Argus Venture - MyStartupLand

This is the story of a group of college students who spotted a gap in the market and are trying to fill it with the best possible solution.

The intro to this interview might sound like the stories of many startups. However, the team at Argus Venture is trying to solve one of the major issues for American college students.

Everyone knows that university is quite expensive in the States but what are these costs made of?

University fees are indeed high. The costs, though, don’t stop there for students. A survey has shown that the average student “invests” $1200 a year for textbooks alone. College bookstores offer students a way around this with “textbook buy back”, but this is, to say the least, a joke.

The team at Argus Venture has decide to facilitate buying and selling of textbooks without middleman to maximise what the students would make back.

In this exclusive interview with MyStartupLand, we talk with Kingsley, the founder at Argus Venture.

Argus Venture - MyStartupLand

1.     Hi guys, thanks for joining me today in this interview! Let’s start with something you should be familiar with and will help everyone understand Argo Venture’s objective. What’s the elevator pitch for your startup?

Argus Venture is a Kentucky based software development firm. We’re currently designing our first app, the Argus Textbook Trading app. Tired of buying overpriced textbooks? Our app eliminates the need to buy expensive textbooks again through our unique buy/sell/trade platform.

2.     Argus is addressing with this app a very specific need in the market, what has been the driving factor in developing your idea?

It has been a passion of the founders of Argus to create a company that would make a positive change in people’s lives. We experienced first hand the extremely expensive costs of college textbooks. After more research, we found out that a lot of families and students were suffering either financially or in the classroom due to these high prices. We want to fix this.

3.     Kingsley, you are the founder, the one who came up with the idea, what has inspired you to take the road of entrepreneurship?

Since high school, I have always wanted more than what my school curriculum was offering me. I didn’t want to wait around for the right job after college but instead pursue my own passions. I am young, this is the time in my life I can be high risk and do extraordinary things. I was a part of one non-profit that really inspired me to pursue my dreams of becoming my own boss.

4.     The dream to become our own boss is an exciting thought for many but startup founders go through a lot of ups and downs, what keeps you motivated and focused on the target? How do you manage to keep that motivation up within your team?

It definitely has been a struggle financially especially when considering what comes into play in developing an app. It’s not easy to keep your employees motivated especially if there is no money to be made, yet. What I always tell my team is that this company has the ability to do great things and continue to tell them how good of a job they are doing.

It helps when you find like-minded individuals who have the same vision as you to make the world a better place. People like that usually don’t come at a cost. When our app launches, things will change but our team is so cohesive and understanding that it is manageable to keep people motivated.

5.     Mentors and advisors are important figures, especially for young startup founders. However, finding the right help can be challenging. Can you walk us through how you managed to find the right support? If you could summarize in 3 keywords the key qualities you looked in an advisor or mentor, what would these be?

When looking for mentors, I sought out people who had been in my shoes before. People who had an idea and wanted more than anything to make it happen and who had been successful in their pursuits. These people helped working alongside Argus

6.     That’s a great point. What’s the best advice you’ve got so far?

Stay true to yourself. Don’t sell yourself short. Set short term goals with the long term goals in mind at all times. It is easy to lose yourself in the process and feel like nothing is being accomplished but as long as you communicate, stay positive and set short term goals for individuals and the team, everything will fall into place.

Argus Venture - MyStartupLand

7.     Let’s talk about something a little bit more complicated, stress. This is a natural companion in the journey to success. Can you suggest to other startup founders, who might be going through some rough waters, what’s the best way, in your opinion, to deal with it?

Fellow entrepreneurs, it is all part of the process. While I am not veteran at being an entrepreneur, I am living through the process as we speak. It is important to listen to your advisors, your friends, and your family. Surround yourself with a good supportive staff and you will being able to withstand the rough waters.

8.     How did the startup life change you?

After starting Argus Venture, I have become more confident and diligent in my work. Seeing this company thrive is an amazing feeling and I can’t wait to see where Argus goes next!

9.     When running a startup, there are several components that become priorities: product, team, culture, funding, and so on… what’s your top priority when running your startup and why?

With Argus Venture, my top priority was getting a strong team behind me. People who shared the same vision I have and who want Argus Venture to be just as successful as I do. I also wanted a competent team, where each team member has a unique strength that they bring to the company, whether that be development and engineering or marketing and being personal

10.  Did you raise venture capital? If yes, what would you suggest to other startup founders that are getting into VC funding? If not, are you going to look for funding and how would you go about it?

Argus is entirely self-funded by the three owners of the company. We had a vision and simply ran with it. We have talked with investors along the way, many of whom believed in our company and are still considering backing it

11.  How much influence did customers interviews have while building your startup?

Customer interviews were a key part of our company. By establishing a good reputation in the college community and having a network of people who believe in our company, we have managed to generate a good backing of customers eagerly awaiting the release of the Argus Textbook Trading app

12.  How has your startup been perceived by the market so far? How does your current growth look like?

Our growth has been impeccable! In less than a month, we’ve grown from a small idea to a fully staffed software development team and are preparing our Argus app for beta testing

13.  What advice would you give to first-time startup founders?

Never give up on your dreams and ideas. If you believe you have an idea that could better the world, take it and expand it. Get people behind you who can support and encourage you and your efforts. Most importantly, never tell yourself that you can’t do it

14. In which country is your company based? How is the startup environment?  

We are based in the United States with foreign extensions in Sweden and Germany. In the US, we’ve been grateful to have found a network of supportive individuals who were willing to lend us their time to help advise our company and the direction it’s taking.

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