This is part of the Flux Discovery Series. Each week we feature a promising new startup on the LA scene.
This week, we interviewed Terrell Gray, CEO and Co-Founder at KOTU.
What does your company do?
KOTU is the go to printing service. We print and deliver our users’ documents which are loaded via our web platform (Mobile app in development)
When did you start working on it?
KOTU was found in October 2015 with the help of Luke Chui, Sonny Desai, and Steve O’Dell. At first it just started as a Facebook post offering printing delivery for homework etc. We’ve realized people need so much more than since then.
What is your role in the company?
At the early stages of startups everyone wears a lot of hats. At first my role was putting together a team that can help build this from the ground up. Now that we’ve got more people behind us my role has been to find untapped markets for KOTU and develop our growth strategy. All while making sure that we all see our goals for KOTU and surpass them.
How did you get the idea?
I’ve been using the story about a law firm, and how I delivered documents that they would email to an account around the office. I don’t think I got the idea from that though. The idea is not “KOTU,” the idea is a world where everything we want is available at our fingertips. From your everyday person to Alphabet Inc. everyone needs printing. Unfortunately they’ve also had to suffer the lack of development in technologies, markups on ink that account for the loss companies eat on printers, and just the sheer time that it takes to materialize a document and then transport it to where you need.
What were some of the struggles you faced in early stages of the company?
In the early stages of KOTU our biggest issue was building reliability with our users. People use KOTU for homework, resumes, bank statements, you name it. To solve that we’ve made our entire process revolve around the user. We’ve made our services as fast and affordable as possible to ensure that they get what they need. We keep in contact from the second a user submits their order. We want our users to know that their documents are as important to us as they are to them.
What has been the most exciting thing about the process so far?
The most exciting thing has got to be working with an excellent team of entrepreneurs. Seeing something that we’ve created grow is insane. We started at a google doc on a Facebook post and now look where we are. I hope we can keep up progression.
Have you raised funds?
What is the big vision for the company? What does the future look like?
Right now KOTU delivers documents mainly for students at UCLA. But really I don’t see why anyone owns a printer. It is one of the few manual tasks you still leave to yourself. Printers are expensive and wear down easily. Ink costs a fortune, and who wants to sit there and wait for it to be done printing? The future for KOTU either lies in delivering every print with top of the line speeds and technology, or finding the technology so that we can materialize documents for our users. We want to make it much easier to bring your work into the real world and get it where it needs to go after that. It might sound crazy, but so does everything else we have today right?
What are some milestones you’ve achieved?
We had a very early round of funding which has really put us ahead. We’ve got our web page up, Mobile app in development, and we’ve had well over 150 orders by now!
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I do not think an entrepreneur is something you aspire to be. You become an entrepreneur or you don’t. There's no school for it. There's no degree. If you’re waiting for a sign you’ll be waiting forever.
Anything else you’d like to add?
KOTU is having a giveaway right now. Our largest prize is our Apple Watch, but we’ve got some great prizes to announce later in the giveaway.