Starting A Business by Automating a Task You Hate

What is the name of the site and URL?

http://www.cubitplanning.com

A brief synopsis of the website / application?

Cubit is an online tool that provides demographic data in seconds. Let’s say a bank was considering opening a new branch. Using Cubit, the bank manager could draw the new location on an interactive map With the click of a button, the bank manager would get data from over 60 different data sources including population trends, minority races, income, age, home prices and much more. Cubit users save 40 hours of boring, routine data-gathering work when they use Cubit versus pulling and formatting data by hand.

Why did you start this company?

Kristen Carney

Kristen Carney was in the middle of a nightmare planning project. She was working for an engineering company, doing an alternative analysis for a new roadway project. The project engineer drew 3 alternatives on a map. Kristen’s job was to complete a quantitative impact analysis of the 3 alternatives.

So, Kristen went to multiple websites and downloaded environmental data, imported the data into Excel where she formatted the data and calculated large negative impacts on the environment. So those 3 alternatives weren’t going to work. Then the engineer drew 3 more alternatives on a map, and Kristen had to go through the process all over again–multiple websites, downloaded data, formatted data, calculated negative impact numbers. And guess what? The new 3 alternatives weren’t going to work either. So the engineer drew 3 more alternatives on a map. And so it went until Kristen spent many late nights, over 100 hours and thousands of dollars pulling data for 27 different roadway alternatives.

During the project, Kristen was having lunch with her friend, Anthony Morales. She spent lunch complaining about her nightmare project to Anthony. At the time, Anthony worked for Hoovers.com–a company that automated data-gathering work for salespeople. Anthony mentioned that he could build an online tool to automate Kristen’s data-gathering if he could just get his hands on the right data. And Kristen’s background happened to be in building databases. So a partnership was formed.

Anthony Morales

Kristen and Anthony started Cubit, because data-gathering is boring and painful. Researchers and business owners should be able to focus on making data driven decisions and wrangling consensus from stakeholders rather than downloading and formatting data.

A short bio of your company:

So two years ago, Kristen and Anthony built a rough prototype of Cubit and showed it to other road planners. The planners thought the prototype was amazing, told their friends about it and asked for more tools. The rough prototype and the positive reviews helped Cubit catch the attention of a seed incubator in Austin, Texas called Capital Factory. Capital Factory is an early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides a small amount of seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies. With the mentorship of Capital Factory, Cubit began charging and now has over 450 users.

Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc use your product?

A small business owner or an entrepreneur would use Cubit if they needed to get demographic data in seconds for an area.

Do you offer free online or offline tools?

Cubit overs a free, but limited account so that users can kick the tires.

Are there different pricing levels?

Paid accounts range from $20 to $60 per month. Some users prefer to purchase individual reports which cost $249 per report.

Do you have a blog that keeps users updated?

Cubit’s blog is here: http://www.cubitplanning.com/blog

It focuses on planning data, social media and occasional Cubit announcements.

Facebook, twitter, or ?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cubitplanning

A Planetizen Top Twitter Feed on Urban Planning. Tweeting about data + urban planning + environment + GIS + start ups

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cubit-Planning/101573450744?ref=ts

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/cubit-planning

How long have you been in business?

We started charging for Cubit in July 2009.

How many employees do you currently have working with you and/or freelance contractors?

Kristen and Anthony are the two co-founders and only employees. For large projects, they use the skills of several freelance contractors as well as college interns.

What other web based products would you recommend to entrepreneurs, business owners, or freelancers?

At Cubit, we love web apps that make us more efficient. A few of our favorite tools are:

Dropbox - the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online.

1Password – securely save and instantly retrieve online passwords

Basecamp – web-based project management and collaboration tool

Tungle – online calendar and scheduling app

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