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Women 2.0 Talks With Liza Falzone: Her Startup Revel Systems Edged Out Square For Business iPad App Award At MacWorld

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By Dana Rosenberg (Startup Enthusiast, Self)

Last week, female-founded Revel Systems won the Business iPad App of the Year Award at MacWorld’s iWorld, where users vote to finalize the verdict.

With the triumph of Revel Systems, led by Lisa Falzone, over its opponent Square, led by Jack Dorsey, some are calling this a “David & Goliath” story.

So, how did this powerful female come to take down the payment systems giant? We caught up with Lisa to find out.

Women 2.0: What does Revel Systems do?

Lisa Falzone: We are an iPad based Point of Sales (POS) system. But we’re also more than just a cash register app, we’re going after real businesses, like restaurant chain Popey’s and coffee chain Illy. We do all the analytics, from front-end where the cashier enters an order to back-end, where managers user employee analytics, real-time inventory tracking, and all the nuts and bolts a retailer and restaurant needs.

Women 2.0: How did you get started with Revel Systems?

Lisa Falzone: I started Revel with my co-founder, Christopher, one and a half years ago. At the time, we were working on a completely different idea for an iPhone app, but along the way we realized POS was such an issue in the industry– the pain points in POS eventually led us to Revel.

POS systems at restaurants we visited were really bulky, archaic, had not been updated in years, and had servers on the backend as well. We decided to pivot and create a new POS system with the iPad as the perfect touch screen.

Women 2.0: Most aspiring entrepreneurs wonder how to find the right co-founder. How were you matched up with Chris?

Lisa Falzone: It’s actually a funny story. I write this blog with inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs. He found the blog and commented on it. At the time I was working on websites and he started talking about helping out with those projects. When we started developing the iPhone together, we both saw the opportunity in POS systems and got behind Revel.

Women 2.0: The Business iPad App of the Year Award is a great accomplishment. What’s next for Revel Systems?

Lisa Falzone: Well we raised $3.7 million in April and we’re in the middle of raising a second round right now. Our goal is to control local commerce, so we want to be that connector – for the Groupons, for the rewards, for all the companies on them. Right now, they can’t connect to the current POS and we want to do that. Since we’re cloud based, we own the data, so we want to be the new local commerce.

Women 2.0: Any advice for women entrepreneurs?

Lisa Falzone: Just go for it! A lot of people stand around thinking about it and don’t take action. But, a lot of our success is from not being afraid to fail. With the iPhone app we were developing, that idea may not have been the winning idea, but we pivoted and found one that was. Working on one idea led into another idea. The point is to just go out there, try, and not be afraid to fail.

When it comes to raising money, I think women entrepreneurs have to stick together. You go into these VC firms and 9/10 people are men, and the one woman that’s there is sitting at the front desk. There are female VCs out there that are really cool, you just have to find them.

Women 2.0: Anything else to add?

Lisa Falzone: The POS market is ripe for disruption and we’re going to be the one to take it there. We’re looking for partners, like rewards companies, that would want to get in with us.

Women 2.0: We’re amazed with how far Lisa has taken this idea in under two years and thrilled we had the opportunity to talk to her. Her story is an example to all entrepreneurs to just make the leap – you’ll find your way.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest interviewer: Dana Rosenberg is the Community Development Lead at HealthTap, where she is in charge of user acquisition and engagement, marketing, PR, and branding. Dana is also the Lead for Women 2.0 Founder Friday Silicon Valley. Prior to moving out west, Dana was a consultant at a boutique healthcare strategy consulting firm in New York, where she advised clients on target screening, acquisition and product commercialization opportunities. Follow her on Twitter at @Dana_Rosenberg.