The beginning of Insercorp
What inspired you to start your business?
I first started Insercorp in September 2007. But to tell you how I got to that point, we will have to look back a bit further.
Having been diagnosed with Fraser’s syndrome at birth and enduring continuous bullying, both verbal and physical, by other children as well as adults throughout my childhood, I was an apprehensive child. The internet became my safe place; a place where I could be myself, where only my written words defined me.
At 12, my interest in Star Wars and video games inspired me to create AOL message board games under the name New Horizons Gaming Forum. My family and I were living in Alaska at the time, where the United States Air Force had stationed my dad. Two winters in Alaska gave me a lot of time in the dreadfully dark, bitter cold to explore the internet. I used AOL’s Personal Publisher to create my first website to run weekly auctions of trading cards.
In the early 2000s, my father, a colonel in the US Air Force, was stationed at the Pentagon, taking on the responsibility of Chief of Military Construction Programs. I regularly visited his office in Crystal City, where I learned about the federal procurement process, bidding and the need for accessible and secure websites in the public sector. It was then I decided I would dedicate my future to building an internet business.
In 2002, I bought AOE2.com and Diablo2.com, the leading fan sites for two of the most popular online games of the time. The following year I rebranded both, consolidating them with my own online publication via a single-user registration system with themed communities for gamers. At its peak the new site, GamePlasma.com, was ranked by Alexa Rankings in the top 10,000 websites on the Internet, receiving a quarter million unique visits per month and over one million monthly page views. GamePlasma was one of 20 worldwide publications that determined a video game’s ranking on GameRankings (similar to Nielsen television ratings).
After completing high school and attending Commonwealth University, I started Insercorp with Josh Kimbrel, a programmer I’d worked with on contract throughout college, in September 2007. I was 22 years old.
Our goal was to develop an application that would be scalable, secure and modular so that any type of business or organization would be able to use it to manage their websites. We knew there wasn’t a single business or entity that wouldn’t benefit from having a website; the internet-user population was increasing by the day.
Now that we had a business model, customers and a solid plan (or so we thought) I met with the Small Business Development Center and was provided a checklist of everything I would need to open a new business in Virginia.