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Meet Chris Evans of Next Message

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Evans.

Chris, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was at “Jazz in the Park” in Piedmont Park, which is a super fun yet chill event every Memorial Day weekend. Some friends and I were sharing space on the lawn, having drinks and enjoying the music. I decided I wanted to get some food, which meant leaving that area to go where the food trucks were. It wasn’t far away, but there were so many other hungry folk and the lines were ridiculous for every truck I was interested in. It took a solid 20-30 minutes to get my food. That was my AHA! moment where I said to myself, “I wish I could just text my order in and they let me know when it’s ready.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The development process (for a tech startup) has actually gone as expected! I’d had years as a consultant helping banks implement technology, so possessed the skillset to see this project through.

The challenge has been convincing food truck owners, who generally tend to avoid change and are risk-averse, to accept the new technology that could greatly expand their business. Plus, the Next Message system is designed to cut down on the time wasted standing in lines- something customers hate to do but food truck owners enjoy seeing.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Next Message – what should we know?
Next Message truly creates win/win/win situations for busy food truck festivals, lunch crowds, and one day stadiums/arenas! The system enables a customer to eliminate time waiting in line placing a food order. Said customer texts a number we provide (not having to download an app), Next Message auto-generates an order number and confirms the vendor receives the order. The vendor sees the order on a clean web interface (again, no app or equipment needed), and is able to press a single button which alerts the customer to pick up the order. There’s a modest convenience fee for the VIP treatment, of which Next Message retains a portion. Win. Win. Win.

If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
I’ve been a solo founder and while that has its benefits, it definitely presents its challenges. If I were to start over, I’d have a partner from the “jump” with a complementary skill set. His/her strengths would balance out my weaknesses and vice versa. We would hold each other accountable to deadlines and goals. And we’d share the excitement of successes.

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