Today we’d like to introduce you to Sunil Mohan.
Sunil, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m the co-founder of Markk, a free mobile app that lets users rate places using just pictures and video, on a rating scale of Nope, Okay or Dope. Ratings last for just 24 hours, so everyone in the community can see the best places around them right now.
My jump into the entrepreneurial world has been a long time in the making. After graduating from college way back in 1999, I spent the last 20 years working in the digital advertising industry. Throughout my career, I found myself craving risky challenges that needed to me to hustle together people and partners to create ambitious new products, campaigns and ventures from scratch all over the world, in places like London, Berlin, Portland, Singapore, Malaysia and Mumbai. While it was rewarding in many ways, my urge to break out on my own and build something for myself kept getting bigger. I started taking on side hustles with other entrepreneurs to learn from them and build my confidence to take a leap of my own.
Fortunately, In July 2018, Shachin Bharadwaj, a family member and a 2-time entrepreneur from India reached out and wanted my advice on the US launch of a new startup. Serendipitously, it was in a space that I had been thinking about for a while so I jumped at the opportunity, and what was initially a side hustle ultimately led to me quitting my career and moving to LA to become co-founder of Markk in May 2019, at the young age of 42!
Has it been a smooth road?
I thought I had done the hard part in actually leaving a successful career to start out on my own. Boy was I in for a rude shock!
Getting a business off the ground is a daily struggle – despite all of the great wisdom that is in books, articles and podcasts, you find yourself dealing with new unknowns every day. You have to learn to trust your instincts very quickly, accept that you’re going to get some decisions wrong and develop the confidence that you can fix them in future.
I came to LA to launch this ambitious startup with patchy knowledge of the city and no real relationships to speak of. Convincing local businesses around LA to support a brand-new startup with a small number of users has been a continuous challenge. We tried to approach marketing agencies to help us make some of the connections with businesses and consumers, but we found it hard to align on budgets and goals.
On a personal level, the transition from ‘working for the man’ to driving my own business has been a humbling experience. I find myself learning new things and new ways of doing old things every day!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Markk Inc. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Markk is a live ratings app that shows you videos and photo ratings from places around you in real-time so you can make a better decision on where to go next. We are powered by the community, and since launch we have a growing number of Angelinos ‘Markking’ a variety of places all over LA.
We’re making ratings a lot better. No more lengthy reviews to read or write, just ratings that are visual so you can see what’s going on at places right now, rather than read someone’s opinion about it after the fact. We’re also doing away with the star rating scale, and replacing it with a simple Nope, Okay or Dope. This not only makes it simpler when you rate a place but also says everything you need to know if you want to go to a place.
We’re better for business and the community. Ratings on Markk last only 24 hours so as a business you get to start fresh every day. We see businesses and consumers as being part of the same larger community, so we’re really proud of creating a platform that highlights the best businesses on the day rather than shaming someone who’s had a bad day, forever.
We reward users for their contributions. We believe that people who rate places make an important contribution to the community, so should be rewarded. When you rate a place on Markk, you get points which can then be redeemed for rewards that have real value – anything from Amazon gift cards, restaurant gift cards, Apple Airpods and even a business class trip for two to any destination in the world! Unlike other platforms that monetize people’s content, we reward people’s contributions.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We decided to launch Markk in Los Angeles because of its importance in driving global culture and tastes. The last six months here have been a chastening experience for sure, but I’m even more in love with the city now. The diversity of people and the energy in everyone you meet is infectious for a newcomer to LA. Everyone seems to be hustling to achieve something with their lives and that makes you want to work harder yourself. Living and working Downtown is one of my favorite parts of being in LA. It feels like the rich history that’s everywhere is being rewritten by the vibrant young crowd that is moving into Downtown, and we love being part of that story.
Ironically, the thing I love most about LA is also the thing that I find frustrating often, the people! It feels like everyone is in constant hustle-mode, so despite their best intentions, they’re not always able to follow through. It’s a learning process for me though, and for the most part, I’ve found Angelinos welcoming and supportive.
- Markk is free to download from the Apple app store and the Google Play store
- Address: 700 S Flower St, STE 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90017
- Website: http://www.getmarkk.com
- Phone: 213.600.6082
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/getmarkk/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getmarkk/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/getmarkk/
Sothan Thach, Community Manager at Markk