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Meet Jon Shower of iNK Digital Networking in Costa Mesa (Orange County)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jon Shower.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Personally, I feel it’s important to give a little context to pieces of my past that all contribute to where I am today with the young tech startup we have. My father, who I consider one of my biggest mentors, was huge on always instilling in me that I should focus my life on whatever I am passionate about. Never to worry about ‘the norm’, societies influence or having to force myself through things I did not truly want to pursue. This is something that has guided many decisions in my life.

One of the first major moves I made at 19 years old was joining the Marine Corps in 2006. My perspectives, thoughts, mannerisms, attitude and just about everything changed drastically over the next four years of my life. I learned how harsh life can be but at the same time, an appreciation for the life we all have. Without digging too deep, I will cut to one of the key things I learned. We truly do not know what is going to happen to us tomorrow. Things can be over in a split second. That’s a harsh but true reality. I think we often forget that. Two things in particular I left the Marine Corps vowing to do was risk big on things I was passionate about and always try to make the decision I could look back upon and not regret having done.

I say these things to really drive home that all of my big decisions in life are made simply by following my core values, personal experiences and guided mentorship. I spent the last nine years building a personal training business specifically for professional tennis athletes and C level executives in Orange County. The health and wellness world is one I love and the business was great. I had stopped taking in any new clients around 2016 and started attending more personal business growth style events just to enhance my own expertise. As I was mixing in with corporate professionals and other people in the workforce all networking with eachother and building relationships, I found it extremely difficult to keep up with the people I was meeting and actually build out authentic, meaningful relationships. This is where the concepts started coming to life for iNK. As I started talking with everyone I knew, I realized most people were in the same boat. So, I had zero technical background, zero experience in the startup game, etc. but knew I was passionate and it was what I felt I needed to do so I naively jumped right in! The short story forward is concepts were made, I brought advisers in to help me, I raised a round of capital in 2017, we launched into beta last year and are currently raising another round of capital and looking to continue the journey forward.

Has it been a smooth road?
I actually do not think there has been a smooth surface on the road….. ever haha. Where do I even start. How about I list a few things I would have done differently or ways to avoid certain mistakes.
– With a tech-oriented startup, it really would be optimal to have one or multiple technical individuals as co-founders. This will save astronomical amounts of cash that could be used for other things, allow work to be done continuously and make it easier to raise money if you choose to do so. (Many other reasons as well).
– Find a free program, courses, local incubator that you can go to and learn as much as you can from the beginning.
– It would be amazing if you built a board/small group of industry experts/professionals that would be willing to help guide you from the beginning instead of making every mistake yourself first. Do not allow it to consume you but act as a tool to leverage decisions and brain dumping.
– Research any and all competition and the market. Learn, study and make sure you have a grasp on what your about to do.
– Talk with other startups in the community and get involved with some.
– Be passionate. When the going gets tough, a lot of times its this that can drive you forward. You’re likely not being paid and days can seem impossible to deal with.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the iNK Digital Networking story. Tell us more about the business.
iNK is a mobile relationship manager that helps business professionals discover, engage and build relationships daily. One of the methods we use for growth is having a simple event management side of the technology for organizers that lets you as a user check-in to events fast from your phone, see, interact and exchange info with the attendees from your profile and then use us to keep up with all the new contacts you have made daily.

We are proud of continued progression slowly but surely. It is not easy and I think we have done a good job at making things fun while learning and working towards a common goal.

Some unique aspects would be we are Veteran owned and operated and we spend a lot of time interacting with the community in person using our software at events.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The CRM market is the largest software market by revenue per year in the world right now so there is certainly a need and desire in the space. We do see more of the workforce leaving corporate life and moving into self-employment, gig work, etc. This is great for us working with a mobile first solution geared towards those professionals out in the field. Many other trends and shifts in this space as well.

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