Jewel Burks

Co-founder and CEO of Partpic

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 07, 2016

Discussion

Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
Hi - I'm Jewel Burks, cofounder and CEO of Partpic. At Partpic, we've built an image recognition API and ever expanding parts database to make it simple to find that thing-a-ma-jig you need. I came up with the idea for Partpic three years ago while I was working in the industrial distribution space as a call center manager. I noticed how much trouble people were having in the search process and wanted to create a better way. It's been a roller coaster ride ever since then, and I'm happy to share what I've learned so far! Go ahead -- ask me anything!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of being located in Atlanta instead of the Bay Area or the Northeast?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@tomstocklein hi! Thanks for this question. Advantages of being located in Atlanta include a great pipeline of engineering talent coming out of Georgia Tech, more affordable cost of living, access to tons of relevant Fortune 500s who are HQd in Atlanta, and proximity to the country's largest airport which makes it easy to get anywhere I need to be. Major disadvantage is lack of early stage investors.
Kristy Tillman@kristyt · Head of Communication Design
What advice would you give to other black women founders who are seeking venture funding?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@kristyt 1) Make sure you really need venture funding because trying to get it will be a battle (is your business going to have 10X+ returns?, can you just get customers to fund your growth instead?) 2) you are going to be repeatedly asked why you will be the one to win at whatever it is you are doing -- make sure you know and believe your answer to this question 3) figure out what VCs have a related thesis, have previously backed black women, are from your hometown, know someone you know, really any connection point you can find because you'll need to get an intro 4) practice your pitch and make sure its tight
Orlando@orlandoweise · Tier II Engineer Application Support Eng
What would be your advice for another an aspiring startup out of Atlanta?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@orlandoweise make sure ATL is the right place for your startup and if your answer is yes, start adding value to the growing ecosystem. There are a lot of great community events at ATDC, I'd recommend starting there!
Marcus A. Carey@marcusacarey · Investment Analyst, SVB Capital
Jewel, can you speak to the differences in stress levels and stress forms when comparing your Corp America experience to your entrepreneurship experience? Assuming that the stress types are notably different, would you say entrepreneurial stress has had a net positive impact on your life and personal relationships relative to Corp America stress?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@marcusacarey hey Marcus! In general, I think the stress level of an entrepreneur is much higher than stress in a corporate job. Don't get me wrong any career has the capacity to be super stressful, but knowing that I'm responsible for the livelihood of actual humans and their children adds another level of stress. The possibilities of entrepreneurship (impacting my community, eventual financial reward, building something people love, etc) will net to have a positive impact on my life and personal relations I HOPE. but the journey is definitely way harder on my life than any job I've had at a company
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Who are some people you look up to?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@andrewett My parents and grandparents, Stewart Butterfield, Carla Harris, Stacy Brown Philpot, Marie Johns to name a few
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are your thoughts about connecting the PartPic app wirelessly to a 3-D printer to manufacture open-source versions of photographed parts at home instead of making that trip to the local hardware store or placing that Amazon order?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@tomstocklein This is on our roadmap :-)
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What have been the biggest hurdles you've had to overcome at Partpic and how did you do this?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@ems_hodge biggest hurdle was proving out that the technology could actually work. Many people told us we couldn't build Partpic when I first got started, now every time I do a demo or see customers using it I get super excited knowing how hard it was to build.
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hey Jewel, saw you on Small Empires, a big fan of your company. I have a couple of questions: 1. Do you think when companies like google open source their code bases, they end up hurting startups. For example: you guys might have been working on a machine learning algorithm of your own but now a potential competitor might just use Googles Vision API to come up with a similar product. 2. What was your most effective growth hack for Partpic in its early days? Thanks!
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@sarim_haq Maybe sometimes, but in our case I'm not terribly concerned about it. Reason is our tech is built to find exact matches, whereas Google's vision API and just about every other visual recognition API out there is about "similar". Similar typically isn't good enough for the parts industry 2. Most effective growth hack was bartering services when I didn't have any money. Oh, and creating a make-shift lighting machines and photographing parts myself.
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
@jewelmelanie Thanks for your reply!
Kristy Tillman@kristyt · Head of Communication Design
Hi Jewel! What do you see is the next in line, after tools and parts, for Partpic to help find replacements for? I know we talked a little over twitter about Replacement As A service.
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@kristyt hey Kristy!! So parts is a super huge space that is going to take us a while to effectively tackle, but eventually we want our technology to be capable of recognizing *anything* with a focus on unmarked objects, as this is where we see the biggest void in the market. Next in line for us is electronic and automotive
