Eric Roach is the CEO & Co-Founder of XYDO. XYDO is a new and engaging way to get news and information from people you trust. Itʼs based off the premise that the best information you consume often comes from people you have a connection with: your friends, family, colleagues, Facebook friends, people you follow on Twitter, etc. XYDO is meant to bring all those channels together in one convenient place, and provide an added degree of engagement and discovery. XYDO is currently in private beta; if youʼd like to receive an invite either a) go to xydo.com and submit your info or b) follow us on Twitter @xydoapp. He will be presenting at the upcoming NY Tech Mixer Demo & Drinks event on January 18th.
What were you doing before?
Back in the early 90ʼs, I founded a company called Lombard Brokerage, which pioneered stock trading on the Internet. After four years Lombard was acquired by Morgan Stanley, at which point I was asked by Phil Purcel and John Mack to serve on Morganʼs management board and run all of their global marketing and internal acquisitions. After three years at Morgan I was recruited by John Doerr of KPCB and Ram Shriram of Sherpalo Ventures to come back to the Valley and serve as CEO for Elance.com. I served as CEO of Elance for two years and have since worked with and invested in early-stage startups, a number of which have been acquired or have gone public.
Tell me how it all started, where did your vision/inspiration come from?
My co-founder Cameron Brain and I were introduced through a mutual connection and immediately hit it off. Our first project together was simple: we produced a blog called the RoachPost.com and focused on our own operational experiences as entrepreneurs (e.g., building a board, raising capital, etc.). While we quickly discovered we didnʼt want to write a blog, the time spent to produce content, promote it, and build our readership set us on course towards an idea that would eventually become XYDO.
Why does the world need your product. Why now?
Perhaps like you, my co-founder and I consume a lot of news, probably too much news. Given the sheer amount of content thatʼs published on a daily basis, combined with the
number of different channels through which you can consume it, we feel that itʼs becoming increasingly difficult to separate the signal from the noise. Itʼs not that we want less news and information, itʼs that we want just the good stuff, whatever that may be. We think a lot of people are feeling the same thing.
Further, with so many people on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, we think itʼs the perfect time to build an app that approaches news and information from a people angle, not a pure aggregation or algorithmic angle. There has never been more data, more channels, or more outlets like what we have today. Itʼs time to use people you trust to surface what you really care about.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Donʼt go it alone. Most businesses change course many times through their evolution. What you soon realize through working with a partner or co-founder is that the strength of your relationship is what allows you to make the right adjustments, persevere, and ultimately win. Starting a business, let alone a tech company requires a herculean amount of effort and commitment. Even if you have enough energy, creativity, and passion to be the sole man at the top, in the end you will create more value quicker if you team up with someone who is not you.
This upcoming gathering, being a Demos and Drinks event, we have to ask: what’s your favorite drink?
Eric Roach will be providing a demo at NY Tech Mixer’s January 18th event at Crimson. Visit NYTechMixer.com to RSVP.