Tag: Embarkly

San Antonio-based Embarkly Began at 3 Day Startup in Austin

Nicole DeLeon, founder of Embarkly, based at Geekdom in San Antonio

Last October, Nicole DeLeon attended 3 Day Startup, a weekend entrepreneurial event, in Austin with an idea for a pet boarding site.
DeLeon’s idea got picked.
That weekend she developed the project with a team of eight people and by the end, they had a demo of the site ready to go. They also changed the name from BoardMe to Embarkly.
Embarkly helps people find and book pet boarding facilities. It’s a consolidated marketplace online with listings, prices, reviews, availability and the ability to book online. The site seeks to make pet boarding simple.
DeLeon rapidly got a prototype launched and she performed well at 3 Day Startup, said Pat Condon, one of the investors in the Geekdom Fund and a cofounder of Rackspace.
“One of the biggest benefits of programs like 3 Day Startup from an investor’s perspective is that you really get an inside look at how startup founders perform in the pressure cooker and it really showcases how much they can get done with extremely limited resources (money and time),” Condon said. “In today’s world, this extra insight for an investor can be the difference between success and failure.”
The Geekdom Fund made a seed stage equity investment in Embarkly.
The pet boarding market and pet services industry in general is quite large and Embarkly’s business model is quite scalable, Condon said.
“Plus, probably even more importantly, is the fact that so many pet owners really treat pets as family members and are willing to spend money on them accordingly” he said.
Embarkly seeks to become the “Expedia” of the $2 billion pet boarding industry. Right now, the service is available in all the major metropolitan markets in Texas. DeLeon plans to expand nationwide in coming months.
Embarkly pitched at Texas Ventures Labs Investment Competition Finals last February seeking $400,000 in financing.
At that time, the company estimated that it could achieve potential annual revenue of $72.5 million with a 10 percent market stake. It faces competition from Findpetcare.com, Petbookings.com, Dogboarding.com and others. The company makes money by generating leads for pet boarding facilities.
While Embarkly didn’t win, it did get traction at the event. DeLeon went on to raise money from some angel investors including an executive at Home Away. Travis Skelly, one of the founders, left the company to take a job on the east coast. Today, DeLeon runs the company in San Antonio and her cofounder Orion Jensen works out of Austin.
DeLeon recently moved her company to Geekdom, a collaborative and coworking space on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre in downtown San Antonio.
This past weekend DeLeon spent volunteering as a mentor for Startup Weekend San Antonio. She knows it’s possible to go from idea to a company in a weekend.
But it’s not easy.
“Startup weekends really work, but you must work them,” said Allen Torng, one of the organizers of Startup Weekend San Antonio. “You have to take the energy from the weekend and propel that forward. Everyone’s going to be asking what you’ve done since. Building a startup is hard. A lot harder than a Startup Weekend. It’s important to create achievable goals and be willing to do whatever it takes to meet them.”
DeLeon started Embarkly because she had trouble finding quality pet care for her dog, Carson, and cats, Bonito and Bob.
She was born and raised in San Antonio but she’s lived in Los Angeles and upstate New York. She has always had pets so she knows first hand how tough it can be to find quality care for them while she’s travelling.
Before founding Embarkly, DeLeon worked as a mergers and acquisition lawyer for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP and as a prosecutor for two years. She has a law degree from the University of Texas Law School in Austin and she passed the Texas Bar Exam.
“And although it didn’t make a difference for Geekdom fund to invest, I love the fact that Nicole left her law career behind to pursue her passion…that is just a great story,” Condon said. “She’s obviously willing to take the risk necessary to make a startup successful.”
At her heart, DeLeon’s always been an entrepreneur.
During her college years, she ran her own business online through eBay and she became one of its first PowerSellers. She ran a wholesale electronics import business into Argentina from China.
“Technology had enabled all of these things to happen,” she said.
She sold about $1.2 million worth of retail goods, she said. While she liked being a mergers and acquisition lawyer, she didn’t like being a prosecutor. So now she’s revisiting her entrepreneurial roots.
“What we are trying to build is a site extremely tailored to pet care services,” DeLeon said. “We see a huge need in the marketplace.”

eyeQ wins the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition Finals

The startup eyeQ won the 2012 Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition Finals last night at the University of Texas’s McCombs School of Business.
The founders, Michael Garel, CEO, and Harish Jayakumar, CTO, beat 15 other teams during the semifinals held earlier in February and three teams in the finals. The students will receive their MBAs this year. As winner of the competition, eyeQ receives a one-year membership and an office in the Austin Technology Incubator. eyeQ will also go on to compete in the 2012 Global Venture Labs Investment Competition that will be held in Austin in early May.

