We are starting a new series here at CTX Capital where from time to time our very own Zach Wendell will interview, and write about a local Austin area Startup Company. February’s blog series will be a four-part series detailing the path followed by local entrepreneur and friend of CTX Capital, Tony Farnsworth, during the development of his startup, Tinted.
The series will be released in the following manner:
Week 1: Inspiration behind Tinted
Week 2: Beginning formulation of the tech
Week 3: Preparing for crowdfunding launch
Week 4: Launch and fundraising progress updates
We interviewed Tony and he was happy to share his story and keys to success so far:
The Big Idea
Q: You have worked as a programmer for a Fortune 500 company throughout the course of your career; when did you realize that you had the desire to design your own product or business?
A: I have always come up with business ideas on my own, and in fact, I have a group of friends that meet to discuss ideas and talk business regularly. Up until this point, I didn’t really have the tools to succeed as an entrepreneur – I had a few small failed ventures, but that was it.
This year, I enrolled in the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) program at the University of Texas at Austin. The program really gave me the tools and confidence to execute on my idea and helped me realize that while working on 20-30 new developments with my current employer, I had been paid to develop my entrepreneurial skills over the last nine years.
Q: What was the inspiration behind Tinted?
A: I’ve always been somewhat of a tech geek, and I’m also interested in product innovation. My wife of eight years is an interior designer, and I have been trying to push tech onto her profession for seven of those eight years. In 2016, my wife stopped working for several interior design firms in favor of going out on her own. This served as the catalyst for implementing a website and more technology to allow her to work from home more easily.
Q: So, initially the idea was to help your wife set up her own interior design business – how did that process evolve into a unique tech idea like Tinted?
A: Initially I helped her set up a website and did a pilot to see what her clients wanted; we quickly discovered that people most needed help picking paint and room colors. Historically, my wife has always had family and friends asking for design advice; rather than charging them her usual rate of $150 an hour, she would always help them for free. We realized that there is a demand for interior design knowledge at a lower price point; together, we came up with a method to solve this problem in an incredibly efficient way – automating the color selection process.
Q: Interesting. It sounds like Tinted has a much larger market than traditional interior design?
A: Exactly. The vast majority of people are not willing to spend the money necessary to hire an interior designer and thus never learn anything about interior design. One of my wife’s main goals is to get knowledge about interior design into more people’s hands in an affordable way. Tinted is scalable to people who would never hire a traditional interior designer, whether that be for price or convenience.
Instead of clients paying $100+ an hour for an interior designer to come out to their house and survey the room, clients can instead answer questions on our app about the room they are painting and receive color recommendations remotely and get sample shipped to their door.
Q: Tony, thanks for your time.
A: My pleasure
That concludes part one of our series. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we will be back to detail the process Tony followed to develop Tinted from an abstract idea in the fall of 2016 to an actual service today. If you would like to learn more about Tinted, please visit their website or feel free to check out their fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.
Tinted is a team of university students, product engineers and interior design professionals passionate about the intersection of technology and design, on a mission to enable the average American to have above average design advice in real-time through a set of frictionless, automated, digital tools.