Help Around Town
Class: 2014 Winter Accelerator
HelpAroundTown promotes flexible jobs, small businesses and local non-profits by connecting neighbors in an online community marketplace. Our community-based, user-centered website enables people, businesses and non-profits to find help, offer help and promote local events, offerings, specials and fundraisers within a mile (or more) of their location. HelpAroundTown started in Lexington, MA and has grown by word of mouth to registered users in 80 MA towns and 10% of Lexington households. More than 1,000 flexible local jobs have been posted on HelpAroundTown. Our mission is to energize local economies and generate entry-level jobs for youth and flexible jobs for adults who need an income, but can’t commit to a 40 hour week. We do so by promoting local jobs, small and micro businesses, non-profits, and people with partial availability - and connect them in their community.
Yesterday, Barrie Atkin led a great session on Asking for Money.
She adressed some of the key things holding me back and I am eternally grateful for the new level of comfort she has helped me reach. David also pitched in gems of insight as an angel investor.
He will not invest in Sandbox companies (for obvious reasons).
- there are investors out there LOOKING for places to invest their money
- they know they are "gambling". They know the risks and are willing and able to take them.
- as an entrepreneur, you're not taking $ from people who need it. The questions is not "what if they lose their money?" The question is: "Is your entrepreneurial venture any riskier than another e.g consumer internet play? Is it a better opportunity?" etc. Compare your risky investment to another risky investment.
- share how you manage the risks and issues. Take your investors along with you for the ride. They know it's bumpy, but want to be there for the Ups (mostly) and downs (inevitably): that's the thrill.
- Communicate. You won't bug them when you do (per David). Engage many times before the ask. Need to get to know each other personally. No substitute for establishing mutual trust. That is still how it works. (Good).
- There are local angels who invest personally, outside of angel groups & outside of AngelList. (see above re. trust).
It's been such a great beginning to the program! Totally fired up by great talks with really stimulating mentors and group discussions that push me to confront the difficult question of narrowing, prioritizing and targeting our user base. I feel like I have already covered so much ground in barely 2 weeks. 12 weeks of conversations like this would be fabulous!