IF StartUp Spotlight: Our Snappay Founder

Originally posted on CanuckSEO.com

A new item now on our Hamilton based Innovation Factory website is their publication of local success strories and the lead off one is of our own Snappay Founder, Lorne Lantz!

I am so proud of this young man – and yes, a reminder that I’m also involved with Snappay as their CMO and have been working hard for Lorne to help market Snappay, our mobile POS application that allows a user to charge a customer’s credit cards with no hardware!

And while I’d like to think that I could add something to the Spotlight story – I can’t so here’s a re-post of the whole piece….and if you’d like to see it over at the Innovation Factory site, then just click here!

Lorne Lantz –
Our Snappay Founder

Elevator Pitch

POS systems are way too expensive for most small merchants around the world. Snappay instantly turns any smartphone into a POS machine, no crazy fees, no additional hardware, just sign up and instantly begin accepting payment.

What was the inspiration for your company?

Everyday we make about 10 purchases, that cup of coffee in the morning, walmart runs etc. The way we pay hasn’t caught up to today’s technology. Why do merchants have to rent $50 terminals when they have an iPhone in their pocket? Why do I need a paper receipt when I can have it emailed to me? I’m passionate about payments and Snappay is my first mission to improve the way we buy & sell.

Did you have an ‘ah-ha’ moment when you got the idea to start your business?

Last summer I visited my friend, who was selling $200 jewelry pieces at an Artist trade show. She was so desperate to accept credit card payments through PayPal that she setup a table with a laptop, internet stick, printer and generator. As I walked around the show I noticed that the other merchants were all cash only. So I built Snappay.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?

Everyday is completely new, my industry changes so fast and there’s always a new problem to solve. It’s like I’m playing a video game for the first time and I’m on the advanced level.

The hardest part of my days is maintaining focus on executing my existing plan. There’s so many shiny objects that come by me as entreprenuer, “Oh it would be cool to add this feature, oh it would awesome to do a deal with this company”, but you gotta stay completely focused on what’s gonna get you the win.

How do you measure success? What is the best recognition you have received?

Success = When you’ve made a positive impact on the world.

I really believe everyone of us has a special talent and we should all use our talents to help improve the world we live in. Peter Parker’s uncle said it best “With great power, comes great responsibility”

Best recognition I’ve gotten was walking up on stage to get my diploma after graduating from High School, Engineering, and MBA….you work so hard for so many years and your family is there to say “We’re proud of you”. Winning $10,000 at a big PayPal conference was pretty cool too.

What are your plans for the next year?

Continue improving the way we buy & sell things, and most importantly having fun!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals or students studying to pursue a career in your field?

Any success I have today is because I’ve failed in the past, and learned from those mistakes. Just need to go out, do it and the rest will follow. Surround yourself with people smarter than you, find good mentors, follow your passion, keep innovating, and most importantly Have Fun.

The flow chart below is a rough guideline of how I approach entrepreneurship:

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First a fireman, then a basketball star, then a musician, and then I got a computer and got hooked on making computer games…the rest is history.

What’s your current tech setup?

Android phone, with iPod to test Snappay on. Toshiba laptop with a large monitor….oh and did I mention the car computer?

What websites do you check daily?

www.innovationfactory.ca – to keep up with Hamilton’s innovation scene

www.TechCrunch.com – to keep up to date with all the tech news

www.cbc.ca/international – to watch the news online each night, you can always skip past a story…

www.youtube.com/trends – the best way to see what’s trending in the world

If you were locked in Chapters overnight – what section would we find you in?

The programming section…I don’t have patience to read through a novel, but my attention is captured when I’m given the challenge of solving a problem. Looking up new coding techniques gives me new innovative ways to improve the way we buy and sell stuff.

If you could go to dinner with 5 people in the professional community – dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Dave McClure – He’s like the rebel Venture Capitalist. Over the past years I’ve learned a lot from watching his speeches on youtube. My favourite Dave McClure speech is called “AARRR”. If I ever meet him in person I’ll be sure to give him my best Captain Sparrow impersonation.

Bill Gates – There’s so much of my life that was influenced by his products. I would love to have a casual conversation with him about where technology is going while integrating examples of how technology got to today.

Shawn Fanning – I would love to hear his whole story of Napster, which is probably my favorite technology that completely disrupted an industry. How is it that one kid writing code in his dorm room eventually led to record stores becoming obsolete, including the iconic Sam the Record Man.

Markus Frind – Guy from Vancouver who started Plenty of Fish. I just want to know what was going on in his head when he built the first ever free dating site. From my research everyone thought he was crazy when he made the site free, and in 2008 he made $10M in revenue just from ads.

Izzy Asper – How did he build a media empire out of the small town of Winnipeg? I’m sure he’d have some amazing stories to share from opening his first TV station to acquiring companies from Conrad Black.

Favourite thing to do in Hamilton?

Bike ride from Westdale to Dundas. There’s a nice path along Cootes drive and stop for a drink at Café Domestique. Also Tally Ho is pretty awesome.

That’s Lorne….and you should NOT miss a chance to go over to the Snappay website to take a look/see at our video that shows the strength of our app too!