Jellifi and the Quest for Startup Immortality

April 30, 2013

2:00 pm

There is a species of tiny jellyfish that can revert its cells from the adult stage to the young polyp stage, effectively starting its life over and giving it the possibility of immortality. Jellifi COO Kinsey Vallier sees an inspiration here.

“With our combined hard work we can ensure that our product has the same staying power,” she says.

Luckily, Vallier and team have picked an industry that’s not likely to go away anytime soon: event planning. Weddings, parties, and birthdays are all rituals of the human race. Jellifi connects the hosts of these events with service providers like caterers, venues, and photographers.

The event space is certainly busy, with Eventup focusing on finding venues, Event Finds on last-minute deals, BrideRush on weddings, and EventNow on events of all types. Jellifi prides itself on detailed vendor profiles and the ability to barter a rate. They’ve also been used by clients like Google, Dos Equis, and Formula 1.

Jellifi screenshot

Below, Vallier shares some of the startup lessons she’s learned and his hopes for startup immortality.

Tech Cocktail: What common startup advice do you completely disagree with? 

Vallier: That you have to fail to be successful. Einstein said, “You only truly fail when you stop trying.”

Tech Cocktail: What’s the best entrepreneurship book you’ve read and why?

Vallier: 37signals’ Rework because, in startup culture, you can get bogged down with the bullshit and buzzwords, whereas Rework really focuses on the brass tacks of making users happy and making money .

Tech Cocktail: If you had an extra $1,000 to spend on marketing, what would you do?

Vallier: We recently toyed around with the idea to spend $1,000 per month to create reusable shopping bags featuring promotional materials. It’s a green initiative that would help people, while, at the same time, spreading the Jellifi message.

Tech Cocktail: What’s the weirdest way someone has used your product?

Vallier: Daily Dot online magazine hired us to create a grand demonstration during SXSWi that featured live choreographed dancers, a marching band, and Newsies to hand out their publications. You may have seen us marching down Sixth Street with the infamous Dead Music Capital Band Zombies.

Tech Cocktail: What’s the most encouraging sign of success you’ve seen so far?

Vallier: Microsoft taking us under their wing with providing backup support and hosting of our site.

Tech Cocktail: What’s your crazy, long-term, huge vision?

Vallier: Taking over the world, of course. I believe it’s really called “international exposure.”

Tech Cocktail: If your startup were a cocktail, which one would it be and why?

Vallier: A martini. There are so many different styles of them, one just has to choose based on taste and style to find the one that is their favorite.

Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about your office culture? 

Vallier: It’s almost a quirk or weirdness you can’t put into words, and they are endless. For one, we have this beautiful hippie painter that we found on Sixth Street during SXSW. We have since contracted him to paint our Jellifi mural and logo on the front wall of our office. When finished, it will look like a sea of jellyfish that are animated and breathe with our special color-changing lights.

Jellifi was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Austin mixer in April.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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