SPOTLIGHT

- JONATHAN CHEN -

PM Keynote Speaker at IAG 2018
Written by Rebecca Walcott

Jonathan Chen co-founded FiscalNote with the desire to provide solutions to problems with tracking government data by going beyond government affairs and into the realm of big data. By utilizing artificial intelligence, FiscalNote aggregates information consisting of legislation, regulations and case law to foster a transparent and efficient legal system. Chen’s passion and commitment to his business connects with his own algorithm for success that consists of hard-work, grit and as he describes it “proposing a solution to a problem.”

Since FiscalNote, Chen started another highly successful venture called, Pathover. Pathover is a built-in e-commerce platform designed to increase purchase frequency by bringing customers online for grocery stores and restaurants. Prior to Pathover, Chen founded another company, OrangeNow. OrangeNow provides in store and online management solutions. With a proven track record with establishing not one, but three successful enterprises, Chen recognizes the inner workings of the entrepreneurial world and is all too familiar with its failures, challenges and forth comings.

Written by Rebecca Walcott

Jonathan Chen co-founded FiscalNote with the desire to provide solutions to problems with tracking government data by going beyond government affairs and into the realm of big data. By utilizing artificial intelligence, FiscalNote aggregates information consisting of legislation, regulations and case law to foster a transparent and efficient legal system. Chen’s passion and commitment to his business connects with his own algorithm for success that consists of hard-work, grit and as he describes it “proposing a solution to a problem.”

Since FiscalNote, Chen started another highly successful venture called, Pathover. Pathover is a built-in e-commerce platform designed to increase purchase frequency by bringing customers online for grocery stores and restaurants. Prior to Pathover, Chen founded another company, OrangeNow. OrangeNow provides in store and online management solutions. With a proven track record with establishing not one, but three successful enterprises, Chen recognizes the inner workings of the entrepreneurial world and is all too familiar with its failures, challenges and forth comings.

As one of the keynote speakers for this year’s IAG conference, Chen sheds some light into his global business strategies and challenges.

Chen started his company FiscalNote in a dorm room with a couple of his closest friends, and the concept went on to win second place at an entrepreneurship competition at University of Maryland. Fast forward a few short months and FiscalNote raised $1.2 million in seed round funding from Mark Cuban, NEA, First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund and AME Cloud Ventures all before his senior year in college. Today, FiscalNote has raised over $40M in capital and earned many accolades across the globe. Beyond Chen’s humble yet passionate exterior lies sheer creativity and grit. According to Chen, there are two crucial things you need to have if you want to start a company. One of them is timing. The market needs to be just right – or about to be just right. The second factor is execution. It is important to have a good team that is led by someone who can take a bunch of beating and never give up.

For FiscalNote, Chen added that every day there is a problem or a situation that needs to be handled. The trials are never ending no matter how large the company has grown and having grit and backbone has allowed the company to reach such a high level. Without grit, entrepreneurs simply won’t survive the market. A lot of times, an entrepreneur must sell a vision and then convince people to join the company based on their vision.

“What you should always be doing is changing your solution to match the problem. You need to pivot your solution to what the customer and the business needs.”

As FiscalNote continues to expand its global reach, so has Chen’s entrepreneurship endeavors. Chen’s most recent business venture– Pathover, integrates artificial intelligence and helps businesses take their physical store online. Pathover has figured out an algorithm to find the quickest delivery route to as close to optimal as possible. Jonathan currently holds 2 patents under Pathover. Pathover’s tactics help to build a store’s inventory and drives sales for easier and more accessible online ordering, which help small to large scale grocery stores and restaurants increase their purchase frequency.

Fast track to IAG – Start-Up Strategies

With IAG fast approaching, Chen gave some advice to fellow entrepreneurs who are also looking to dive into the start-up world. Chen finds that one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is creating a solution first and then they trying to find a problem. Instead, smart entrepreneurs look for the problem before even building the product. He said that it is crucial to talk to businesses, talk to the people and then sell them on a solution. Your solution should always be changing to match their problem, you need to pivot your solution to what the customer and the business needs.

Chen says that most people, especially young entrepreneurs in college, try to think of an idea that no one has done before when trying to establish a venture. This is nearly an impossible feat. Instead, the key to be a successful entrepreneur is to provide a solution to a problem. Ask yourself two questions: Is there a problem? If so, can I provide a solution to that problem?

Most ideas die because people try to find the most unique idea and give up when they realize it has already been done. Alternatively, they find a flaw within their venture and abandon the idea all together. Every single business has its own share of unique problems and the entrepreneur’s job is to keep working through the problems that arise throughout the process to achieve the vision.

CHEN

JONATHAN CHEN

“The market is big and you have to chase after people who haven’t started using the product or convince them that your product is better – and that’s what we did.”

Chen says the company plans to continue its international expansion and try new product lines through different areas of the government. FiscalNote is aiming for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and is prioritizing growth. He plans to continue to expand the business model that has already been created. For Pathover, Chen wants to keep expanding the venture city by city, and continue creating opportunities for businesses to grow online.

You can connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter by searching for his handler @hackbyrd.

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