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Bill J Hipsher

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Profile

While studying Real Estate and Land Use Economics in preparation for a commercial real estate career, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Hipsher started his first web services company called Omaha Web Ventures. Omaha Web Ventures developed websites and offered hosting, e-mail and local ISP services between 1996 and 2001.

After college Hipsher joined PJ Morgan Real Estate in Omaha, developing skills in all aspects of commercial real estate, including acquisitions, development, public-private partnerships, management, financing and dispositions. His time with PJ Morgan Real Estate brought him the opportunity to work with his mentors in serving national clients like Cox Communications and ConAgra Foods along with hundreds of local clients.

In the late 1990's Hipsher brought his real estate experience into Omaha Web Ventures and developed OmahaStorage.com, the first online directory for the self storage industry. The site was built out of Hipsher's own need to find a better and more affordable way to market available self storage units. The model worked and expanded to other markets in the midwest. By 2001 the model was ready to be taken nationwide, however securing capital for such a venture was difficult and Hipsher sold Omaha Web Ventures to a group of local investors while remaining an advisor to the company. The storage websites were consolidated to one national site, USstoragesearch.com.

Hipsher's initial role with USstoragesearch.com was a limited role and he spent several years participating in the development of several companies and many different real estate ventures. During a 5 year period between 2002 and 2007 Hipsher co-founded a commercial real estate firm, a property management firm, participated in the development of many real estate projects including public/private partnerships that he negotiated to develop hotels, convention centers, mixed-use land developments and multi-family projects with cities throughout the midwest.

USstoragesearch.com grew quickly and Hipsher eventually took a larger role in the business development and operations within the company. By 2008 he was working full-time within USstoragesearch.com, which quickly grew from $1.6M in revenues in 2008 to more than $4M in revenues in 2011. The website became the largest aggregator within the self storage industry representing more than 14,000 storage locations throughout the US.

In 2012 Hipsher, along his business partner Brandon Taylor, decided to leave USstoragesearch.com and formed B² Interactive in Omaha, Neb., which was focused on website development and search engine optimization upon launch. The services and company grew quickly over the first 3 years. By the end of 2015 the company employed more than 50 digital marketing, SEO and website development professionals and had worked with more than 300 clients.

B² Interactive and Hipsher added USstoragesearch.com as a client in 2013, providing web development, SEO and online marketing services. This kept Hipsher in the storage industry and led to the opportunity to provide similar services to the owners of Storage.com, beginning later in 2013.

In 2014, B² Interactive acquired Hurrdat Social Media in Lincoln, Neb.. Hurrdat was a 4 year old company founded by 2 former Nebraska Cornhusker football players that was best known for its social media services and work in sports industries. As B² Interactive's services and client roster expanded the acquisition of Hurrdat was an excellent opportunity to add 14 seasoned digital marketing professionals to the company along with an established client roster.

As B² Interactive continued to work with Storage.com and USstoragesearch.com in a client/vendor relationship Hipsher and Taylor recognized opportunities to leverage their expertise and the abilities of their agencies to take both sites further if they owned and operated the sites rather than serving them as clients. Hipsher and Taylor attempted to acquire the sites and continue their work in the storage industry several times between 2013 and 2015.

In April of 2015 Hipsher and Taylor acquired Storage.com, including the domain, trademarks and ongoing business operations, which were moved from Salt Lake City to Omaha. Shortly thereafter Hipsher and Taylor continued efforts to consolidate the aggregation/directory space within the storage industry. Storage.com acquired StorageUnit.com in 2015 and continued negotiations with USstoragesearch.com.

In August of 2015, B² Interactive acquired Disconnected Media, an established video production company based in Omaha, Neb., as it foresaw a growing need for its clients to have quality video assets for use in their websites and digital marketing campaigns. Disconnected Media would be rebranded as Hurrdat Films and operates as part of the Hurrdat business unit.

In March of 2016, Storage.com completed the acquisition of USstoragesearch.com. Along with the other acquisitions over the prior year Storage.com had become the largest directory of self storage locations throughout the United States, with storage solutions for nearly 30,000 zip codes throughout the US.

Companies and Investments

Omaha Web Ventures (Founder), CornerStone Commercial Real Estate (Co-Founder), Fieldcrest Management (Founder), Development and Equity Services Corporation (Investor & EVP), B2 Interactive (Co-Founder), Hurrdat Social Media (Co-Owner & Managing Partner), Hurrdat Films (Co-Owner), Storage.com (Co-Owner & CEO), USstoragesearch.com (Co-Owner & President)

Lessons Learned

Whatever you think it will take to make your idea/company work triple the time/capital needs initially forecast.

Experience counts, even in emerging technology companies where innovation is key it is good to look back and learn from those who have come before you.

Set real expectations for your family before starting a company and have their full buy-in.

Be truly passionate about what you are doing and the clients you work for or it will show in your results.

Inspiring Quotes

If someone takes the time to pick up the phone and call you, make the time to take or return the call as quickly as you can. Even if a sales call and you need to politely respond no thank-you, show respect and gratitude to the person who thought calling you was worthy use of their time.

PJ Morgan

Bill J Hipsher's Quotes

Influential Books

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Gino Wickman - Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Mentors

PJ Morgan, David Slattery

References


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