Startup Funding is the podcast for business owners ready to attract funding. We talk with founders who have successfully raised money, venture capitalists and angel investors who have funded amazing startups. You will get all of the information that you need to take your business to the next level.
Take Over like Azim Barodawala
On this episode of Startup Funding hosted by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus we have Azim Barodawala who is the CEO of Atlanta-based Volantio Inc, a technology based focused on helping industries with highly volatile pricing and availability. This technology particularly applies to the travel industry and increases conversion rates while reducing costs. He is also a graduate of Duke University and completed his MBA in the Walton School along with a Masters in International Affairs from the University of Pennsylvania.
Azim, who has a strong passion for travel, innovation, technology, and strategy, has been able to utilize his significant international experience to solve the problem of last minute airline ticket sales. He talks about his experiences and why he decided to become an entrepreneur in a startup company. Azim explains better what Volantio Inc, actually does and how they are able to solve a major problem in ticket sales.
“Are you really passionate about what you are doing?” According to Azim, passion is a huge part of a successful startup, sharing how his passion for traveling was a huge factor in changing the way Volantio Inc operated in the past. Volantio Inc was already setup before Azim came into the picture and he tells us how he was able to properly integrate and overcome that challenge.
According to Azim, “financial concerns are the ones that can hold some people back” stating that monetary gains or glory shouldn’t be the main focus for startups, instead they should aim to solve a problem, in his case, Azim is trying to change and fundamentally impact how airlines are able to sell their tickets.
We get to hear Azim’s best and worst parts of raising capital including the highlights of the fundraising process for his business. We get to learn network building tips like writing a thank you card to potential investors and leveraging personal connections which will make funding much easier.
Speaking on the best advice he has received, Azim recommends a lecture he once heard on: 10 pieces of advice for a mega-successful career and a fulfilling life. These tips include focusing on objectives and starting your day early for higher effectiveness. The episode ends with Azim giving some words of wisdom to startup founders who want to raise money for their business.
Roshawnna and Azim discuss:
[04:09] Azim talks about himself and why he decided to become an entrepreneur.
[05:25] We get to hear more about the company and what has Azim fired up.
[12:44] Azim talks about how he was able to come into the business.
[16:50] Azim talks about his passion and how it was able to help him in the business.
[20:25] “Tell us about the best and worst parts of raising capital.”
[26:16] We learn what may have held him back from investing in the business.
[34:52] Azim shares a personal habit that contributes to his success.
[50:23] Azim shares words of wisdom for founders who want to raise capital.
Alternative Startup Financing with Jessica Norwood
Today on Startup Funding hosted by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus we have Jessica Norwood who is a fellow of Nathan Cummings Foundation and the founder of The Runway Project which uses entrepreneurship as a way to bridge the wealth gap for black-owned businesses. They do this by providing the early pre-seed capital and business support a.k.a friend and family money.
Jessica who is based in Mobile, Alabama and grew up between politics and entrepreneurship, believes that the entrepreneurial spirit has always been a part of her. As a result of a childhood surrounded by politics, she saw several opportunities where black entrepreneurship could be strengthened, more than what was already being done. Having done some work with some major foundations on food investment in Alabama, Jessica saw how she could get more direct investments to support the entire eco-system surrounding black farmers from the production side to the consumption side.
The problem Jessica saw was that investors cared more about later stage, growth type of capital where assets may be used for collateral but many startups are undercapitalized from the very beginning. Also, friends and family money which represents a $60 billion industry was not readily available for African Americans because of the wealth gap.
If you’ve ever wanted to know about trends in the food and agriculture industry, listen to Jessica talk about innovations in the industry including business to business operations and small scale in-house farming. Jessica isn’t only interested in the agriculture sector though, in her words “what I’m most passionate about is the entire eco-system surrounding how we deliver friends and family money to entrepreneurs of color in particular.” She also outlines the innovations and movements that are going on to make her idea a reality.
Jessica also gives advice to people who aren’t accredited investors but wish to support startup companies ate the seed stage. When asked how we can open people's mind to the cultural realities behind black startup founders towards seeing more social enterprises evolve, Jessica states that with a greater inclusion of people who come from those communities to be a part of creating the solution we can effect a culture change by using diversity as a strategy to understanding where good business opportunities are.
