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Marcus Curley, CEO
FrostyFlake

FrostyFlake, Marcus Curley

Title / Role: CEO
Location: Laramie, Wyoming
Formed in: 2020
frostyflake.com
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What do you do?

We provide weather monitoring and analytics technology.

What inspired you to start your business?

I have a good friend, Daniel Minton, who has a snow removal and landscaping company here in Laramie, WY. One day in July of 2020 we were having lunch talking business and I asked him “What is the worst part of your job?”.

He told me “Waking up at night for snow removal,” and I replied, “makes sense because it’s cold, snowy, and dark.”  He let me know that it was not all that which made it bad, it was looking at a number of forecasting/weather apps and trying to decipher if it was going to snow. He asked me, “What does a 40% of snow mean? Is it going to snow or not? Not to mention that they all give you different predictions.” 

What he ended up doing was if there was a chance of snow, he would set his alarm and wake up numerous times a night. Sometimes going out and driving around town to his locations to see if it had snowed, and how much. The fear driving this behavior was that he would get a late start to a snow event or miss it altogether. Both of which would be potentially disastrous for his business and his customers.

We went our separate ways and reconnected with another lunch in September. It was a great coincidence as the day before there was an early season storm. Daniel came in and looked rough, and the first thing I said to him was “You look terrible! How many times did you wake up last night?”  He responded, “five.”  I asked him why he did that because every weather person had forecast this storm around.

He told me “Yes it was forecasted, forecasted to start at 10 PM. Do you know when it actually started? 3 AM. That is why I woke up five times watching and waiting anxiously to see what it was going to do.”  At that point, I decided that this was a crazy way to live and run a business, and we set out to search the internet looking for something that would help him out.

After a few hours, we did not have any success. So, I set off for home ready to create something that would watch for snow and notify you when it started in your location. That is how FrostyFlake was born.

What's special about your business?

A number of things, but FrostyFlake is different in three main ways:

  1. We do not do any forecasting.  Everything is in real-time.
  2. We are not a traditional weather technology.  Instead, we took the idea of looking out the window and observing the weather and taught computers how to do that. This created our proprietary artificial weather intelligence.
  3. We are super flexible and scalable. We have over 30,000 cameras built into FrostyFlake for the United States currently and we can easily watch the weather in almost 20,000 towns across the country.
What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

High points:

  • We have had some great success this first year+.  Have won two startup competitions in Wyoming, raised a modest amount of funding, been accepted into the Microsoft for Startups program, have been invited and participated in a national Accelerator, and have had the adoption of our service through 23 U.S. States and 1 Canadian Province.  Wyoming has proven to be an excellent place to start a business are financial and trade show grants, mentorship, and small business development centers for entrepreneurs to take advantage of to start and grow their business.

Low Points:

  • Year 1 was a little tougher than other “normal” years with Covid and the impact that they had on tradeshow attendance. It will be nice to see attendance come back this year.
What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

My good friend John Fisher suggested it early on. He has been a mentor of mine for years, so it was natural to have him, Mark, and Alan provide their advice.

How SCORE helped.

Connections, networking, and regular advice on questions, tradeshow selling, or other important business areas. When you are a founder, you can easily find yourself in the echo chamber of your own mind. SCORE helps to get solid outsiders’ perspectives that you can trust.

What's great about my mentor?

I have three mentors and they have great individual qualities. First, I like their upbeat nature when we meet. That is nice because being a founder is hard and this can be an emotional boost.

From Alan Sipe who is a wealth of info for sales and tradeshows, John Fisher who is a rockstar business and IT executive and can span multiple areas with ease, and Mark Lieberman who brings a software and background that aligns to my company specifically. They all come together to be a very well-rounded and helpful group. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Get a solid network of close advisors that have experience before starting. Have them give you advice and use them regularly as a sounding board. I use my SCORE mentors as my “brain trust” and quasi-board.

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

Check it out. Talk to them and stick with it for at least a quarter of mentorship. It may take a while to find your stride and have mentors understand what you are doing, but once the pieces start to come together you can find some real value.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

Lots! How to start a business on a basic level, get everything set up and running, but most importantly how to sell, which I am still very much learning.

Additional media
My mentors
Headshot of Mark Lieberman
Mark Lieberman

Industry Experience Computer software for medium to large manufacturing companies. I co-founded a...

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Headshot of Alan William Sipe
Alan William Sipe

My philosophy is plain and simple: When all else fails, go sell something! I can help you and your...

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Headshot of John Fisher
John Fisher

I help SCORE clients think differently about a wide range of business challenges and help them craft...

Read full bio
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