Today's Entrepreneur: Greg Horn

Mingmei Niu · April 30, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3691

No. 1 Mistake: Hiring the wrong people

Today's Entrepreneur is Greg Horn, CEO and Founder of Gigawatt, which is a crowdfunding platform that specializes in "blitz fundraising" and helps groups hit their goals quickly with exciting 24-hour giving campaigns. We developed our "24-Hour Formula" when we raised over $150,000 for Muhlenberg College (PA) in 24 hours

Gigawatt is one of the top 5 finalist to present in the Oaktown Competition at Splash Oakland on May 6-7. Be sure to support Horn and Gigawatt. Register here.

Horn graduated from Lehigh University with a BS degree in Information Systems Engineering. Here's a look at his entrepreneurial background.

Companies I've founded or co-founded:

Companies I work or worked for:

Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

At Nuance, I developed the concept to build an ever-evolving speech recognition engine for the open-ended requests that come into New York City 311 (NYC's general information hotline). We cataloged millions of call transcriptions and logged them into a database to find the most common reasons people call. We were giving callers the ability to answer a "How may we help you?" request. Eventually we'd build automation around the top requests. This solution is being put into place by Nuance at 311.

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

I want to change the world.

My favorite startups:

Tesla, Virgin, Google

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

The most frustrating things about innovation is that nothing ever moves as fast as you'd hope it would. Everything always takes a fair bit longer than you expect it to and that can be really frustrating.

The most rewarding thing is that I see the direct impact of my contributions to our cause on a daily basis. This can be a double-edged sword because I also see a dip when I take some time off, but the rewarding side of it is soo worth it to see that direct impact.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. Don't be afraid to fail. Mistakes are great lessons. 
2. People are much more willing to help than you would think. All you need to do is ask. 
3. It's going to take longer than you expect.

Full bio

I've been a risk taker and a rule breaker my entire life, which is why I feel that I've gravitated to the entrepreneur's lifestyle. Add to that the fact that I ran Track for 10 years which gave me a sense that you only get the results you want based on the amount of work you put in!

I've spent most of my career in the "real world" doing Technical Sales for a speech recognition software and services company called Nuance where I helped large entreprises construct customized solutions. 

At Nuance, I developed the concept to build an ever-evolving speech recognition engine for the open-ended requests that come into New York City 311 (NYC's general information hotline). We cataloged millions of call transcriptions and logged them into a database to find the most common reasons people call. We were giving callers the ability to answer a "How may we help you?" request. Eventually we'd build automation around the top requests. This solution is being put into place by Nuance at 311.

However, after a handful of years doing that, I realized that I truly wanted to make a difference in this world and I wasn't going to be able to do that as a part of a large, public company, so I left and started Gigawatt!

 

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Gigawatt

Startup/Business

Joined Vator on

Gigawatt is a crowdfunding platform that specializes in "blitz fundraising" and helps groups hit their goals quickly with exciting 24-hour giving campaigns. We developed our "24-Hour Formula" when we raised over $150,000 for Muhlenberg College (PA) in 24 hours.

Our 24-hour crowdfunding platform creates excitement and it feeds to the short attention spans of Millennials. Once 24 hours is up, these campaigns disappear forever... We're pretty much "SnapChat for Crowdfunding." We've built the only platform with automated crowdfunding and team collaboration tools, which makes Blitz Fundraising possible. Each "Blitz" follows a pre-launch plan that helps teams raise money efficiently and fast. 

Gigawatt’s founding team graduated from Lehigh University and lived together while participating at the Boost.VC accelerator program. We've built a strong relationship founded upon complementary skills. Greg Horn has over five years of consultative technology sales experience. Jacob Katzen is a full-stack developer specializing in web app development. Jake Huber is an MBA candidate and previously worked at and led teams at Ernst & Young.

We were accepted into the Boost.VC Accelerator (backed by Tim Draper) and recently finished its three-month program in San Mateo, CA. Now that we're out, we're looking for a new home in the Oakland/East Bay area to settle down and grow our business.

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Greg Horn

Joined Vator on

CoFounder & CEO at Gigawatt. 5 yrs consultative tech sales & biz dev at Nuance. Formerly Exec boards of Lehigh's COACH program & Student Athlete Leadership Council. Currently Make-a-Wish Young Pro's Board. Travel addict and rugby player.