Brian L. Thurman@brian_l_thurman · Account Manager Milestone Internet
Honored to know you HU alum. What is the biggest obstacle Partpic has in improving marketing effectiveness?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@brian_l_thurman Hey Brian! To be honest, I don't know that I've really started working on improving marketing effectiveness. We've had a blessing/curse in that we have more incoming interest from customers than we can handle at the moment. Would love any tips on this!
the dubai plan@thedubaiplan
Hi my name is Vincent. I am an entrepreneur in the UAE. I first saw your profile on the forbes 30 under 30 list. Congratulations. I think the concept of Partpic is wonderful. Particularly here in the Middle East, when you are often faced with the question of which manufacturer a machine part came from or whom to call for a replacement even if you do successfully identify the part. And also the fact that this needs to be often communicated to a supplier in the US, EU or China without a part number and/or specification and have it delivered accurately. Many a maintenance job goes awry because of such basic problems. Given such a scenario, is UAE and the Middle East a market focus for Partpic? Is there a beta program that we can participate in? Or someway of taking advantage of your platform for machine part sourcing services.
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@thedubaiplan yep this is exactly the problem we are solving. If you represent a company, feel free to submit a request on our website Partpic.com
the dubai plan@thedubaiplan
@jewelmelanie That would be great. I would be starting the business idea based on your technology. Let me submit a request and get it started. Thanks
Troy Wilson@itstwil_son · Founder at Lobsta.org
What type of adjustments, if any, have you had to make in regards to friends & family relationships as your company has developed and become more visible? Often times there are many that have a hard time digesting the lack of time, the articles that make it seem as though you have MMs in your pocket right now for loan (fundraising), the fact that you can’t just hire anyone, and et cetera. This may not be relevant to your personal experience yet, but if there are common points, what advice do you have for others?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@itstwil_son TONS of adjustments. good thing is I have amazing family and friends and for the most part they get that I'm focused right now and the love me and support me despite me not having as much time to nurture relationships as I'd like. I still do try to be there as much as I can for my peeps which is a big reason why I'm so set on keeping my company in ATL. biggest piece of advice I have is to communicate early and often to the people you love about what you are doing and why, and if they love you back they should understand and support you!
Corey Hubbard@corey_hubbard · Founder - DreamHighr
Hello Jewel! Thanks for being with us today. I wanted to ask what was the hardest hurdle to overcome while you were raising your seed round.
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@corey_hubbard hi Corey! Hardest thing was building up the mental fortitude to keep having meetings after hearing "no" or some derivative of no hundreds of times. Had to stay encouraged through that!
Hope Atina@the_onlyhope · BioBreaks.com
How did you first connect with your co-founders ?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@the_onlyhope my cofounder and I became friends when we worked together at Google beginning in 2010. When I left Google to go to McMaster-Carr and he left to go to Shazam, he was one of the first people I told about my crazy idea, and he was just as excited about it as I was.
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
What other ventures/sectors are you looking to tackle next?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@laf_julius Hi! Parts is a HUGE sector, so its going to keep us busy for a while. But this year we are super excited to get into electronic components and automotive parts
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are the main sources for building Partpic's database of parts? Have major manufacturers and distributors been collaborating with Partpic, i.e. sharing their products' image data, etc.?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@tomstocklein Yep! Our main method for building out our database is through our customers. Believe it or not, we are doing a lot of the database build out internally -- we've built imaging machines to help us rapidly scale our image databases
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Jewel thanks for joining us today. What 3 things should every new founder focus on above all else?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@ems_hodge generating revenue, creating value for your customers, building a kick ass team (not in that order necessarily)
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice as a brand new founder about to set out, what would it be?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@ems_hodge don't believe them until the money is wired :)
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
How do you feel about Atlanta versus Silicon Valley being the new tech hub for startups and entrepreneurs? What do you think is partpics best edge against future competition coming into market?
Jewel Burks@jewelmelanie · Founder, Partpic
@laf_julius I love that my company is based in ATL and we've been pretty firm about this. Copying an earlier answer about ATL v SV: "Advantages of being located in Atlanta include a great pipeline of engineering talent coming out of Georgia Tech, more affordable cost of living, access to tons of relevant Fortune 500s who are HQd in Atlanta, and proximity to the country's largest airport which makes it easy to get anywhere I need to be. Major disadvantage is lack of early stage investors. " As far as competitive edge, its really about our understanding of the problem we are solving. My background of Google + McMaster Carr, paired with my co-founder's experience at Shazam, paired with our CTO's expertise in ML/CV is what sets us apart.