If the business world has learned anything from the COVID pandemic, it’s that you need to be prepared for sudden pivots in operations. Created by a software engineering student at Miami University, startup Hypernova offers a technology framework to mitigate business, economic, and global disasters for small to large-sized enterprises. Those “disasters” include government and health emergencies like COVID, but also events like a damaged store-front or keeping up sales in the midst of a location change.
We spoke to Hypernova’s founder Cristion Brown about what his startup does.
What’s your background?
Brown: I’ve been programming since I was a junior in high school. I attended a computer science research program sponsored by Google and Bank of America in 2012. This was one of my first experiences connecting with code, seeing its impact right in front of my eyes. I graduated with a software engineering degree from Miami University. I started the company my senior year at Miami University. It was when COVID hit and businesses were starting to shut down. We really just started as a basic consulting agency, building out websites and applications for small businesses that needed another way to market themselves or reach their customers.
What was the pivot point for Hypernova?
Brown: We noticed a need for small businesses to really utilize high-quality web applications to increase productivity and ultimately generate more revenue during disasters. So that’s how I came up with our new program called High Protection, which is almost like an insurance-based program for small- to midsize businesses to essentially better equip themselves when a operational or business disaster might occur.
What kind of natural disasters are you talking about?
Brown: The most prevalent one is COVID. At the peak of the pandemic, the government issued sanctions that said customers couldn’t visit restaurants or brick and mortar stores. And this face-to-face interaction is how small and midsize businesses actually generate revenue. So now they needed a new platform to reach their customers through curbside delivery or through e-commerce. If these businesses went to a basic software consulting shop, they’d get quoted at maybe $2,000 to $3,000, even with a two- to three-month delivery date. That doesn’t really help when they’re trying to pivot through a disaster situation, like a closed shop, or maybe they’re facing a shortness of staff because a lot of people couldn’t make it into work. They need some type of productivity tool to help them stay productive.
Do you create the tools for them or do you adapt to existing tools?
Brown: It’s a set of predictive tools that companies can come in and customize. Then they can use it to solve their own business problems.
You charge less than those consulting shops?
Brown: Yes. And the technology and life cycles that we’ve built up over the last couple of years help us deliver web apps in a much quicker turnaround time.
What kind of help has Hypernova gotten?
Brown: We raised money from a very small friends and family group around the first and second year in business. We accessed other resources such as accelerators to help us. The Cintrifuse ecosystem has been very helpful. We also took part in Miami University’s Red Hawk accelerator for a short period there. There were lots of people that were helpful on the journey.
What are your next steps?
Brown: We just finished a pilot environment the last quarter of 2021, which kind of stretched into the beginning of 2022. We’ve gotten some feedback from our pilot/beta environment. We’re able to kind of refine our technology so that we can come out with like a more proper or common release toward the end of this year. We’ve got a lot of good stuff on the way, a lot of good partnerships as well.
What’s the best surprise you’ve had so far?
Brown: It’s crazy to say, but the good thing so far is that over the past two and a half years, we haven’t had to pay for any marketing. It’s all been through referral and networking. Growth has all been through connections and local people that have reached out to us. It’s been a great time so far.