On with the questions ...
(1) What is the reason your company exists (and what problem(s) are you looking to solve)?
Dealflicks exists to get butts in movie theater seats. 88% of movie theater seats are empty, in fact, 95% of seats are empty after opening weekend. This is a major problem for theaters in the US and abroad. Since theaters generally rely on the marketing conducted by studios to promote their own films, there haven’t been many (if any) cost-efficient, effective solutions for theaters to target empty seats. Dealflicks solves this problem by only selling inventory that our theater partners designate as ‘hard-to-fill’, the 88% empty seats.
(2) How are you different from your competitors?
There aren’t any direct competitors, but we do have many companies that are close to us. Traditional online movie ticket providers (Fandango/Movietickets.com) have been very successful over the years, but they only sell full-priced tickets and charge convenience fees. As a result, they mainly focus on show times that are in high demand, so Dealflicks is complementary to their service. Daily deal sites do offer deals for movie theaters here and there, but it’s difficult to make sure that theater-goers use these vouchers for empty-seat show times vs. popular show times. Also, some retailers such as Costco sell discount tickets for certain large theater chains, but these offerings are intermittent and require advanced purchasing. Also, from the theater’s perspective, this method doesn’t allow the targeting of empty seats.
(3) Why will you succeed (and what is your single most important ingredient for success)?
We’ve been able to have success over the past 1.5 years since our launch because of our relationships with exhibitors. Unlike many others, we really focus on this aspect and build long-term, personal relationships. Our business development team travels the country (see http://pando.com/2013/05/13/startup-hustle-why-two-men-decided-to-sleep-together-in-a-van-for-months-on-end/) and understands the needs and issues of each individual theater. Also, we have some great technology. There are many complex back-end solutions that we’ve implemented, and we recently launched our API (see http://developers.dealflicks.com) which allows other apps/websites to white label and sell Dealflicks’ inventory directly within their app. In fact, this is the first open movie ticketing API in the history of the US :)
(4) What makes you unique (and what do you enjoy most outside of building your business)?
Lol, a few things :) I’ve had a weird last 12 years: As a freshman at UCB in 2001, I experienced 9/11 just a month after school started. I somehow ended up getting involved in the pro-America movement (see http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,181582,00.html). Shortly after, my brother and I started a long-distance door-to-door sales, then I bought a Porsche, dropped out of school, and moved to LA when I was 19. By age 21, my brother and I grew the business to over $1M in revenue, and we bought a $1.2M home in San Juan Capistrano (I also bought a Ferrari 360). I thought I was going to be a billionaire, until the long-distance company we contracted went bankrupt in November 2004. We lost everything (well, I did keep the Porsche), and we started over selling refurbished cell phones. I struggled quite a bit in 2005, and I believe God used that experience to reach me. I joined a two-year, full-time ministry program with my church, grew in character, and then went back to UCB in summer 2008. I ended up doing well this time around, graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in Economics. I then had the idea for Dealficks after I graduated in early 2011.
The short story: I love skiing, basketball, watching movies, and eating great food. I haven’t drank alcohol since 2004, I’m a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I’m now engaged to my beautiful fiancé Channchi, I’m almost vegan again (I was vegan for 1.5 years in 2006/2007), my brother and I founded/run a non-profit now called Project Pueblo, and I spend a lot of time hanging out with my family. I’m also Bangladeshi (not too many of us in the states :)
(5) What digital media trend is most interesting to you (and what is the least)?
I’ve always been interested in the trend of alternative content in movie theaters. While it’s just starting, made possible by movie theaters’ recent conversions to digital projectors, I can’t wait for the day when major sporting events like March Madness, the Superbowl, etc. are ‘playing in theaters near you’.
In terms of the least interesting media trend to me, hmm, maybe any trends involving second screen stuff (I don’t really personally use second screens because I don’t have a TV in my apartment :)