Chad Kim, the CEO, and founder of the SLO HotHouse Incubating company, App Scrolls, started out his company with a mission to build online communities for top grossing mobile games. Keeping in mind that the number one reason people stay in a game is because they made friends in that game, Kim wanted to create a place for players to learn more about the games, join chat rooms, and most importantly, make connections and build teams.
At the beginning of his journey, Kim used the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) resources to qualify his business ideas.
“If I can win these competitions then I will invest my time and my life into this company,” said Kim. “But if I can’t, then it’s not good enough.”
After competing in the Elevator Pitch Competition and taking home the grand prize, and then entering the Innovation Quest and receiving the second place award, Kim saw the quantitative proof he desired to prove his idea could work.
From here, Kim applied and was accepted into the SLO Hothouse Accelerator program. He said that he started off feeling uncomfortable with and uncertain about what his entrepreneurial journey would entail, but that the different seminars and mentors in the program helped him get a better grasp of what was necessary for success.
After about two years of growing his company, Kim said that he came to what felt like a halt. This led him to work for another company for about six months. In this time, he realized that he functioned best when working in his “sweet spot.” To make App Scrolls work, he needed to play his strengths and build a team to do the rest.
He jumped back into App Scrolls with a new momentum, joining the SLO HotHouse Incubator program and acquiring a new batch of influential new clients.
In the SLO HotHouse Incubator program, Kim found that relationships with other teams became one of the most influential aspects of his journey. The social connections he made in the at CIE and in the SLO HotHouse helped guide him through unfamiliar territory when building his own business, as he could learn from the mistakes and successes of others. He even started hosting game nights to help build comradery among the teams.
Beyond connections with other teams in the SLO HotHouse Incubator, Kim connected with mentors that were “game-changing” in his entrepreneurial process.
“Apply to the incubator if you want to be around like-minded entrepreneurs who will help you build your business,” said Kim.
Kim’s future plans are to continue building upon the original App Scrolls mission to help players build relationships with each other and provide an authentic place for them to come together away from the game publishers.
Community and Cal Poly student startups are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more about the SLO HotHouse Incubator program or submit an application at https://cie.calpoly.edu/launch/hothouse-incubator/.