David Wachtel just launched MePlusMore, a subscription based application (SaaS platform) that creates a digital portfolio for use in the college and scholarship application process. The application allows the user to categorize the events on their electronic calendar, identify awards, achievements, leadership roles, and other accomplishments, and upload supporting digital content like pictures and videos.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
South Tempe. (If I walk 100 yards south, I’m in Chandler.)
What sparked an initial interest in tech?
After business school I was hired by Andersen Consulting (Accenture). They put me through a 6 week COBOL coding training program and cut me loose. The seed was firmly planted after working for 5 years on custom software development and packaged software implementation projects.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
I will always default to the 4 years I spent as a paperboy in grade school, but my first venture as an adult was after I left Andersen Consulting and started Medical Internet Solutions. Our first product was an online application to help medical residency programs manage rotation schedules, resident & attending physician feedback, case logs, and other traditionally paper-based activities.
How did you come up with the idea for MePlusMore?
My partners and I all have kids that have gone through or are currently going through the college application process. Our direct experience with the pain of gathering the specific information needed for scholarship applications, letters of recommendation, and essay prompts for use on the electronic application was the motivation.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
Being directly involved in something that starts from an idea, evolves into a startup, and then sustains itself as a small business is highly addicting.
What was the biggest challenge in executing this idea?
My customer is the mom of a middle or high school student. There are numerous channels to reach them. That is challenging us to be very focused and analytical about where to put our ad dollars and broader marketing efforts.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I moved to the Phoenix area just over ten years ago from Dallas, TX. In those ten years I’ve witnessed what I would consider substantial growth in the startup community and by association the tech industry. The maturing of entrepreneurship programs at our state’s colleges and universities, as well as the rise of local incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have both contributed to/is a reflection of this growth.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
We have incredible natural and diverse resources that can be experienced within a few hours’ drive from the Valley.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
This applies to any state, but there are handful of people that don’t respect their immediate surroundings or shared natural resources. I wish more of those individuals embraced the motto to leave it better than you found it.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
I would rephrase and say, “still has work to do,” but the effort to get existing or new corporations to settle in Arizona is an ongoing project that will serve the state well long into the future.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
Snooze is a nice treat, but I am also very happy at Harlow’s Café. I tend to gravitate to those establishments that have some local history.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
NCounter in downtown Tempe is consistently good.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
Postino in downtown Tempe has great wine and menu items.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
There are indeed a lot of cool places to get out of the office, but I want to put a plug in for your local public library. The handful I’ve worked at have great private and community spaces to set up for a few hours . . . and the librarians keep them very quiet if you are in need of silence.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
I’ve been enjoying the atmosphere at Pedal Haus Brewery.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
When I was a kid, we would have traveling hockey games at an outdoor (covered) rink in Flagstaff with snow and pine trees visible on the three open sides.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
Telling someone from out of state you can ski/snowboard in Arizona consistently gets a “No way!” out of their mouths.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Get a list of top local or state attractions from Phoenix Magazine and make it a point to do something new each weekend for the first year you live here. You will no doubt feel connected to Arizona in that time and never want to leave.