Are You Part of the Flokk? Trey Rhedrick Invites You to Fly Along
Trey Rhedrick | Kansas City, Mo. | Startup
Trey Rhedrick likes to experience new social events and make friends, but hates having to go to more than one source to find out what’s happening in his area. Not wanting to settle for less, Trey and Earnest McCoy created Flokk in 2014 to foster a social community for finding “events on the fly” and getting together with friends.
Having an idea that solves a problem is one thing: bringing it to reality is quite another. Below, Trey talks about why he learned to code (spoilers: overseas outsourcing) , how he built his entrepreneurial network, what his biggest challenges are now and what KC needs to do to clear the path for more multicultural entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to start your business?
I moved to Kansas City from Charlotte, North Carolina, without knowing anyone, so I had no idea of where to go or what there was to do in the area. With all the resources (apps, publications, websites, etc.) that were available I still found it to be hit or miss on finding events that I liked. It wasn’t that the information wasn’t out there, rather it was spread over many resources. It’s static and it still doesn’t tell you much about an event once it has started. I wanted to create something that would quickly and visually show what an event is like in real-time while giving valuable feedback to the attendee and event organizer. This birthed my idea for Flokk.
What is Flokk?
Flokk is not just an app, it’s an experience. We combine real-time visual indicators for metrics like crowd size and male-to-female ratio with interactive sensors to create a unique type of social interaction, as well as helping people find desirable events quickly while providing value through incentives. Event organizers may leverage our platform to post events on the fly and interact with their attendees in a new way to engage and control their crowds.
Which resources have you worked with?
In the beginning, I had a lot of training, mentorship and guidance from UMKC Small Business & Technology Development Center and the Kauffman FastTrac Program. It really helped me hone in on my message and learn how to position my value to clients. Recently, KCNext and the Enterprise Center in Johnson County have been great resources that are helping us reach clients and build a network.
When the times got tough, what inspires you to keep going?
I am extremely passionate about my company and I love challenges. I thoroughly enjoy taking a moment to reflect on where the company started and where we are today. I still have the scratch engineering paper and notebook that I first drew ideas and screens of the app on. Looking at those terribly drawn sketches and seeing how we turned that into a real product that people are using today keeps me going.
What lesson did you learn the hard way?
Early on we tried to have our app built by outsourcing the project overseas. Although we were able to get into the app store, the app was not functional and the source code was so bad that we had to start from scratch. I wish I had just learned how to program at that time instead of trying to find a quick and cheap way out. A lot of time and money was lost, but I learned a lot in the process.
What has been your biggest triumph so far?
Learning how to program, building and relaunching our app into the app store was a huge triumph for us. Now that we have the app released our user base has been constantly growing as well as our client base of event organizers.
What sacrifices in your personal life do you have to make to become a business owner?
I don’t get too sleep much anymore because I am always working. And even when I’m sleeping I’m thinking about things I could be doing or problems that I am trying to solve. Because of this I am not able to visit home in Charlotte or talk to my family as often as I used to. Also, being that I bootstrap our business, I don’t have the financial flexibility that I once had.
What is the biggest challenge your business faces today?
Advertising, promotion and marketing of our company to gain new users has been a challenge. It’s hard to get people to try something new that is not yet widely used.
What should Kansas City do to be more business friendly for Black and African-American Entrepreneurs?
Highlight more of the African-American or minority entrepreneurs in the area, continue to be open to our businesses and follow through with support. I know there are plenty of us in the area, and I personally would like to see more about the many things we are doing in the area.
Where does Kansas City get it right?
Kansas City’s resources for startups and entrepreneurs are amazing. There’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, 1WeekKC and weekly networking events like the Intentional Collisions events that the Sprint Accelerator hosts. My network is thriving and this has been critical to my success.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
Herb Rhedrick Jr. (Father), Davyeon Ross of ShotTracker and Elon Musk. I’ve learned so much about entrepreneurship, work ethic and overall business in general from all three of these individuals.
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
First, you need to have a passion for your company and be immune to doubters and the word no. I started out with an idea and it took.
Second, you must be okay with being the founder, CEO, janitor, technical support, customer service, etc. if need be. You can’t wait for someone to help you get something done, otherwise you might never get it done.
Lastly, you must be willing to endure some tough situations and conversations along the way.
Get social with Flokk
Apple App Store: Flokk