Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: Picking Duck

September 3, 2015

4:00 pm

From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year at our annual Tech.Co Celebrate Conference in October. Among the participants that applied for the online competitions, only a progressed into the semi-finals.

Climbing the ranks for our Western Region, Picking Duck was one of two semi-final winners. If they come out on top, Picking Duck can expect prizes and support from Tech Wildcatters, 500Startups, Consumer Electronics Association, Crowdfunder, Techstars, American Airlines, and more!

In order to get a better understanding about what they do and how they are preparing for Celebrate, we sat down with Picking Duck CEO Ken Manubay to pick his brain.

Tech.Co: Since launch, what was the most challenging part of gaining market traction?

Ken Manubay: Obtaining users was the most challenging part so far. Sounds easy: “build it and they will come…”, but that’s hardly the case. There’s a lot of work that goes into selling the product to users who are already doing something a certain way. However, as we continued to try different things to obtain these users, we figured out a winning formula, and all we need to do now is continue this process to grow our users.

Tech.Co: What was the road like leading up to your initial pitch for the competition? Did you do anything in particular to rally your fans?

Manubay: Leading up to the initial, local pitch competition we were pitching to family and friends for practice and for possible investment opportunity. We believe this in-person pitch to our family and friends is what really got them to support us and to share it with their network.

Although our family and friends liked the idea and enjoyed the presentation, none of them were in a position to really invest monetarily, so their best way to help was by spreading the word to get us more support. Of course, we – four of us – tapped our entire professional and personal network from LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as all the emails we have captured to this point from our website over the past few months.

Tech.Co: How is the Picking Duck team prepping for Celebrate in October?

Manubay: This will be our first time having a table at an event so we are excited to prepare some display materials and giveaways. We will also be tightening up our pitch to ensure a well thought out delivery that really engages the crowd and judges – we want to show them that Picking Duck is the Startup of the Year! I’d think we are also at an advantage since the event will be in Las Vegas and our startup has to do with gambling.

Tech.Co: Since your launch what campaign or part of Picking Duck are you most proud of?

Manubay: I am most proud of the feedback and response we receive from all our users and everybody in our industry. We knew we were creating something totally different in this industry that nobody has ever seen but to get that validation just gives us more and more drive to push forward.

Tech.Co: Favorite team?
Manubay: The team that wins me money is my favorite team! In sports wagering, if you have a favorite team that you feel partial to, it’s a good idea NOT to bet on them. So, I use that to my advantage and don’t have a favorite. I prefer green rather than bleed Dodger blue or Laker’s Purple & Gold. I’m the odd one in my team though. The rest of them have their favorite, so you just asked the wrong guy this question.

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Elliot is an award winning journalist deeply ingrained in the startup world and is often digging into emerging technology and data. When not writing, he's likely either running or training for a triathlon. You can contact him by email at elliot(@) or follow him on Twitter @thejournalizer.

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