When Tandon alum Miguel Guerrero was simply 14 years outdated, he created a Minecraft server that was at one level thought-about the world’s largest. This was solely the start of his entrepreneurial endeavors; Guerrero went on to co-found Otis AI, an organization that creates advertising and marketing campaigns for small companies.
Guerrero has all the time been uncovered to the phrase of entrepreneurship, as each side of his household operated small companies. Pushed by his household’s endeavors and his ardour for Minecraft, Guerrero based the MeepCraft Minecraft Server, a digital financial system inside the sport. After graduating from the Tandon Faculty of Engineering in 2019, Guerrero co-founded Otis AI. Since then, his work earned him a spot on Forbes’ 2023 30 Underneath 30 checklist beneath the Advertising and marketing and Promoting class.
In an interview with WSN, Guerrero spoke extra about creating MeepCraft, how he took benefit of alternatives at NYU and the influence of Otis AI.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
WSN: Might you share extra about your journey in creating MeepCraft?
Guerrero: Initially, I began it as a result of I loved taking part in Minecraft. I used to be simply taking part in with my household and some associates on a non-public server, and I began so as to add capabilities into the server, issues which are distinctive — just like the financial system, the city system and a digital store. It began to take off organically as a result of we had been posting on completely different boards and getting some natural traction. Ultimately, after it grew to a sure measurement, we arrange a income stream for the servers in order that it may pay for additional improvement and enlargement and infrastructure prices.
Because the income stream started to move, Guerrero started to put money into extra promoting and advertising and marketing campaigns, which concerned securing sponsorships on varied server lists. Guerrero additionally collaborated with influencers similar to PrestonPlayz and MrWoofless, who made gameplay movies on his Minecraft server.
WSN: What challenges did you encounter when creating MeepCraft, and the way did you keep the server over an prolonged time frame?
Guerrero: The Minecraft server was a big success and a really worthwhile, recurring income enterprise, however I additionally made a whole lot of good errors as a result of I used to be 14 years outdated after I began it. I needed to study a lot about the best way to run infrastructure and make it scalable for customers, however I additionally needed to study enterprise and interpersonal connections by doing enterprise with others. Most people I knew had been those that I had met on-line, and there’s a unique degree of belief that comes with that. Sadly, there have been a couple of those that I labored with who ended up being scammers, however I realized lots from these selections as a result of if you expertise failure, there’s much more studying alternatives that may strengthen you within the subsequent stage of your journey. Now, the server remains to be working, so it’s actually a testomony to the enduring nature of the Minecraft server and the sturdy group that MeepCraft has.
After the server’s success, Guerrero utilized to Tandon as an Built-in Digital Media main. At NYU, he created the cellular processing app TABu — which allowed customers to open and shut bar tabs from their telephones — with two different college students on the college. The app was featured on the app-pitching tv present Planet of the Apps. The one motive Guerrero and the opposite college students behind the app didn’t observe by means of to the following spherical of funding was as a result of they didn’t wish to drop out of faculty to pursue the enterprise.
WSN: How did your time at NYU form your profession?
Guerrero: Going to NYU was top-of-the-line selections I may have made as a result of it actually expanded my world and my alternative. I’ve met folks of all completely different backgrounds as properly. The world has been opened by being a part of an establishment like NYU. Take into consideration all of the those that haven’t been a part of that type of expertise or schooling that won’t essentially be capable of meet their potential as a result of they didn’t have the doorways open for them. That’s one thing NYU actually helped me with. Wherever something goes sooner or later, I’ll positively attribute a whole lot of the success to NYU and my early entrepreneurship experiences.
Guerrero met Clarence Williams by means of a mentor whereas attending NYU’s Summer time Launchpad in 2018, which TABu was part of. Williams and Guerrero labored to deliver Otis AI to life, and by the point Guerrero graduated, he had efficiently acquired the preliminary spherical of funding for the corporate.
WSN: What was it prefer to create Otis AI, and what has its influence been?
Guerrero: A part of the rationale why we began Otis AI was as a result of we wished to take lots of the enterprise-level advertising and marketing methods and make them extra easy and accessible for small and medium-sized companies. COVID-19 catalyzed the transformation of small companies, so having a web-based presence went from one thing good to being obligatory within the digital age. The influence of Otis AI helps companies attain their potential at present. Small companies are solely placing a small quantity of income — about 2% of their gross income — on digital advertising and marketing.
In 2023, Otis AI was chosen for the Google For Startups Black Founders Fund, which awards as much as $150,000 in money and mentorship to high startups which have a minimum of one Black founder on their group.
WSN: How have your earlier experiences introduced you to the place you’re at present?
Guerrero: My story and early trajectory have been, in some ways, not conventional. I’ve amassed a breadth of various experiences which have been complementary in a method or one other, they usually don’t all match collectively, however that’s worthwhile. Folks shouldn’t be afraid of attempting new issues. Folks ought to give attention to investing in themselves, whether or not that’s having a good way of life, investing of their schooling or investing of their community and connections, as a result of the human capital element goes to drive their future profession trajectory.
Contact Bruna Horvath and Jason Alpert-Wisnia at [email protected].