eyeQ's founders Michael Garel and Harish Jayakumar pitch their company

The judges thought eyeQ had the best idea, strongest management team and the clearest and most persuasive business plan and oral presentation.
eyeQ has a system to monitor consumer purchasing behavior which includes in-store cameras, analytical software and a smart screen. The system is designed to encourage consumers to buy products in the store instead of going online to make a purchase.
Every month, people use Amazon’s smart phone price scanning app to do about 20 million product searches, Garel said. That means the consumers go to the store to evaluate the product they want to buy and then they scan it with their phones and buy it online.
“Something needs to be done to prevent these online retailers from hijacking sales from brick and mortar stores,” Garel said.
A $17 billion market exists for analyzing and influencing consumer behavior, he said.
“Retail stores have a compelling need to understand and influence consumer purchasing behavior and provide an “online” experience in store,” Garel said.
That’s where eyeQ comes in. It monitors consumer purchase behavior at the shelf level with eyeQ’s dedicated camera, software and server. The system can then offer the consumer product information on a smart screen at the shelf and display a special price if the consumer buys in the next 60 minutes.
eyeQ has entered into a beta test at Golfsmith’s stores. It then plans to approach Home Depot, Costco Wholesale and other retailers like Target, Lowe’s and Best Buy
eyeQ is seeking to raise $450,000 to finish development and do the initial deployment of its system this year. Next year, eyeQ plans to raise another $850,000 to expand to 30 stores. Its goal is to be in 220 stores by 2014. The founders have already invested $44,000 in the project.
eyeQ competed against Embarkly, Athena Laboratories and Simple Invest.

Rob Adams, director of the Venture Labs Investment Competition, announcing eyeQ as the winner

For the first time in the competition’s history, the judges did not declare a second, third and fourth place finisher, said Rob Adams, director of the Venture Labs Investment Competition. He made the announcement at a gathering at Gabriel’s at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center following the competition.
“The rest of the competitors were too evenly matched,” he said.
One of the competitors was Embarkly, a pet boarding service, seeking to become the “Expedia” of the $2 billion industry.
The service helps pet owners make reservations at pet boarding facilities, said Travis Skelly, one of its founders. Nicole Dimetman is the cofounder and CEO.
“The problem is that finding a place to board my pet sucks,” Skelly said. “It’s time consuming, inconvenient and just dropping a dog off at some random location is not ideal.”
The Embarkly online marketplace allows users to log on and make a reservation at a boarding facility with little hassle, Skelly said.
Skelly estimates the company could achieve potential annual revenue of $72.5 million with a 10 percent market stake. It faces competition from Findpetcare.com, Petbookings.com, Dogboarding.com and others. The company makes money by generating leads for pet boarding facilities.
Embarkly is seeking $400,000 financing.
Simple Invest showed off its cloud-based automated platform that enables investors to diversify and rebalance their portfolio and improve their long-term investment results.

Texas Longhorn Network interviews Rohit Sharma, CEO of Simple Invest

Rohit Sharma, CEO, said diversification leads to investment success.
His product is aimed at the 96 million people in the U.S. with portfolios of $100,000 to $1 million.
Those investors have to chose among 7581 mutual funds and more than 4,500 broker dealers.
“The market is large,” Sharma said. “There is a genuine pain point.”
Next year, Simple Invest launches with five beta users. It plans to expand to 187,500 users by 2021 and revenue of $34 million.
Its competitors include spreadsheets, financial advisors, product providers and financial software.
Sharma is seeking $550,000 preferred equity for 17 percent stake in Simple Invest.
Athena Laboratories pitched its patented laser treatment for cellulite called FemtoSmooth.
FemtoSmooth is a pain-free, effective, cellulite removal involving a cool laser technology, which is high intensity laser treatment for a very short duration. It effectively treats the cause of cellulite and it’s minimally invasive. It only requires one treatment, which takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Athena Laboratories had the largest management team of all the competitors. The team is comprised of Albert Alvarez, Alex Garcia, Dr. Wendell Craig Johnson, Wayne P. Whitmore, Ravine Woods and Yewen (Wendy) Wu.
The cellulite treatment industry is a $6 billion market in the U.S. with 85 percent of women and 25 percent of men affected by cellulite, said Woods.
“There’s a market demand for an effective treatment for cellulite,” Woods said. “Over the last 10 years – cosmetic minimally invasive procedures are up 110 percent and cellulite treatments are up 30 percent.’’
So far, FemtoSmooth’s inventors have invested $1.4 million and they have 14 patents on the technology. The team is seeking another $7.5 million to take the product to market.
The company projects $45 million in revenue by 2017.

© 2024 SiliconHills

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