Founder of Consultancy Spann & Company, Marketer and App Entrepreneur: An Interview with Amanda Spann
Thank you for your time! We are past mid-2018, how has this year been so far for you?
This year has been amazing thus far. It has really been a time of transformation for me in reevaluating how I care for myself and the things I invest my time in.
For those who are reading about you for the first time, who is Amanda Spann?
Professionally: I'm a PR girl turned app entrepreneur, who helps aspiring and emerging founders build their brands.
Personally: I am a daughter-sister-friend, full time spirit chaser, part-time bacchanalist, and aspiring lady of leisure who loves to laugh, explore, create and innovate.
Speak a little bit about your life from birth to now.
I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Went to undergrad at Florida State and got my masters from Georgetown. I've lived in Atlanta, NYC, DC and now in Chicago and have worked for/with and/or represented companies like IBM, Concur, Hinge Dating App, Snobwap, and Atlantic Records.
I've also started a few companies with partners including Tiphub Africa, a business accelerator and the host of Diaspora Demo Day, once the largest pitch competition in the US for startups focused on Africa and the African Diaspora. As well as a few apps including CultureCrush (CultureCrushApp.com) a dating app that helps you search for eligible black singles by nationality, ethnicity or tribe anywhere in the world and TipOff Game (TipOffGame.com), a word guessing game for the culture.
You are the founder of The Consultancy Spann & Company. How did that come about?
I'm a publicist by trade and was often approached by startups who wanted my services but couldn't afford them, so I decided that there was an opportunity to create smaller yet easy to digest pieces of content that would provide them with insights on the topics they wanted to learn more about.
What services does Spann & Company offer?
I offer 1:1 consulting, workshops and e-books, soon webinars and courses. You can access them here: Linktr.ee/TheAmandaSpann
Tell us about the company’s culture.
It's a one woman show so the culture is "Amanda do what you can for others without burning yourself out".
Prior to Spann & Company you were the co-founder of Tiphub? What was its purpose and what lead you to divert your attention to Spann & Company?
At Tiphub, we worked with dozens of founders all across the world and met many more who weren't an exact fit for our program, but still needed help. Creating Spann & Company allowed me to support founders at each stage of the business development process and really hone in on their needs to help them overcome challenges.
How and why did you get started into building apps?
I had a bunch of ideas but not much access to capital. Apps seemed like the most cost effective and time efficient way to build the things I wanted without breaking the bank.
Tell us about some of the Apps starting with, ALCHOMY: Where Great Spirits Meet. Who is this app for and why should anyone download it?
Alchomy is a cocktail recipe and bar locator app. We have over 16,000 drink recipes in the app, a feed to help you find, source and discover new drinks being created by top mixologists and a locator so you can find interesting places to have a drink anywhere in the world… Its for drinkers lol
How about CHATART? Who is this app for and why should anyone download it?
Chatart was an app I created to help visual artists share their art as wallpaper on their friends and family’s phones.
What is FB DOWNLOADER?
FB Downloader was an app that enabled you to pull content, photos or videos directly from Facebook and save it to your phone. Facebook sent me a cease and desist, so this one no longer exists.
Tell us about TIPOFF? Who is this app for and why should anyone download it
TipOff is a word guessing game for the culture. It's like Taboo, but for you. It is a multi-player game which can be played in-person or remotely. Users will divide into teams and enter a game room to take turns “TIPping” each other OFF to the keyword without saying any of the 5 words listed on the card. Each team member will have a turn as the “PLAYER” and as the “HATER”. The player describes the keyword while the hater guards the player on each card to make sure they do not violate the rules.
The game can be customized with different word packs. The packs available upon launch include “Classic Black Culture,” a “Chicago” themed bundle, “Black Church” and a “Bougie” pack created in affiliation with VerySmartBrothas.com. City specific packs will be offered for .99 cents. A portion of the proceeds from each of the respective city packs will benefit STEM education-based non-profits in that market.
How about AFRIDATE? Who is this app for and why should anyone download it?
AfriDate is now CultureCrush. It helps black daters make cultural connections. From Rio De Janeiro to Richmond, users can search for potential mates of their nationality, ethnicity or tribe, in any city on the globe. CultureCrush is not only ideal for those looking for someone special in their hometown, but also for expats, travelers, and immigrants looking to find a match for themselves, or a friend, as they travel the world.
