different formats. Attached to the head, as a table mount and as a selfie stick. We feel as though HeadPal is going to disrupt the smartphone accessory industry like no other product has before. It will create a new dynamic and mindset towards the development of any device that is created within this industry, from this moment on.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I am an Entrepreneur based out of Sydney, Australia and I am an avid lover of all things Tech. I am a people lover and I am sincerely focused on solving an issue that the majority of smartphone users are currently facing; getting that fatigued arm or sore neck when having to hold our smartphone for an extended period. I firmly believe that Entrepreneurship is management and as the CEO of HeadPal, it is my duty to ensure that everyone within my team are fulfilling their duties to the best of their ability and are held accountable for their actions.
I am a people lover and I am sincerely focused on solving an issue that the majority of smartphone users are currently facing; getting that fatigued arm or sore neck when having to hold our smartphone for an extended period.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Morning: Wake up around 7/7.30am – Wake up, have morning Coffee, check emails, go for a run, eat breakfast.
Mid-late morning: Work on HeadPal/Attend to meetings
Lunch: Check emails, eat lunch, follow up on missed texts, phone calls, read current book
Mid-late arvo: Work on HeadPal/Attend to meetings, find time for gym
Dinner: Check emails, eat dinner, read current book
Mid-late evening: Work on HeadPal/Read book
11pm – Midnight: Get ready to head to the land of nods
Midnight: Sleep time
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
When I was 5 months old I had a historic operation performed on me where at the time, I was the 2nd baby in the world to had ever survived that operation and the First in Australia.
How did you come up with the idea for your product and what made you “go for it?”
I was lying in bed one evening doing my usual round of social media activity when after at least 40 minutes of having to hold my phone up and 1 fatigued arm later, I decided that I would invent a product that held my phone up for me, that also connected through bluetooth so I wouldn’t have to worry about having to deal with the mess that auxiliary cables usually cause.
What made you decide to go with crowdfunding (or venture capital)?
On Kickstarter you get to find out who your early adopters are. That was the most appealing aspect. We knew that putting our product onto Kickstarter that the backers pledging would be the ones who are genuinely interested in HeadPal and what we are doing. We knew that it would also help us validate our idea and concept. The money is important and if successfully funded will provide us a huge leg-up, but we find more value in getting real-time customer feedback and opinions because that is essentially what is going to help us improve HeadPal. With Kickstarter, this can be achieved.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made with your product (financial, emotional, educational) that led to the product we’re experiencing today?
Allowing for the device to act as an attachment. At first, I just wanted HeadPal to be one unified device without the capability of it being able to detach. Now, it has the ability to magnetically attach as well as unclipping at the T section to act as a selfie-stick. This 3 in 1 feature has really changed the dynamic of HeadPal.
Where do you see your company or your company’s focus in 1-2 years?
A lot of focus over the next 1 – 2 years will be on improving the current design for HeadPal and turning it from a great product into an excellent product. We know that we are unlikely to perfect this device over night. But with time and through constant testing, iterating and with the feedback from our consumers, we have no doubt that we will be able to turn HeadPal into a premium product over the next few years. Who knows, we may also have a few other things up our sleeve, but we can’t reveal all… Not yet anyway 🙂
If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
I never live with regret and firmly believe that you absolutely have to go through setbacks, heartaches, failures and disappointments to learn how to overcome and deal with future situations similar to those experienced in the past. However, we all love hindsight because it is a beautiful thing. If I could tell 2014 Adam anything it would be that “you most definitely cannot do this on your own”. It was never the case where I did not want a team of people to help me, it was more a case of “yeah I got this, I can do this on my own, why do I need anyone to help me?” but I soon realised that once you have 1, then 2 or 3 people on board that not only believe in you but the vision of what you are doing, your momentum picks up, you begin to gain traction and it genuinely feels as though you are on your way to achieving success. One thing my mentor has taught me, which I will use a principle for every situation I come up against in life, whether it is business or personal, is to look at everything objectively. Have a neutral opinion and always ask yourself why. You should never come to a conclusion, but instead keep asking yourself questions. That way you never get complacent and you always remain curious.
I never live with regret and firmly believe that you absolutely have to go through setbacks, heartaches, failures and disappointments to learn how to overcome and deal with future situations similar to those experienced in the past.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and work and why?
My current Mentor and Business Advisor – Martin Thomas. The fact that he has been willing to give up his own time to help guide me to where I need to be is something I am extremely grateful for. I can comfortably say that without Martin’s mentorship and advice, I would more than likely still be searching for answers to a thousand quesitons that had previously been unanswered. My parents, my mate Ron, my other business advisor and mentor Steve, one of my best mates and roommate Chris and other significant friends and family have all been extremely supportive and it is really important to have a support network around you as I have had. They help you celebrate, they help you through the tough times but they also keep you grounded. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a fantastic bunch of human beings.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to facilitate a successful financing campaign?
Plan plan plan. Prep. Plan some more. And then prep some more. It is important to be planning for your campaign at least 6 months in advance (something we did not do and have only realised now that we have gone through this). This allows you ample time to build up your fan base, email list, client base as well as getting you as prepared as possible for the launch. If this is done correctly then by the time your launch comes around, you should have your media releases ready to submit, you should have a decent amount of emails/subscribers to reach out to and your brand will have gained traction/numbers from your 6 month lead up. It is extremely important that you are kicking goals and ticking the boxes from day 1 of your campaign so that way your project and campaign looks and is perceived as though it is successful and that you have done your due diligence. This will also help to attract organic growth.
What do you see as the biggest advancement in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
I do not think it will be long until our smartphones are evolved to a point where we will be looking at Plasma screens rather than the screens we are looking at today. Steve Jobs had this planned and I would be very surprised if an Entrepreneur with the correct resources and knowledge is not currently working on implementing this within the next 5 – 10 years. Apple Watches, Google glass and 3D Virtual Reality are all going to become “the next big thing” as well. Look out for those devices to make a huge impact.
What do you see as the biggest risk in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
The biggest risk to our sector over the next 5 – 10 years, in my opinion, are going to be devices similar to the Apple watch, Google glass, 3D virtual reality goggles. If our sector is the smartphone accessory industry, then it depends whether or not you view the Apple Watch or any of the other devices as a smartphone accessory or one that disrupts our sector. Assuming that they are not, I get the feeling that because it is such a handy accessory, we might start moving away from our smartphones and move towards ‘wearing our phones on our wrists’ due to the convenience of the device. With Google glass and 3D virtual reality goggles, they are cool products. Like most devices like the ones mentioned, price tends to be a major factor in whether or not a consumer decides to make the purchase. Once they are affordable, I get the feeling that we will be seeing a LOT more of these products, everywhere.