AKRON, Ohio – When New Territory founder Bill Myers heard that Akron was selected to participate in the eBay Retail Revival, he knew it was something he wanted to be part of.
Myers, who founded the virtual and augmented reality software company New Territory in 2015, was one of 120 entrepreneurs from Akron and Warren selected to participate in the 12-month eBay pilot program, which kicked off last month.
Through the program, participants receive online training and a dedicated concierge to help them get setup with an eBay store and learn best practices for selling online. Participants also receive a complimentary eBay storefront subscription. eBay selected Akron/Warren as the location for its pilot program because of its strong eBay selling community, local support and diverse startup community, according to the company.
“I heard that eBay was coming into town, and my first thought was ‘How do I get involved?’ It’s not every day that a big company picks us,” Bill Myers said.
On its eBay store, New Territory sells virtual reality (VR) goggles and merge cubes, holographic cubes that allow users to physically hold and interact with 3D objects in the palm of their hand via augmented reality (AR) technology. The company plans to add new products to its store in the coming weeks.
Through the program, eBay has offered Myers guidance on best practices for selling, including how to take good photos and how to write good product titles and descriptions. Myers’ concierge also helped him negotiate with a wholesaler and capitalize on his competitive advantage, product knowledge.
“My concierge’s name is Kevin,” Myers said. “We check in every two weeks just to make sure I’m selling at my greatest capacity and everything is running smoothly. That experience has been quite remarkable, in that Kevin has been extremely quick to respond to my questions and issues. That level of customer support is something that blew me away because eBay is such a large corporation.”
It’s been less than two months since the program kicked off, and Myers is already seeing results. Since the kickoff, New Territory’s eBay sales have totaled nearly $5,000–funds Myers is using to speed up the development of an augmented reality application he is working on called New Territory One.
“We hadn’t planned on having this app come out for another six months to a year. But because of the extra cash flow, we were able to shorten our timeline dramatically,” Myers said.
The app, a piece of software Kickstarter helped launch, is a standalone solution that will allow New Territory to create augmented reality experiences for many clients in one app, versus creating a standalone app for each client. The centralized solution will better help capture marketing and analytics data, according to Myers.
New Territory One will officially launch at the Genesys Conference in Nashville on May 1. The app launch isn’t just big news for the company, it signals the company’s transition from a software firm to a marketing services provider, according to Myers.
“This application, I think will completely change our business, not only from a personnel standpoint but from a sense of doing something new that Northeast Ohio has never seen before, using this technology,” Myers said.
New Territory’s partnership with eBay is just the latest of its efforts to capitalize on business development opportunities in the Akron area. The company has a location at Akron’s Northside Marketplace, where it offers virtual tourism and VR design/3D printing experiences, and a studio at Bounce, Akron’s innovation hub.
“I’ve always told people I’m taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way,” Myers said.
New Territory moved from its Cuyahoga Falls location to Bounce in January.
“Akron has been very welcoming of us and they have gone out of their way to make sure we have a place that is not only a warehouse but a place for coders to sit down and work and a video production studio,” Myers said.
Myers is planning to use the video production studio at Bounce to launch a YouTube channel designed to help people understand immersive technology.
“I’m doing everything I possibly can to set us up for success and being part of those three programs is, I think, setting us on that path, bigger than what we can imagine at this point,” he said.
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