The post was originally published on ShoutoutHTX.com.
We had the good fortune of connecting with Richard Loew and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Richard, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Soon after the beginning of the pandemic, I was examining my future and debating what a change in my professional trajectory would look like. I have a background of more than 30 years experience in management of large complex problems that have an underlying tech component and a previous colleague approached me about setting up a U.S. entity to support the company he started in Europe. The vision was to support the development of a larger commercial distribution footprint. The product provides a platform for digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising via a large display screen and artificial intelligence enabled Internet of things (IoT) vending solution. In addition to traditional vending, it is a stepping off point for distribution of consumer products and product activations. Added to this is the availability of a tremendous amount of data stemming from customer interactions with the device. This opportunity seemed like a good fit, I’ve always been in the business of managing risks associated with large complex problems and people who solve the problems, but had never had full entrepreneurial command of my destiny.
Starting my own business has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone which has been humbling and provided me the opportunity to grow capabilities which were previously in my blind spot, I am thankful for the people I have surrounded myself with. The vision for BlueBox Consolidated has been a continuous work in progress as we’ve gotten a better understanding of the commercial landscape impacting the potential footprint for the devices and of course as we have pivoted and adjusted as a result of the global pandemic. Now as we have zeroed in on the vision of BlueBox – an advertising company focused on providing an innovative and new platform for DOOH advertising – we are focusing on building up the partner infrastructure to address the distribution and placement. These partners will be vital in ensuring the platform network is of sufficient scale to better support the demands of the DOOH advertising industry.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our machines were placed in Minute Maid Park this summer, a huge win for our company and a low-contact snack option for Astro’s fans. We were even more excited when the Astros went all the way to the World Series as it further helped our business, increasing product sales for our customers and impressions on advertising.
The first year in business is never easy. Everyday you have to pivot. My best advice to someone starting their own business: Choose a path and stay on the path, and stay focused on what can be accomplished. The first year is all about lessons learned. You’re constantly making the best decisions you can with what information you have at the time. Be humble and accept you will make mistakes.
Our early days were challenging. We were being pulled in all different directions, chasing all avenues to get the machines in front of the masses. We eventually stopped and took a step back to evaluate what kind of company we wanted to be – an advertising company. We are not a vending company, but it is one of our advertising options. We improve DOOH advertising with AI and IoT, while maintaining and increasing customer accessibility to products. Defining our path helped reduce unnecessary ventures and provided organizational-wide focus.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My two favorite places to recommend, especially for art lovers, are The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel. I think a great weekend itinerary would include at least one museum, possibly a Galveston day trip, and of course spending a good portion of a day at a local brewery. I like to recommend St. Arnold’s and Karbach, but there’s tons of great microbreweries in the area if you’re looking for something a little less well-known. For visitors to my neighborhood, the Heights, I like to recommend they take a stroll down 19th Street, where there are multiple options for great food and things to do.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In both my personal and professional life, I look at the team around me as making the success. Diversity of thought drives better decision making. I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my BlueBox team, as well as the companies we’ve partnered with to get to this point – a whole year in business!