VolunteerSpot’s simple sign up application makes it easy to participate and say YES to volunteering. By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Austin-based management consultant and working mom Karen Bantuveris became a Girl Scout leader and PTA board member when her daughter entered school. She was shocked at all the "little things" that made volunteering a hassle. Fueled by frustration with reply-all emails, clipboards, online groups and late night reminder messages, Karen set out to do something about it in 2009...
Fast forward a few years - VolunteerSpot announced $1.5M Series A funding from ff Venture Capital in New York with participation from angels in the Central TX Angel Network, Nebraska Angel Network, AngelList and Baylor Angel Network.
VolunteerSpot founder and CEO Karen Bantuveris said, "This financing round will enable us to advance our product capabilities and amplify our naturally viral growth through focused marketing. We’ve proven we’ve created a very useful tool that moms and volunteers love and tell their friends about."
We asked the VolunteerSpot founder about the process of raising capital for her startup:
"For many women, including myself, asking for money is not a natural strength – in fact it was something I was very uncomfortable with at the beginning when I was launching VolunteerSpot. Then I learned that when you’ve got passionate conviction (and some market evidence) that your company is a winner, seeking investment comes from a position of confidence. It’s important to remember the value proposition – you’re giving others an opportunity to join-in and amplify the success of the business - and they will be handsomely rewarded for doing so.
Karen also has advice for early-stage entrepreneurs pitching for investment:
"I encourage entrepreneurs who are fundraising from angels to pitch frequently and seek feedback. Make sure you learn something from every pitch – maybe you connect with your dream investor, but maybe instead you hear a question or concern you don’t have an answer for yet – and that helps you refine your pitch (and business) and make a more compelling pitch next time.
Boldly ask for introductions to investors and strategic partners who may have an interest and/or alignment with your business."
Congratulations to Karen and her team at VolunteerSpot for venturing forth and securing funding to accelerate their rate of development and growth!
Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the "+1" for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.