So we might have told you about the Sunday Business Post interviewing us for a piece they run on Irish startups. The article was published at 4m NY time and we woke up that morning to a tonne of emails and messages on our Twitter and Facebook about it.
It was great, we got massive coverage back home and in among the well wishers was a person who emailed us about investing in the company!
We were on cloud nine. Literally. After landing a place on the Incubator, this was the best thing that had happened the PearUp team. The offer was also a great boost for us and our idea.
The would-be-investor had been following Phillip Connolly’s columns on start-ups over on the SBP website and he had already invested in other startups who appeared in Philip’s columns.
Ironically, just the previous evening we had been at a 3.5 hour class over at General Assembly on Angel Investors.
Over the course of a week we had a call and 2 emails. We outlined what our costs were to keep the show running over here for the next 6 monmths and he told us he could cover them. Then he put a few numbers on the table.
It was really interesting dealing with him, the conversation really helped give us clarity on the sales side. He outlined a 15 point plan that got us thinking about the customer cancellations side of the product.
At the end of the day the timing was wrong. We are still pre-customer, we need to get out and try and sell our product.
On Angel Investors Generally
He was looking for 12% and we felt that was a lot to give away… particularly given the scale of the US market. It would also have set the overall company valuation.
We want to keep pushing the project for 3-6 months and see where that takes us. It was obviously a big call passing this up, we took a week over it, but we feel we need customers and only then we can approach Angel Investors.
We got great legal advice on the investment side from our lawyers at SNR Denton.
They took us through the legal aspects covering off different types of structures such as convertible promissory notes, preferred shares, what we were offering the investor and how it might impact on a round of VC funding in a couple of years time.
We didn’t realise that taking an investor on board now could make things difficult later on. We don’t want to be in an unfavourable position a year down the line if we are looking at raising another round of funding.
We might well need an investment in 6 months time, but we didn’t just want to take it for the sake of taking it. If someone is willing to invest now, pre-customer, has made us confident going forward.
We are gaining massive commercial experience of being over here and the bid helped focus us. You have to think big about your idea, and in a place like New York, thinking big is second nature.
There are days when it has been really hard, and all of this was a great confidence boost and got a buzz going for us again.
The timing of everything was good for us we re-wrote our business plan and it gave us the chance to refocus the product. As a result the App is no longer about pairing users together, PearUp is still a feature of the product, but now you can book into anything and pay for it.
We are transitioning into Rzerv.com, and the app now looks cleaner and we have improved the navigation. We are re-branding the product, we’ve a new logo and a new website, we also need to re-brand all our social platforms (Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter).
We’ve picked things up and given ourselves momentum on the sales side. We now need to populate the product with clubs.
By re-thinking the product we’ve opened up our customer base to every health club in NY. The App will be a revenue generator and channel to market for our customers.
We’ve contacted some sports clubs, we were chuffed that one of these, Soul Cycle, ‘liked’ the link to the article that we posted on Facebook. We are also taking a stand at a big health and fitness expo on the 27th of October.
Some other events and meets
We went to a Trinity alumni event over here three weeks ago and Orla Power, from JP Morgan, invited us to speak at their next event. The event is titled ‘Are entrepreneurs born or made?’ It is a great way to publicise ourselves.
We’ve been really impressed so far with the alumni events over here. There’s also plenty of cheese and wine, so as an increasingly lean startup we can stuff our pockets with bread and cheese!
We were also asked to speak at Trinity’s careers week, it was really nice to be asked but we won’t be able to make that one.
We met another ex-pat Enda King from WhatIf. They help to invent new products, brands, services, and business models, as well as providing problem solving for small companies. Enda took us to lunch over inn Chelsea, it was nice to see the West side of the city for a change. We spent an hour and half shooting the breeze and he was able to plug us in with Dogpatch NYC.
We would love to be over at the Dublin Web Summit, while some people have said the line-up is less inspiring this year. As Europe’s largest Tech conference it gives huge international press to Ireland that can only be a good thing. Unfortunately the timing isn’t right for that one either. Maybe next year!