Don’t miss out on Jessica’s advice to startup founders so that they can be as attractive to investors as possible. Her advice includes greater inclusion and visibility and she also shares examples of how this can be done. That’s not all, we get to learn a personal habit of Jessica’s that contributes to her success in this deeply insightful episode.
Roshawnna and Jessica discuss:
[02:50] Jessica talks more about herself and her she came up with the idea for Runway Project.
[06:01] We get to learn more about trends in agriculture and urban farming.
[09:40] We learn what other sectors Jessica is interested in asides agriculture.
[19:10] Jessica shares a story of an entrepreneur that helped her push forward to create her approach.
[25:40] They talk about changing the cultural perception surrounding startup founders.
[32:42] Jessica shares recommendations for entrepreneurs who can’t access funding easily.
[41:40] Jessica answers an interesting question from Dr. Roshawnna
EnrichHER Initiative Recap
Bootstrap Capital, a non-profit organization, partners with the City of Atlanta to host EnrichHER, on April 27, 2017 at 6:00 PM at Atlanta Tech Village. EnrichHER is a citywide event featuring Atlanta’s most successful women executives; and local women-led companies will be given the opportunity to pitch their businesses for the chance to win a $5,000 grant.
EnrichHer is an initiative developed by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus , with the support of Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell’s, “Back to Business” program. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report , Georgia was listed as a top ten state for spurring economic growth among female business owners. “My Back to Business program is partnering with EnrichHER so that more women-led businesses may flourish within the City of Atlanta,” says Mitchell.
EnrichHER will be an evening of sharing, learning and leading. The program includes networking, panel discussions, keynote presentations, and a business pitch competition. Dr. Novellus will share the stage with Lisa Nicole Cloud , founder, Women’s Empowerment Network and serial-entrepreneur; Kimberly Blackwell , advisor, PMM & NBWC ; Susan Oh , managing partner, Telemundo ; Veronica Maldonado-Torres , program director, Georgia Protege Project ; Genevieve Bos , managing partner, Thought Capital ; and Rashan Ali , multi-media personality. Judges for the business pitch competition will include: Grace Fricks , president, Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs ; Theia Washington , executive director, Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative ; and Dina Marto , founder of Twelve Studios .
EnrichHer is the first city-wide effort aimed at connecting women in business with local resource organizations providing funding, childcare, mentorship, educational trainings, grant opportunities, and other business resources that increase long-term sustainability. “My vision for EnrichHER is to be a resource for networking and educating entrepreneurs on everything that is available to support and help them become successful.” states Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, “That's what makes us different. Many of these organizations do well, but operate in silos, sometimes their messages only go so far, limiting their reach, but if we unified all of these diverse businesses, they could truly benefit from each other."
Tickets, speaker and panelist bios, and vendor opportunity information are available online at, EnrichHER.co . To join the conversation follow the hashtag #EnrichHER on Twitter , Instagram , and Facebook .
About Dr. Roshawnna Novellus
Dr. Roshawnna Novellus , known as the Wealthy Yogi, is the co-founder of Bootstrap Capital and Host of Startup Funding. She is passionate about helping business owners ready to attract funding. She provides financial investments to local businesses and educates them on financial management . Dr. Novellus has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, WSJ, and Rolling Out. She has also completed the Pipeline Angels Fellowship, a Kauffman program in angel investing. Roshawnna serves on the Commission on Women for the City of Atlanta, and was honored as one of the Women Who Means Business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
About Bootstrap Capital
Bootstrap Capital is laser-focused on helping early stage companies achieve what others believe is impossible. Bootstrap Capital is a non-profit organization that connects entrepreneurs with the resources, networks, and funding needed to be successful. Through their hybrid approach, they partner with passionate founders who are looking to transform large markets. Their tagline is: “We are entrepreneurs investing in entrepreneurs.”
EnrichHER Edition: She Unites with Shade Smith
Today on our EnrichHer edition of StartUp Funding hosted by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus we have Shade Smith who tells us more about why she decided to become an entrepreneur and what gave her the idea behind her clothing company She Unites. While trying to feel comfortable with her clothing styles as a lover of active gear, Shade Smith wanted to be able to seamlessly transition between her day to day activities and decided to create a platform which extends from fashion into a means of helping women achieve their goals and balance their lives.
Shade Smith shares with us things she has been working on that has her excited including trying to get funding for her business and getting the name and brand to the mainstream so it gets easily recognizable. On the question of what success looks like for She Unites, Shade Smith sees success as a united front of women pushing the idea of feminism in a positive light and getting women to step outside their comfort zone and make a big mark on the society.
