Raising venture capital has always been a struggle in the Palmetto State but late last year, our next guest was able to raise $5 million for her start-up, right out of the...
Q&A | A Conversation with Caleb White, Founder of WedTexts
Caleb White grew up in West Columbia, S.C. After graduating from Brookland-Cayce High School, he attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
White is the founder of WedTexts, a notification system for weddings. The main goal of WedTexts is to help engaged couples reduce the stress related to a very stressful, yet amazing time–-the time leading up to their wedding. To do that, WedTexts allows the couple to send timely reminders to their wedding guests, which are delivered right to their phones.
Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I had the good fortune of graduating from college at the exact time when there were very few jobs available for college grads…even fewer jobs available for recent college grads who majored in Psychology. So necessity.
Q: Regarding WedTexts… When did you have the “a-ha” moment?
From January to June of this year, our team was working on a completely different project. The original project was centered around improving the way businesses communicated with their customers. The project was called Rchivos, and we were running into roadblock after roadblock trying to get a Minimum Viable Product to market. A few weeks before my wedding in June, my now wife (Kelly), suggested we use the software we had built to send scheduled mass text messages to our guests, making sure they were kept in the loop during our wedding weekend. So we gave it a shot. Our guests loved it! Three of our friends that were engaged asked us about it. One of them has already used it. The other two are scheduled to use it over the next few months.
When we did our soft launch at the end of July, we did not promote the site much. We sent a few emails to wedding planners and posted twice on Facebook and Instagram. We beat our goal for couples signing up in the first 48 hours of a two-week soft launch.
Q: How has the community responded to WedTexts?
The general community does not really know about WedTexts yet. The wedding community has responded very well to WedTexts. Before we launched the site, I reached out to 40 wedding planners throughout the state, and 95% loved the concept. Several of them have referred all their clients to us since.
Also, in an effort to get additional feedback from the wedding community, I walked into a bridal boutique on Devine Street. Lisa and Kevin at London and Lace were kind enough to provide us with some great feedback, and even included WedTexts in a documentary they put together about the wedding industry in Columbia.
Q: What failures have you experienced, and what have you learned from them?
My first company was GrassCuttersUSA. The idea was to let people name their price for lawn maintenance, and then pair them with local lawn care companies. The biggest thing I learned from GrassCuttersUSA is that you cannot do everything yourself. As a first-time entrepreneur, you are naïve in thinking you can do everything it takes to run a company. I learned quickly that is simply not true.
Earlier this year, while working on Rchivos, our entire team learned several very valuable lessons. The biggest lesson was that a company cannot be all things to all people. We had an idea to improve communication. The problem was that the concept of communication is vast. We never carved out a market. Instead, we spoke to many different businesses that all had different issues when it came to communication. Our failure was that instead of focusing on one type of communication and making it better, we tried to improve many types of communication, all at the same time.
Q: What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur and being involved with a startup company, the best way I know how to grow is to try things, learn from them and try again, but better. The failure earlier this year with Rchivos prepared us to succeed with WedTexts. All of the things we learned about the telecommunications industry, SMS (text messaging), and Agile Software Development put us in a position to move quickly with WedTexts.
We have our strategic objectives for WedTexts for the week, month and year. With our business being so young, things change constantly. Because of that we have to get better at everything everyday. The goal is to constantly learn and enhance what works. A little improvement each day leads to vast improvements over time.
Q: If you could choose never to work again, would you, and why?
Not a chance. I have too many ideas, and there are too many things that need to get done and to improve upon. Luckily I have a very loving and understanding wife because there are too few people willing to take the chances necessary to bring an idea to market. I love the challenge, and the satisfaction that comes with working with people to create something new.
Q: Describe the most exciting minute of your entrepreneurial journey.
For me, the most exciting minute is every time someone signs up for an account with WedTexts. It is satisfying knowing that something we have worked so hard on is helping someone we do not know. We are grateful to be a part of our couples’ big day.
Q: If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Your first idea is not always your best idea. Be willing to change and adapt. It will only be a matter of time before you have an idea that sticks. From there, it is all up to making your vision a reality through execution.