By Tara Hunt (Co-Founder & CEO, Buyosphere)
Hi, I’m Tara Hunt, co-founder and CEO of Buyosphere, a Montreal-based bootstrapped startup that is aiming to positively impact the world by giving consumers access to their buying history. All sorts of revolutionary stuff is going to come of it and we’re just getting started, but we’ve already gotten lots of people excited!

Earlier this year, me and my company applied to be part of the prestigious Astia program in NYC. It’s a really great program for first time women CEO’s of which I’m one. From their website:
“Astia is a unique, global not-for-profit organization. We provide innovative programs that ensure companies gain access to capital, achieve and sustain high-growth, and develop the executive leadership of the founding team.”

When we applied, I thought we’d have raised some seed money by now… and because of the high number of applications and great candidates, it was a long shot to get into the program at all. I applied, then waited. Then found out we were short-listed and had to get to New York to present in front of a panel of judges. When I found out we got through the screening and were one of the chosen few accepted to the program, I was elated… yet saddened.

Entry to the program costs $5000. And we just don’t have that kind of money. We’re so bootstrapped we are sandal-strapped (see my TEDxConcordia talk)! And though we do what we can to keep paying the awesome people building Buyosphere, I can’t justify paying for this program out of our teensy bits of bootstrapped money left because it would mean not paying a developer or designer.

So… I’ve come here to see if I can micro-fund my participation in this program!
The Impact

This program unlocks all sorts of opportunities and knowledge for me as a first time CEO of a startup. It’s basically an accelerator for getting to understand financing, operations, venture capital and all of the facets of the startup world I’m struggling with getting up to speed with. It also gives us a leg up with introductions and connections. Basically, it’s akin to what Y Combinator does for idea-stage startups: being part of the program in itself is an accomplishment and those who are introduced to you through the program know that you not only made the cut, but are now more prepared to succeed.

Ultimately, this will help me be the best leader I can be for Buyosphere. And that is good news for those who believe in our vision. I think it’s important to have leadership that is strongly visionary at a company like ours so nobody loses site of the goals.

What We Need & What You Get

The cost of the program is $5000. I’ve had loads of friends ask how they can help… This just formalizes it. I’ll pay my own way to NYC and find places to stay. I’m getting rather fond of the bus and couch surfing! πŸ™‚ 100% of the money raised goes to the program.

What I pledge to do going forward in general:

  • I will continue to share my lessons and knowledge to everyone openly – making sure that nobody has to struggle or make the same mistakes I have.
  • I will mentor anyone else through these processes that needs advice, guidance or even just a shoulder to cry on.
  • I will continue to tell the whole story – so that we can see how it really is to do a startup today.

Other Ways You Can Help
Spread the word! Post that you donated to Facebook and Twitter (provided)! Keep sending me your love, support and encouragement!

Photos by Lane Hartwell.

Abou the guest blogger: Tara “missrogue” Hunt is a crazy audacious dreamer and the co-founder and CEO of Buyosphere (where you build your ‘buy’ography). Tara was named as one of the most influential women in technology as well as one of the 25 female startup founders to watch in Fast Company Magazine. She wrote The Whuffie Factor/The Power of Social Networking (published in 8 languages), is a conference speaker and co-founded the international coworking movement. Follow her on Twitter at @missrogue.