Monday, December 21, 2009

Craig Diamond - Diamond MMA

Today Gigs at Startups is interviewing: Craig Diamond of Diamond MMA

Name: Craig Diamond
Company: Diamond MMA
Role: Founder

What is DiamondMMA?
We design, test and manufacture products for the sport of mixed martial arts, We’re Diamond MMA. Right now we’re working on the ultimate in groin protection. Think how football changed when Riddell invented the helmet players wear today. We’re doing that with a new breed of fight shorts. In the past a fighter could get injured because of a cheap plastic cup that would shift, it just couldn’t handle a kick, punch or knee to the groin. Ours is different. We designed a state of the art cup made from unusual materials that we found through Inventables.

We’ve taken a compression short and re-engineered it with a built in jock strap that prevents the cup from moving and keeps it in the right place during a fight. MMA is ready for that game changing product and Diamond MMA is bringing it to market. Check out some commercials that explain the products.

How did you get involved in DiamondMMA?
I got involved in Diamond MMA by starting out with making my own brand of t-shirts for MMA. I soon realized that there was a need for fight shorts which led to the Diamond MMA all-in-one fight short. In July we brought a few prototypes to the UFC Expo in Vegas We got a tremendous response from fans, fighters, and even a few CEO’s of the other big brands at the show. We walked away with a waiting list for our product and we knew we were in business.

The best thing about working at Diamond MMA is that we assembled the who’s who of top entrepreneurs and designers that are all passionate about the project and the sport of MMA. The market for MMA is huge - it’s exploding and that’s even without taking our products to other sports. Being a part of the MMA movement and seeing the potential for expanding into these other sports is exciting for me as an athlete and as an entrepreneur.

What type of people are best suited to work at a startup?
The type of people who are best suited to work at a start up are people with personalities who can go "all-in" and get totally engrossed and obsessed with their project, you have to be the type of person who is able to dive right in and be comfortable when your startup consumes every second of your life.

What advice to you have for entrepreneurs getting started?
For me I didn't and still don't have any seed money so I had to cash in on my connections. I called all the smart talented people I thought could help me or knew someone who could and assembled my team. That required great networking skills, you have to be able to pick up a phone and ask for help.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dale Miller-Visionati, Inc.

Today Gigs at Startups is interviewing: Dale Miller-Founder of Visionati, Inc.

Name: Dale Miller

Company: Visionati, Inc.

Role: Founder and CEO

What is Visionati? is a virtual creative department. Businesses, brands and agencies can search portfolios for individual creatives or creative teams to hire. In addition, creatives can use the community features to connect with each other. They can find like-minded people to help them, whether it’s for a paying gig or an “off hours” project. Our mission is to break down the silos, to be the single resource reaching across disciplines (art directors, photographers, designers etc) and roles (brand managers, agency producers).

How did you get involved in Visionati?

I founded another company Miller Creative Partners, an artists’ representation firm, specializing in commercial photography. Through my daily work, I was often asked for referrals to other creative types: designers, videographers, illustrators etc. It occurred to me that within the creative community, people were comfortable in their “silos”, and yet there seemed to be a growing need to break through those barriers and connect with others outside of their area of expertise. Visionati provides a place for creatives to find other creatives across multiple disciplines, and a way for brands to find creatives to hire.

What is the best thing about working at Visionati?

I get to meet and work with very smart and talented people. Bringing people together to work on a shared vision is my passion. I also love learning, and working with so many smart people means I’m learning all the time! I’ve been very fortunate to have found great people that took an interest in Visionati from the beginning.

What kind of people do you think are best suited to work at start-ups?

I think it goes without saying that people working at start-ups need energy and enthusiasm. So assuming they have those qualities, what’s really important is being able to maintain them. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and persistence to keep going and deal with the ups and downs. It’s also important that people set ego aside and be willing to pitch in and do whatever it takes. Roles are less clearly defined at a startup and people need to be proactive and do what needs to be done.