James Hilton of Quixby
Meet James Hilton, co-founder of Quixby.com
, a website that helps people build custom computers.
What is Quixby? And the name?
Quixby is a website that aims to make custom computers ridiculously easy. Building a computer doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Anyone should be able to get twice the power at half the cost. Right now, Quixby is geared towards people who are aware of what they are doing, but as we develop, anyone will be able to use Quixby to find answers about computers and computer building. Yes, Quixby is definitely a unique name; it was born out of sheer imagination! There is nothing really like it.
Why did you start your business?
My co-founders, Jack Hilton and Austin Kettner, and I had a desire to be entrepreneurs, felt we had a great idea for a web site, and decided to take the next step.
How did you come up with the idea?
My twin brother Jack had the idea around 2006, when we were freshmen in college. One night we told Austin about the idea and we just moved from there. Web entrepreneurship seems to have been a latent spark in all our minds.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of, and how did they help?
The Innovation Fund
, along with JumpStart
. The Innovation Fund’s traditional nature helped mold our business into a strong entity; they saw our idea and invested in it. With JumpStart, the kinks in our armor are being pounded out. Ohio is cutting edge in technology, but is also a very traditional state in the business sense, which makes it difficult for an Internet startup to grow rapidly. Businesses in Ohio are typically tangible products and services, very unlike an Internet startup.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
The power of networking and connections.
Where did you find your first employee?
I had worked with him in the past at a different company; he’s now an integral part of the team.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
There are a lot of successful and helpful businesses in the state, and it’s one of the best breeding grounds for entrepreneurs. Ohio is an innovative and tech friendly state for high-growth companies. One problem we have run into is that Ohio doesn’t seem to have much experience with Internet startups; it seems to be right on the edge of expanding into a Silicon Valley-styled place, but just isn't quite there yet.
What inspires you?
Seeing the success of entrepreneurs all over the country. People building their ideas into a business and making them successful.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
The top would be Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. Young web entrepreneurs like Drew Houston of Dropbox, who have made a good name for young guys without a resume a mile long. I really admire people who have come from nothing to create something. Nothing in life should come easily, my grandfather always told me.
What’s next for you and your company?
We are developing the site and growing our brand, taking user feedback and making the service better for everyone. We’re also working on our next round of investment, which takes a lot of time.
Writer: Catherine Podojil