Dhruv Patel is the founder and CEO of Convrrt, a smart marketing company in Phoenix. Convrrt simplifies the process of creating expressive marketing websites by providing a user-friendly editor. Business owners can find a marketplace full of beautiful industry-specific templates and a place to publish their work in a single app.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
How did you get started in the tech industry?
As a kid, I was always fascinated with tech. Growing up in India and not having access to latest and greatest American/Japanese gadgets always pushed me to learn more about tech. When I was a kid, I read somewhere in the newspaper that a computer could calculate the answer to nearly any question you had, and my real interest sparked. I wanted to get answers to things.
Growing up, I loved doing art projects with computers, especially using tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. These took my creative passions to a whole new level. After attending a summer school on visual arts and web design during my junior year at Gilbert High School, computers completely changed my outlook on the possibilities. Thereafter, I pursued a degree in chemical engineering at ASU, but my creative passion drove me to make a career change and start my first digital agency coming right out of college.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
My first entrepreneurial venture was a small two-person digital consulting agency called 05 Creations Studios, LLC.
How did you come up with the idea for Convrrt?
Out of our own frustration, to be honest. We found that running marketing campaigns for our clients required a lot of rework when it came to website and landing page creation. The process went way beyond creating wireframes—it involved creating a perfect design, then implementing it with all of the technical challenges that come with deploying even the simplest website. We desperately wanted to make the process of iteration a lot quicker so we could launch a badass marketing campaign in only a few days. That is how Convrrt was born. Imagine having full creative control of all your marketing efforts, without knowing how to code or convert. We wanted to bridge the gap between creating a micro-site and publishing content without the need of creative or technical talent—all while making it easy for anyone to create a site.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
My favorite part is solving problems that we face internally as a company, then aligning them with problems that our customers face. From there, it’s all about finding intuitive ways to problem-solve.
What was the biggest challenge in executing the idea for Convrrt?
Finding a technical co-founder who was committed to the vision we had set forth.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I moved from New Jersey to Arizona in the summer of ‘99 and have been here ever since. I have seen a lot of changes happen in the past 17 years with the tech industry. We have the rise of companies like Infusionsoft, PayPal, Intel, Amazon and many other noteworthy companies; and also a sprout of young startups like LocalWork, TicketForce, ClearVoice, PureChat, and BrightGuest. These are just a few of the companies that are rapidly putting Arizona on the map as a fast-growing tech hub.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
The open skies, the beautiful sunsets (the best in the world, according to me), and a fast-growing tech community that is also very helpful.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
The downtown scene is not at its best just yet, and all the cities are too scattered.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
Venture Capital for technology is still lacking, in my opinion. Although I’ve seen a lot of activity and a lot of incubators have emerged since early 2012, it has not made a solid mark for a serious VC to start investing more and taking more risks.
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?
Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert. Their breakfast quesadilla and coffee are the best.
Image from TripAdvisor.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Zinburger is awesome, but lunch always depends on what city I’m in. There are good eats all around the Valley.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
I love going to Veneto Trattoria off of Scottsdale and McDonald.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
I enjoy working out of EZSpaces in Gilbert and CO+HOOTS (who doesn’t love CO+HOOTS?) when I’m in Phoenix.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
Anywhere in old town Scottsdale or downtown Chandler are great.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
Since I’ve spent half my life in Arizona, I have plenty of memories, but the one that stands out the most is late-night bar hopping with my friends on Mill Avenue. Mill Ave never disappoints.
What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?
There are some amazing hole-in-the-wall places to eat all over AZ, but you will never know until you go out and try them.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Come prepared to get your skin burned, but remember this heat is dry and not as bad as the east coast, where it’s humid. Get used to driving on your own more often ,as public transportation is still a bit scattered. Oh, and watch out for those beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
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