Matt Bloom is the founder and CEO of CRIMEWATCH Technologies. CRIMEWATCH generates social insights to help law enforcement fight crime, while creating a dialogue between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Anne Parmer: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Matt Bloom: Some people are born entrepreneurs, others like me, become entrepreneurs to pursue their life’s work. I started CRIMEWATCH because I got into some trouble when I was young. Looking back on my life, I know I wouldn’t be here today if there hadn’t been some type of law enforcement interdiction. As I grew up and became a father, I realized how significant that experience was for turning me around. This is when I decided to start CRIMEWATCH. Police serve an important function in our society and with my individual experience I felt I was uniquely qualified to address the gap that exists between law enforcement and their communities.
What is your vision for the future of your company? Of your community?
Now more than ever, the need for CRIMEWATCH is becoming clearer. There needs to be more transparency between law enforcement and the public. CRIMEWATCH is the solution for this. We are in an ever-changing world and CRIMEWATCH is adapting to meet those needs. While the core vision still holds true and strong, we are developing to meet the market needs of right now and the future.
What has been the biggest challenge to creating a new venture?
Since day one, I have been wading through a sea of skeptics who doubt that success is possible (or even hope for failure). That skepticism can shut down any aspiring entrepreneur’s ambitions. But, as I have come to learn, successful entrepreneurs find empowerment from this.
Tech entrepreneurship has become the gold rush of our century, there is an ecosystem of people wanting to share ideas, advice, guidance, capital, contacts, etc. to help you become successful. Over the years I invested a lot of my time on people who promised to be game changers between failure and success. I learned that failure and success fall only on the shoulders of the Founder. As a Founder your time is limited, so use it wisely. Do research and be aware of who you are working with.
What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?
There is an adage that defines entrepreneurism as “spending many years like others will not, so you can live your life in ways that others cannot.” I have found it to be true; if you’re not ready to invest in the struggle, you’re never going to reach the destination. With this knowledge, I would have advised myself to spend less and expect less.
Tell me about your biggest surprise or lesson learned as an entrepreneur?
I don’t know if I can identify one surprise; everything is a surprise. However, I can impart three important lessons:
Lesson 1: Build a business, not a start-up. The industry of start-ups is conditioning an entire generation of entrepreneurs to base their success on a fantasy. It’s hard to raise capital, hedge your bets and start a business first.
Lesson 2: Never forget why you started this business and the vision that drives you, but don’t neglect the function of business. If you neglect your administrative functions and screw up contracts/invoicing, you’ll have nothing.
Lesson 3: Write it on a napkin, type it out, hire a lawyer…get all team agreements in writing and signed. Make copies. Don’t store them in your office.
What question did I miss? What else should I know about you?
Last thing, and this has been hard for me, is that the relationships change and not everything is going to be fun. Especially when it comes to hiring and letting people go. Think long and hard about hiring someone because in the initial stages it is a long and intimate commitment. It can be painful if it falls apart.
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