I found EpicStep.com co-founder Lev Reys by mistake. It was one of those nights I was wasting time on the internet and I was quite happy when I surfed on over to EpicStep.com. I actually found the guys of EpicStep by searching the term “startups” on a Google search. I quickly fired off an email through the EpicStep contact page and Lev said he was up for an interview. The following, is the result. Thanks Lev for the answers I’m looking forward to a bunch of good stuff from you and the team at EpicStep.com.
What kind of projects have you and the team worked on before stepping out with EpicStep.com?
We have been in the outdoor advertising game for years. Usually as consultants and media buyers for individuals, businesses and organizations.
For those who have not yet discovered EpicStep, can you explain the concept?
EpicStep is a platform for creating and funding billboards for the messages you care about. It’s a place where like-minded people unite to make their voices heard via giant billboards for all to see. Billboards are expensive. By splitting the cost amongst multiple supporters, individuals can contribute what they can afford and still make a huge impact.
Where did you first hear about crowd-funding?
Groupon. Later, Kickstarter.
So you allow people to rant really loud and publicly. Do you have limitations on what can be displayed?
We’re all about free speech and pushing the envelope, but do not condone hateful messages, comments or campaigns. No bigotry.
What is the most controversial billboard design yet that you’ve approved a campaign for?
LOL, I think just about every campaign we run is pretty controversial – take a look at our current campaigns. We have approved campaigns for just about everything. I am attaching a zip file of screenshots of some of our previous campaigns to show you what we have approved in the past.
How many billboard campaigns have been successfully completed?
6 successful campaigns. Check them out here.
Do you think 2012, being a tremendous advertising cycle due to the national elections, will be a banner year for EpicStep?
We sure hope so. We would love to be the go-to site for creating and funding political ads
I see you guys span the political spectrum. Lev is an independent, Eugene a Republican and Gene is a liberal. Are you open to campaigns for any political candidate, even a conservative?
Once a campaign has not raised enough funds for completion, can that campaign ever be run again?
Yes but a new campaign must be created with the same info. A feature we are working on now is a ‘2ND CHANCE OPTION’ for unsuccessful campaigns that we hope to implement in the next 2 months. I can tell you more about this in a month or so.
A question some people may ask is, “How do you make money?”
If a project is successfully funded, EpicStep will apply a 10% fee on the funds raised. If funding isn’t successful, there are no charges. Check out our FAQ for more info.
In another money related question, are you backed by a VC or do you have angel investors helping get EpicStep to go beyond the startup stage?
Nope. All on our own thus far. We wanted to create a working platform with a growing user base prior to approaching investors. Now that we have some happy users, we have some appointments set up with VCs and Angels in San Francisco around mid August.
I found EpicStep by searching the terms “startup” and “craigslist” via Google. I found one of your ads looking for a new team member. How do most people find EpicStep?
Most of our users come directly from a campaign that was spread to them. They either saw the campaign through a friend//follower on a social network or were directed to a specific campaign by some other means. Since every campaign has it’s own circle of followers and supporters, most of our user acquisition has come through the particular campaigns being run on the site.
Where is the EpicStep headquarters? And what is a typical day in the office like for you guys?
The world is our headquarters! All we need is our laptops :). We don’t pay for an actual office space (no need – we are small and efficient), so we rotate between our various apartments, coffeeshops, and any other place we can get free wi-fi. Don’t judge us 😛
Although each of you is quite open about a lot of stuff on your “about” page, I always ask my interviewees to name one thing people may not know about them. Can you guys share something with my readers?
We have no idea what we are doing and constantly learning as we go. This is the first website we have ever created and even the simplistic things can often unravel into infinite problems. Truth is, WE LOVE IT.
Thanks for taking the time to pay attention to us.
All the best,