299 E. Sixth St
Cincinnati, OH

Rodney Williams of Lisnr

How did you start your business?
Lisnr was officially formed in March of 2012 by five members of Cincinnati, Ohio's Startup Bus bound for competition at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Made up of Rodney Williams, Chris Ridenour, Chris Ostoich, Nikki Pfahler, and Josh Glick, that founding team is still with the company today. This team was the lead team winning the Ohio bus and ultimately securing a top-ten finish after making it to the semi-finals.

How did you come up the idea for your business?
Ideation started in January after I saw a need to connect to consumer and fans in a more convenient and tailored way. This led to the discovery and development of certain technologies that could deliver this experience in a way that changes how experiences are delivered to a mobile device.

In summary, we’ve created a patent-pending technology that touches consumers while they are engaging in the things they love and that amplifies that experience to something totally new.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The StartupBus was extremely critical and valuable in the creation of Lisnr. Our entire team had fulltime obligations and we never had the time and resources in such a concentrated amount of time to launch such a big idea. The intent of the StartupBus is to create and launch a company in 72 hours. The 72 hours is filled with milestones, pitches and opportunities to connect to mentors and advisors along the way to SXSW. This was a catalyst for us.

By the time we were off the bus, we had established many connections that led to us being funded by CincyTech within the next three months. Chris Ostoich was also an integral part of team’s ability to capitalize on the city’s resources.
Chris Ridenour and Nikki Pfahler are also very connected in Cincinnati’s startup community; they are coordinators of Cincinnati’s Startup Weekend.
What inspires you?
Einstein once told us, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” This curiosity -- and the passion to pursue it relentlessly -- fueled many inventions that continue to affect our world.

Ideas and people that change the perspectives of our world today are my driving ambition. I remember the chills I felt when Steve Jobs said, “A thousand songs in your pocket,” when introducing the iPod. To me, innovation is that easy. Every day brings a chance to recreate the wheel of yesterday, the computer of today and the mind of tomorrow.

What’s next for you and your company?
We are launching our beta application in December with our seed round closing in the next 60 days. At the end of the 2012, we will hire two additional employees, and by mid next year, we should be entering our preparing our full launch.

Interview by Robin Donovan