When creating She Unites, Shade Smith had some challenges which she shares with us and also how she overcame them. One of which is having a busy schedule and having to balance various activities at once without being stressed out. Shade Smith also share with us what we can all do to make sure that She Unites is successful.
Roshawnna and Shade Smith discuss:
[01:40] Shade Smith tells us more about why she decided to become an entrepreneur and what gave her the idea behind her clothing company.
[02:50] We get to learn what is going on with She Unites right now that has Shade Smith excited.
[03:21] Shade Smith gets to answer the question “What does success look like for you?”
[04:40] Shade Smith shares with us obstacles she has overcome and what she learnt from that experience.
[05:48] Here we see what impact She Unites has on the city of Atlanta.
[06:40] Shade Smith tells us how we can help make her vision for She Unites a reality.
EnrichHER Edition: Girls Going Global with Martice Sutton
On our EnrichHer edition of StartUp Funding hosted by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus we have Martice Sutton the founder of Girls Going Global explains the reason behind her business, how she came up with the idea and what made her venture into entrepreneurship. A former international studies major, Martice always knew she wanted to make an impact in the community.
After graduating from Spelman College she worked abroad on social enterprise in India where she worked with several girls organizations and decided that she wanted to do something to expose girls form her home town to the different cultures and experiences all over the world and created the startup company: Girls Going Global. Martice describes her initiative as a no-vacation experience, exposing girls to global cultures, global issues and ensuring they know that there is more to the world than their immediate community.
Martice shares with us happenings in her business that has got her excited with over 40 girls coming from all over the country with plans of visiting new places and encountering their very first world wonder. She also shares the grand vision for Girls Going Global where she would love to see various chapters all over the country and being able to expose more girls to global experiences.
Every entrepreneur is a problem solver and Martice is no exception, during our interview she shares with us several challenges she has had to overcome and how she learnt from them. Girls Going Global also has a huge impact in Atlanta with plans of engaging more Atlanta girls through education and opportunity creation. Martice also shares with us the ways we can help support her initiative and ensure it becomes a success.
Roshawnna and Martice Sutton discuss:
[01:50] Martice tells us more about what Girls Going Global is, how she came up with the idea and what led her into entrepreneurship.
[03:00] We get to know more on why it’s important to expose girls to cultures of different countries.
[03:40] Martice shares with us happenings in her business that has her excited at the moment.
[04:56] We get to learn about challenges which Martice has faced with starting up Girls Going Global.
[05:41] Martice answers the question “How is your business impacting Atlanta?”
[06:18] Martice shows us how we can help support her vision for Girls Going Global.
EnrichHER Edition: Dare Dream Dance with Cicely Kelly and Rae Coleman
Today on our EnrichHer edition of StartUp Funding hosted by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus we have the crew of Dare Dream Dance who speak to us about how they came up with the idea for a dance academy and why they decided to become entrepreneurs: Cicely Kelly & Rae Coleman. Being Atlanta natives they saw the opportunity to develop a curriculum for dancers of this generation and have a noticeable impact in the community.
Dare Dream Dance started in 2013 in a studio in Atlanta and today it has grown to become a wonderful program with so many different success stories and many different studios all over the country. Dare Dream Dance has an ambitious long term goal of being a recognizable name when it comes to quality dance and being the go-to school for anyone who is trying to become a booking working dancer and provide them with the tools they need to be successful for a long time.
Creating a dance studio isn’t the easiest thing to do and Cicely of Dare Dream Dance shares with obstacles she has had to overcome and what she learnt from that. Dance isn’t all that’s on their minds though, being Atlanta natives Dare Dream Dance crew have various impacts on the city of Atlanta asides dancing with each member contributing in her own way to make the community better.
We can all contribute to the success story of Dare Dream Dance and the crew shares with us how we can go about making their dance studio a success.
Roshawnna and Dare Dream Dance discuss:
[01:50] The crew share with us how they came up with the idea and they decided to become entrepreneurs.
[02:38] We get to see the long term vision for Dare Dream Dance.
[03:38] Cicely shares with us some things she has had to overcome being a studio owner and how she learnt form that.
[04:55] The Dare Dream Dance crew tell us how they have been impacting the city of Atlanta asides from their dance school.
[08:00] The crew show us what we can to help ensure that Dare Dream Dance is a success.