Story by: Anna Barker, MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach
Matthew Hoelter discovered a passion for entrepreneurship as a college student that led him to his current career.
Hoelter graduated from Mississippi State University in May of 2013, earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.
“Being a computer engineer, I was always working on assigned projects for classes,” Hoelter said. “I began to develop an interest in side projects of my own. The first product I made was a communication app called ChatKatana, a platform for anonymous messaging that randomly paired users based on their geographic location.”
As Hoelter’s app gained traction, it was recommended that he reach out to MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach.
“During my time in the E-Center, I met one of my best friends, Keith Kakadia,” Hoelter said. “He was developing his own company, SociallyIn, and needed someone to help him develop a text platform.”
This led Hoelter to develop his own company, Kode. With Kode, he developed a rudimentary SAAS platform called Bonsai Messaging.
“Bonsai Messaging is now a fully mature, refined product,” Hoelter said.
Throughout his college career, Hoelter competed in a number of different competitions, including MSU’s E-Week, as well as various startup competitions across the state.
“The E-Center gave me a ton of resources and exposed me to all of the multidisciplinary parts of entrepreneurship,” Hoelter said. “I met a ton of incredibly talented people across different departments who knew everything from development, to finance, to design, all in one place. I knew the tech side because of engineering but I lacked a lot of the knowledge needed for business development and growth.”
After graduation, Hoelter spent a year working for FedEx before deciding to continue pursuing entrepreneurship.
“I still had the entrepreneur bug in me,” Hoelter said.
Hoelter has spent the last several years programming, building apps, and working on web design and development.
“About a month ago, I was approached by a company called Idea Booth that asked me to join them,” Hoelter said. “I’ve taken the position as Lead Developer, where I oversee all of the development and technical aspects of the company.”
Hoelter is now working for Idea Booth full-time.
“You have to wear a lot of different hats to be an entrepreneur,” Hoelter said. “You have to stay focused on the goal of the product. If you want to succeed you have to keep it simple.”
“Figure out what is the one thing that you can do better than anyone else and focus on that,” Hoelter advised. “Find that one core thing and focus on it. Make it as cheap and easy as possible.”