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Unlock the key to your target audience with Access2Insight

Today data is the backbone of any successful online venture. Whether you’re trying to wrangle in as many users as possible on your new social network for wine lovers or find out if there’s even a market for that Robocop fan fiction website you’ve spent the last three months coding, you’ve got to find and, more importantly, understand your audience.

Data is crucial, and Chicago-based startup Access2Insight can help you find out what makes your customers tick. Offering a complete customer relationship management solution, Access2Insight’s eight-person team will harness your consumer data and build the most effective strategies to move your business forward.

We sat down with Access2Insight co-founder Matt Johnson, who answered questions on behalf of the team, to discuss the madness of moving from a stable job into the startup world, the company’s unusual decathlon that’s likely to become a yearly tradition, and what’s next for Access2Insight in 2013.

What is the backstory behind Access2Insight?

We were working together at a large ad agency and didn’t feel the environment was ideal for us and the team. But we had passion for the work and we wanted to stay together as a unit and build something we fully believed in.

Going to salaries of $0 wasn’t really of interest, so we approached the owners of Biggs Gilmore, a 150-person digital agency based in Michigan, and worked with them to create a joint venture. We brought the team and they provided capital, infrastructure, and a few clients to get us started. 

When did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

For David (Rasho), that question is easy: from birth. Kristy (Gibbs) and I grew into it later in life.

Who are some people that inspire you?

Anyone that struck out on their own and made a go at their own business is an inspiration. I also find inspiration in anyone that is really passionate about what they do and work hard at it. That’s a recipe for success.

What do you like to do for fun?

We’re a pretty athletic bunch, with three college varsity athletes among the eight of us.  Early in our company’s history, we held a decathlon of (unconventional) events to keep us sharp mentally and physically. Hopefully it becomes an annual tradition.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do as an entrepreneur?

We had some legal issues associated with the departure from our previous employer.  It was draining (physically, emotionally and financially), so that was pretty tough. I think in the end it will make us stronger, though.  I think leaving relatively comfortable situations was another difficulty for us, as I’m sure it is for a lot of entrepreneurs. 

If you had all the money in the world, what would your days look like?

Is this one of those thought experiment questions? I guess if we had all the money in the world, we’d spend our days trying to give some to the 7 billion people that had none, while trying to still make it to our kids’ school events.   

What advice would you give to any beginning entrepreneurs out there?

I can’t say we’ve been at this long enough or been successful enough to really have advice worth heeding, so we’ll pass along advice we’ve gotten: Know your service and your customer; don’t obsess about failing (but don’t forget it’s a possibility in the absence of work); people will want to help you, so ask. 

What’s next for Access2Insight?

It’s full steam ahead at this point. We’ve got a good foundation of clients and of high-demand skills, and have built solid momentum through business development efforts.  We think there is tremendous opportunity in this space for companies to become more data-driven and customer-centric, and we think our skills are suited to help a growing roster of clients do just that. We’re looking forward to an exciting ride. 

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