Michael Georgiou Levels Up the Game in Digital Technology
No one said start-up companies were easy, but Michael Georgiou, Co-Founder of Imaginovation, a B2B turn-key technology and digital product development company, knows that with a little bit of elbow grease, perseverance, and imagination, you can jumpstart a dream and turn it into an award-winning company that works with hyper-growth companies and global brands. That’s just what he did.
Born in London to Cypriot parents, Michael moved to Cyprus and then to Toronto, before finding himself settling in Raleigh, NC, where his company is now based. In 2011, after finishing his Master’s degree in Australia, Michael came back to the US. The 2008 recession had come to an end, and he found himself in need of a job in a market that was still struggling. Michael always knew he wanted to start his own business, but what? The “what” was no longer a question when his brother-in-law approached him about starting a company together. It was a no brainer, at that point. His imagination was unleashed and he saw the future. He decided to apply his business development and marketing background to team up with his brother-in-law, and now business partner, who understands the technical process of software and web development. They both realized they had a dream, a passion, and a skillset that could be combined to form a lucrative, thriving business in full-service web and mobile app development, where “Imagination turns to Innovation” promoting endless possibilities where you too can “unleash your imagination and shape the future”, as their tagline reveals.
Imaginovation is a real game changer in how companies can improve productivity, sales, and profit through a client driven approach. The company’s goal is to provide creative solutions and strategies to client initiatives. Imaginovation has been recognized as a leading technology company by companies like Clutch, leaders in the B2B platform industry. It also been featured in several acclaimed publications such as Entrepreneur.com, VentureBeat, Goalcast, Business.com, and Foundry. Since its founding, the company has grown significantly on a revenue and market share perspective, not to mention being the recipient of several awards in notable tech competitions, such as the AVA Digital Awards, IMA 2017 Award, The American Business Award, and the NC Tech Award. Michael Georgiou’s company is now a reputable, established $150K/month app agency that provides customized technology services to several types of businesses from start-ups to global brands. In 2018, his company reached the ceiling of $2.3-$3 million in annual revenue. Although the Covid pandemic has caused him to cut back to a projected $1.5-$2.5 million in revenue, he plans to continue on the trajectory of increased growth. What’s his secret? It’s to never give up, stay determined, and focused on your goal.
What makes Imaginovation different from other app developers is their focus on the client and their individual needs. Michael and his business partner really want to get to know the product to allocate personalized developers to a specific project. Once they understand the needs of the client and the project they will match the developers with their skills to that project, and make sure that the same team stays onboard from inception to completion. They will also continue to offer support and hosting on web services after the launch. Michael Georgiou equates his company to digital real estate. They are, in essence, builders and adapt to changes in technology. There is no need for templates here. They create a customized design and take a personalized approach to building your application from the ground up to reflect your specifications.
More importantly than building an application is coding. Imaginovation has developed its own internal automation, where code gets submitted to different systems they have set up. The system flags any errors from full automation and triggers, in addition to developers manually testing the code and usability of each system. One of the goals that Michael and his business partner have achieved is building and marketing their own internal proprietary software product, MagicTask, which they have built over the past three years. It’s intuitive and user friendly with over 5000 people using it. It has all the traditional features of task management platforms, and more. It can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want it to be. The uniqueness of the platform is where users have access to what is called a “Theme Marketplace”. This is where the gamification is introduced and allows the user to level-up and compete with others measured by the level of activity in the system. Star-Trek anyone? Here is where the gaming element comes in to motivate productivity by unlocking different animations, gaming styles, and content. It enhances the user’s experience, and increases employee and client retention. In addition to building custom web applications and mobile apps, services also include emerging technologies such as AI development, loT development, AR & VR app development, blockchain, and digital transformation.
Michael admits that he and his business partner started the company with nothing, and built their company through hard work and dedication. Any revenues generated were invested back into the business to build up operations, sales, marketing, and an employee base. They grew their company organically and through grassroots efforts, initially wearing several different hats. This would result in many sleepless nights to fulfill project deadlines. They pounded the pavement so to speak, with consistent promotion through ads on sites like Craigslist and free business directories, and daily emails that reached hundreds of people. It worked. They started getting more interest and their marketing presence expanded. Building a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website was key in creating an online presence through data-driven decisions. This meant countless hours analyzing algorithms, learning about digital marketing, content marketing, and the whole world of SEO in website development. All this research led them to rank at the top of Google in North Carolina.
For Michael, success is all about strategic planning, learning from past mistakes, what works and what didn’t work, and continuing from there. There is always room for improvement, he believes, especially in a tech driven industry. One always has to be on top of trends and changes taking place to adapt to what’s new and omit what is obsolete.
What continues to motivate Michael, besides a successful value-based company that puts the needs of the client first? It’s his passion and his commitment to encourage and motivate other start-ups and younger entrepreneurs: “Passion is essential in preparing your mind for the rough and tough road ahead. Make sure your idea and concept reflect what you are really good at, including your skillset capabilities, and strengths.” He also advises to pay close attention to your finances. Lack of cash flow is one of the reasons start-ups don’t succeed. As he puts it, “big salaries take time and a lot of sacrifice.”
Michael is not just a businessman, but he’s also a mentor, and wants others to learn from his experiences and expertise as an entrepreneur. Toward this effort, he’s been hosting his own storytelling podcast through Imaginovation for the past four years, Tales from the PROS, where he interviews high level CEOs, business leaders, and thought leaders globally. Guests have included names like Evan Carmichael, David Meltzer, Chris Do, Neil Patel, and Rand Fishkin.
According to Michael, the goal of the podcast is to offer positive, honest, and inspirational feedback to others looking to create their own success stories through start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures: “I strongly believe in the power of marketing to build unity and shared vision, which is why I started Tales from the PROS. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is a writer. Some are written in the books and some are confined to the hearts. I am here to give back as much as possible, and I know that everyone has a story to share.”
In his spare time, Michael enjoys boxing, playing soccer, supporting Tottenham Hotspur, spending time with his wife Jennifer Georgiou, his puppy and family, dancing salsa and bachata, and taking the time to learn and improve in business, personal development, marketing, technology, and leadership. Running out of possibilities is not an option for Michael: “I know that as long as I do right by people and have kind and empathetic intention behind what I am trying to accomplish, then nothing is impossible.”