andrew-allison
 

Location

Austin, TX

Hometown

Scarsdale, NY
#00347

Andrew Allison, Main Street Hub

Bio

  • Andrew Allison is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Main Street Hub, which provides great local businesses around the world with do-it-for-you products that make them stronger, at a price that works for them.
  • Founded in 2010, Main Street Hub serves thousands of local businesses in all fifty states and on three continents. The company moved its headquarters to Austin in 2011.
  • Prior to Main Street Hub, Andrew attended Stanford University's business and law schools, and he worked in politics and education policy in New York City and Washington.
  • [Photo by René Lego Photography]
  • TRANSCRIPT
  • WHAT IS MAIN STREET HUB? HOW DID IT START?
  • Main Street Hub is the company that connects great local businesses with their customers. We do everything for them on social media that they should be doing -- managing their Facebook pages, Twitter, Yelp, Google Places, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, you name it. We do all of the work so they can focus on what they do best.
  • When we started Main Street Hub, it wasn't Main Street Hub. It was a different company that was geared towards helping auto mechanics find customers online. We heard from them over and over again that they were concerned with taking advantage of the opportunities in social media and on the customer review websites, and also they didn't have the time or the interest to be doing that on their own.
  • So if there were some kind of service or product that could provide them with a solution to the challenges facing them online and the opportunities they could gain online, and if that service could do all the work for them, they were really excited about that.
  • In having those conversations with them, we learned of the much greater opportunity to serve not just auto mechanics, but also local businesses generally who have those same concerns.
  • ANY ADVICE FOR STARTUPS?
  • The lesson that we learned very early on, that is the lesson that I still give to everyone who cares to know: really try to ship early and sell the product early. Because you can stay in a room with a whiteboard and draw all the fantasies you want on the wall. The question is: Do your clients, do your customers really want what you're building? And you're not going to learn that until you go out there and ask customers to pay for the service that you're trying to provide.
  • WHAT'S NEXT FOR MAIN STREET HUB?
  • Though we currently offer a social media management product, I don't think that that's all we'll do in the future, because new platforms evolve, behaviors change, and to stay current and to keep our clients current, we'll need to evolve as well. So we see ourselves growing in social and growing outside of social. Basically whatever we need to do to put our local business clients where their customers are, we're going to do that.
  • WHAT'S INSPIRING ABOUT YOUR TEAM?
  • One of the most amazing parts about the growth we've experienced over the last year is in our town hall meetings, which started out in Austin, ten people, twenty people huddled around a small corner of the room, and now it's a video conference with New York and San Francisco and we have a hundred people who are on the line asking questions, updating each other on their progress. It's truly amazing to see a team like that grow in the course of a year and to see that culture develop and start to sustain itself.
  • WHY LAUNCH IN AUSTIN?
  • We chose to locate in Austin because it's a great startup hub. It has fantastic product and engineering talent, design talent. It's a really creative city, and for our business that's very important. The community is so open and so interested in helping each other that we were pretty quickly introduced to a lot of people around town who took an interest in us because they wanted to see the city succeed.
  • Downtown is such a vibrant place. It's a great area for being able to walk down the street and meet advisers, potential investors, potential employees, and colleagues.
  • WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR AUSTIN?
  • I think Austin in 10 years is going to be a very different place than it is right now, and I think it'll be different in all good ways, I hope. The university is going to be the hub of entrepreneurial activity, I think, in the city, and downtown will be where the companies that are growing out of the university and coming to Austin will locate.
  • I think that there's so much potential that's already been realized, but I think there's a long way to go too. I want to be as much of an evangelist as possible for what's here, especially having come from California.