MPO Technology: Cell Phone Solutions, Born of Frustration
Quinten Sepe | Kansas City, Mo. | Startup
Quinten Sepe thinks cell phone bills are, well, lacking. (He has a stronger word for it.) That’s why he created MPO Technology in 2015 to help bridge the gap between outdated billing structures and services (re: big bills) and actual business needs (re: lower bills).
We sat him down and asked him how and why he decided to turn a pain point (again, he probably has stronger language for that) into a startup—and who helped him along the way. Below, he shares all.
What inspired you to start your business?
I come from a (big) family of entrepreneurs. My parents have owned a small, St. Louis-based, excavating company my whole life. From the age of 13, I was advocating on their behalf against AT&T and other big technology companies to ensure their services were working properly and they were being billed fairly.
Jump forward to my college graduation in 2012. I go to work for AT&T with my rose-colored glasses, determined to be the resource I never had, to companies like my parents’. As a business account executive, I took time to personally visit my customers’ offices and go over their services with them. Time after time, I found they were spending WAY too much for what they were doing. Quickly learning that the big guys don’t take kindly to me consistently dropping the total billed revenue of my accounts, I gracefully bowed out.
Jump forward again, with technical schooling and certifications under my belt, a thriving career in IT and a nagging need to find a way to fix the problem . . . I started MPO Technology.
How did you find out about BetaBlox? How did they help your company?
We found out about BetaBlox on Facebook through a mutual friend posting about BetaBlox’s Demo Day event. After attending the event, the ideas really started brewing. When the pot began to bubble over, we decided to submit for our opportunity to be a part of the action.
Since joining BetaBlox in September, we have gained a family and network of knowledge. The best practice lectures and one-on-one mentor sessions have helped to create a preliminary roadmap for us. The goal is to get up and running quickly with as few inevitable hiccups as possible.
If you think about the definition of an incubator in a general sense, it is supposed to create the optimal environment for growth. That is what we are hoping to get out of our partnering with BetaBlox. So far, the experience has exceeded expectations.
Are there any other resources you have worked with?
Being a UMKC Alumnus myself, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a recent campus hosted event for the MAGLCC (Mid-American Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
What do I need to be an entrepreneur? I need frustration, passion and a moral compass that points true north. If I’m not upset about the problem, I’m not motivated to fix it.
How did you finance it?
The beauty of the mission, as it currently exists, is that the little that is needed to get it going
(webhosting, business cards, ad boosting, etc.) I can afford to cover myself.
When times get/got tough, what inspired you to keep going?
Salt of the earth people, that aren’t afraid to “get on it” every day and work hard. They are my inspiration. My family is an example of those people. I want to help every business owner and treat their business the same way I would treat my parents’. Every time I want to give up, every time I have a door slammed in my face, every time I find myself asking why I’m doing this, I remember how these people are getting taken advantage of. It makes me angry, and that fuels me.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
So far, our biggest challenge has been trying to explain what we’re trying to do in a concise way, and get owners to say “yes, show me where I’m being ripped off.” You would think that would be easy, everyone wants to save money, and everyone hates paying too much for technology. The problem exists where we are trying to reach business owners through the same channels as folks that would do them harm. That’s understandable. So how do we prove, in a small window of opportunity, that we really have no ulterior motive? Well, we’re still figuring that out…and we’re open to suggestions. Haha.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Oh, man. Are you ready for this one? I wish my business had no reason to exist. Yep, you heard that right.
It is my ultimate hope that one day the major technology and telecoms of the world will do right by their customers. That they will proactively change a rate plan to the best price point for the customer, that they will leverage the age of “big data” to monitor trends in customer usage and tailor their technology billing to trim waste and unnecessary cost. Refund software that was never used, scale licensing, data, minutes. Bank on customer satisfaction driving retention and sales, not deception and laziness.
I’ll stop before I get too far down the rabbit hole. Hopefully you get the picture. Until then, MPO will be here to make sure businesses are being taken care of, and only paying for what they need.
What can/should Kansas City do to be more business friendly?
It’s hard to answer this question, mostly because I’m of the belief that I shouldn’t be asking for more things when I’m not even taking full advantage of what is available to me. KC is currently a whirlwind of activity in entrepreneurship and tech startups. As a small fish, it can honestly be a little overwhelming.
Where does the city get it right?
Everywhere I turn there’s a small business event, or startup workshop, or entrepreneurial resource group. As things currently stand, you would have to put a conscious effort into NOT finding something for the small business owner or hopeful startup. Take all of that and stir in some Midwest hospitality and you have a secret sauce that you won’t find anywhere else in the nation.
In KC, the cards are on the table and it seems to be a lot less stepping on one another and a lot more giving a hand up. I’ve lived all over the country, and I CHOOSE to call KC home for that very reason.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
- Jayson and Karen Sepe – Earthworx Excavating (my parents)
My parents are some of the most hardworking, selfless, honest people you will ever meet. They live life and conduct their business by following the golden rule. I strive to model myself and my business off of them every day.
- Hailee Bland Walsh – City Gym KC
Hailee is a living example, in our own backyard, of what is means to be dedicated to your community and message. City Gym’s mantra is “Be Fit. Be Well. Belong.” If you’ve ever been lucky enough to interact with Hailee in person, you know that she is a living embodiment of that message. It isn’t just something that you will find in the gym, and printed on t-shirts, it is a way of life. Hailee inspires me to be genuine, ensure that my business is true to my morals, and always walk my talk. She’s also a beast of a spin instructor and trainer. If you haven’t been to City Gym in Waldo, you need to go!
- Scott Dinsmore – Live Your Legend
The late Scott Dinsmore is an inspiration to many, including myself. Founder of Live Your Legend, one of Scott’s main messages was to “change the world by doing work you love.” Many of his messages felt strongly of the fact that life is short and you should fill it with work that doesn’t feel like work. Filling your days and hours with meaning and purpose.
What is your favorite quote?
“Every young person would do well to remember that all successful business stands on the foundation of morality.” - Henry Ward Beecher
What has been your biggest triumph so far?
Getting started. The idea and dream has been in existence for some time. To put the pen to paper, so to speak, and come up with a way to build a (hopefully) sustainable business that gains success at the rate that it helps others. Going back to my favorite quote, the triumph is to build a business that “stands on the foundation of morality.”
Find MPO Technology
Twitter and Instagram: @mpotech #MPOtech