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A CONVERSATION WITH
MATT KOPEL,
FOUNDER OF WALTZ

1.     Tell us a little bit about Waltz and how you are looking at “access.”

Waltz has created a protocol that allows verification for the right people to access the right entry points at the right times. Our app and other services provide incremental benefits to individual users, such as a feed, event management, food and retail payment, guest invitation, marketing, and operational and security communications. Our platform also integrates access control and elevator destination dispatch systems, making us a technology layer on top of these existing systems. Landlords, building managers, and people in real estate want these extra benefits, or value-add features, but the code hasn’t yet been cracked on getting mass adoption of these products. The only way to do this is to have mobile access; however, the user experience for access has a high benchmark to reach, in that it has to be easy to use and fast. Essentially, the mobile app has to be good or better than the access card is right now. We are the only mobile-access protocol that is as good or better than the card.

2. Being a founder, you’re also a salesman. Give our readers a tip or two regarding how you have found success pitching your platform to the relatively esoteric industry that real estate is.

Many of the people we’re selling to aren’t aware of the full scope of technology. Without this base knowledge, it can be challenging to comprehend the scope of the system and the difficulty of implementation, and so it isn’t easy for them to judge whether to do this or not. They need time to grasp the full picture, so we have to understand what their time frames are and move at their pace.

The first thing you’ll definitely need to do is somehow convince one major real estate company to go with you, and then use that to branch out to the other players in the field. Typically, the majority are followers who are not going to leap on something first.

Our pitch is that we provide utility with mobile access. For us, people want this, and it suits a desire in the industry.

3. Property owners are currently being bombarded with new software and hardware products promising to save them time and money.  Most are nervous about investing in something that may become obsolete; how you do quell those concerns?

I don’t know if you can. Either you’re fulfilling something they see as a want or a need, or you’re demonstrably saving them money.

4. What’s one thing you’ve learned about running a company that you would share with other founders?

Certainly, things don’t go as fast as you think, want, or need to make what you’re doing possible. Investors and customers cause you to move slower than you think you can.

Figure out the people who are smart and connected and try to get them to be advisors and investors on your team. The hardest obstacle is getting in the door with customers, and the people in the industry know how to do just that.

With everything you do, you need to think about how it scales. Just because something works on a small scale doesn’t mean it’s finished or ready to go. “Can I still do the thing or a particular set of things if a project is 100 times, or even 1,000 times as big?” You need to be able to balance this long-term idea with short-term needs and execution requirements.

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