In this episode of Bootstrapped, we spoke with Brad Sayler, co-founder & CFO/COO of Spotluck. The app is an asset for both restaurateurs and foodies alike offering up discounts to customers while driving foot traffic to restaurants. One might ask-- how did a lawyer get into app development? Brad says, "you don't need to have a computer science degree" to get your product going. He stresses the importance of separating form from function when developing prototypes. He turned to knowledgeable friends and family for the initial bootstrapping of Spotluck. Brad admits satisfying both sides of a 2-sided market is challenging but knowing that there is an ever-changing formula keeps the customer base growing.
Ann Yang and Phil Wong, the co-founders of MISFIT Juicery, started their cold-pressed juice company in their dorm room at Georgetown University with a hundred pounds of peaches and a borrowed blender. A social venture, MISFIT transforms "ugly" fruits and vegetables into visually appealing, delicious juice that disguises its "misfit" origins while combating food waste. Through bootstrapping and a scrappy willingness to ask for help when they needed it, they managed to grow MISFIT into one of the hottest local food startups. After graduating from Halcyon Incubator, they secured funding from angel investors including the Dingman Center Angels, and are currently one of six food startups around the country accepted into the Chobani Food Incubator. In this episode, MISFIT founders Ann Yang and Phil Wong discuss the passion and tenacity required to run a social venture, the secrets of their strong branding strategy and the power of asking for help.
Micha Weinblatt founded his first company, Crooked Monkey, in college at a bar. While sitting at legendary bar Cornerstone, just off campus from the University of Maryland, Micha considered how the traditional college t-shirt could be re-fashioned. Like any true entrepreneur, he started a company that produced cool, graphic t-shirts and called it Crooked Monkey. The shirts are now sold at Bloomingdale's, Urban Outfitters and other chic retailers. Seven years into the venture, Micha got what he calls the "7-year itch" to start something new. That something is Betterific, a platform where ideas and innovation can be crowdsourced. In this episode, Micha talks about how he funded his startups and the one thing every investor or entrepreneur should know before investing in or launching a startup.