In a world where nearly 82% of non-black men on dating apps like OkCupid have been proven to show some bias against black women, CultureCrush celebrates and champions black daters and those who love them with a dating community to call home.
What is your vision for the Tech industry in Africa & diaspora?
Africa is rising. It’s my hope that Africa learns to invest in itself and find the right partners that won't continue to purge it of its resources, capital and genius. I think there is a wealth of opportunity on the continent, we just have to support the entrepreneurs and change makers as they build there.
Women have faced a lot of push back in the technology world. We now hear a lot about "Women in Technology." How have you been able to break all stereotypes or boundaries to where you currently are?
For one, I don't concern myself with who is against me as a woman or a person of color. Your thoughts of me are none of my business. I pour into people who show up, rally and advocate on my behalf. Secondly, I show up for myself and do the best work I can consistently. I've fallen short, ALOT. But I try to add value to everything I do and everywhere I go, while being kind and respectful to people along the way.
Was there ever a time when you felt like throwing in the towel? If so, speak on it and how did you move forward?
Plenty of times. I tend to just give myself time to be upset, feel through it and when my spirit is up to it again, I get up and keep going. Half the time the first step towards getting started is simply getting out of the bed and get your mind and body moving again.
Where do you see Spann & Company in the next 5 years?
Evolving with the times. As I gain more expertise, I'll continue to produce content around it.
What are your aspirations about technology (app creations)?
That I build something that actively makes people's lives easier.
You have been honored as one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women In Tech Under 30, Walker’s Legacy 2016 Power50, Rolling Out’s 25 Women you should know, as one of BET’s Blacks on the Brink of Greatness, as well as one of the 5 future leaders in technology by Black Enterprise Magazine. What did it take to be in this position and for that young lady who aspires to be in the same boat, what advice do you have for them?
Relinquishing fear of late nights, grunt work, who gets the credit, sacrifice, missing out, and the belief that you're not worthy of being here. I would advise young ladies to start seeing opportunity in every failure, problem, set back, heartbreak and challenge. Pursue your passions as if the universe is always operating in your favor and God is always right behind you.
So far, we've talked about your company and apps. What other talents do you possess?
I like to think that I'm pretty funny.
When you are not pursuing your passions what do you do?
Nap. Travel. Laugh. Eat. Repeat.
Who and what motivated you this far in your career?
I think I'm just ambitious by nature. New ideas, companies and projects excite me. I also believe I have an obligation to pursue my passions. Too many people sacrificed for me to be in a position to do anything I wanted. How dare I insult them by not acting on that?
Do you have any kids? If yes, how are you able to juggle between family and your passion?
Nope… Sometimes it’s hard to give your family and friends the attention they deserve and be fully present. Thankfully my tribe is pretty understanding of what I'm trying to do.
What would you do if you weren’t doing your current job?
In another life I'd be an artist. But I still got time, I may do that too.
What are you NOT VERY GOOD at?
Highly analytical or intensely data driven work. I am too much of a creative to crunch numbers all day. Death to spreadsheets. I'm also not a very good dancer, but that never stops me.
How do your values show up in your work?
I try to do everything I do with integrity. Even if I fail or fall short, at least I can say that I tried to treat everyone fairly, honestly and with respect.
What message do you have for those following passion?
You're human, stop putting unreasonable or unrealistic expectations on yourself and then beat yourself up when you don't accomplish them. You will experience highs and lows, wins and losses and you will recover. It will pass. Be kind to yourself on your journey.
What is success to you?
Peace of mind. Consistent Joy. Gratitude… Lots of recurring, passive income wouldn't hurt either.
Is there anything else you would like share about yourself on this podcast?
I think there's a future for me in private equity.
What is the best review/advice you've gotten so far about your business or as an entrepreneur?
Some of the best advice I ever received was from serial entrepreneur and multi-millionaire Michael V. Roberts. I was just starting my career in PR, was assisting his personal publicist and she offered us the opportunity to chat with him briefly in the lobby of one of the hotels he owned. I asked him, "Sir you have 80+ companies and I'm sure a lot more ideas - how do you manage it all? How do you choose what idea comes first? How do you produce on multiple levels?" He replied - think of entrepreneurship like farming. You can plant your carrots or your corn or your beans at once, but that doesn't mean they'll come to harvest at the same time. Everything has its season and own time for gestation - and some things never sprout but that doesn't mean it’s not growing underneath the ground.
How can people reach you?
Thank you for your time Amanda