Maarten Haubrich was always drawn to technology. Growing up he would sit on his dads lap while he tinkered with new gadgets and software. It wasn’t long until Maarten was the one doing the tinkering when he started to code at the age of seven on their family Atari 800 XL connected to their living room television set. Ever since, Maarten has been honing the craft.
Always being a driven person who had the self-discipline to teach himself new skills, Maarten teamed up with a long-time friend, Chris Adlparvar to start Copypants. Chris has been part of three start-ups and has over 13 years of experience in business development which added to Maarten’s technical skillset. The pair had the perfect combination of skills to come up with their own idea and start a business.
Copypants provides protection and monetization for photographers and graphic designers by creating transparency in the online ecosystem. They help creators find all the places where their work is found online and gives them the ability to send a licensing request or a takedown notice with one click.
Working in a creative field dependent on the internet makes it very hard to keep track of whether or not your work is being properly credited or paid for when it’s used. It’s easy for anyone to save an image off a website or off Google images and reuse it in other places online. This makes for an ongoing problem for creatives that depend on selling their services to make a living. That’s why Maarten and Chris felt a need for Copypants in the industry.
In June, Copypants sold over $7,000 worth of product, which was more than they had ever sold in the history of the company. This was affirmation that there is a high demand for a product like theirs. “We feel we’ve finally found a product market fit with our clients and we are on track to grow our revenue to $30,000 monthly recurring revenue (MRR) before the end of the year,” he shared.
Although this growth didn’t come easily for the business partners. Both had experience in this field but nothing can fully prepare you for being an entrepreneur. Maarten was in a comfortable job with Electronic Arts (EA) working as a technical director for seven years prior to starting Copypants. Although he enjoyed his role, he always knew he wanted to one day start his own business. But moving from a full-time, comfortable job to the start-up life isn’t easy. Maarten explained that the transition was challenging. “Managing the transition from a comfortable corporate environment to the uncertainty of the start-up world was one of the hardest parts,” he shared. “You have a lot more freedom and impact, but it comes at a price, which I didn’t fully understand until now.”
It was local organizations that helped Chris and Maarten through this transition. Futurpreneur Canada supported Copypants with building their business plan and refining their cash flow along with a start-up loan and pairing them with a business mentor. Their mentor, Kate Hoogendoorm was able to help them think about their business differently and make key adjustments to their strategy. However, these weren’t the only places that helped Copypants get off the ground, local organizations like the New Ventures BC programs such as the Market Venture Acceleration Program, and the NVBC Competition in 2016 where the pair placed in the top ten with their business were all huge assets to their start-up journey so far. They say it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur and Maarten confirms that by reminding people not to try and do it all alone!
To learn more about Copypants, click here.
Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada