PostEgram’s Facebook-By-Mail Service Bridges Generation Gap
(Page 2 of 2)
military service, who “have very limited time and access to Facebook.” PostEgram recently entered into a partnership with the Michigan Army National Guard which, Davids says, gives Guardsmen access to a wider circle of family and friends than they can reach during their brief phone calls home.
But the PostEgram idea didn’t come easily. It was the product of a “disciplined dreaming” exercise at Bizdom U that required Davids and her classmates to “look at inflection points” in the market (Davids’ choice: social networking), identify target markets (seniors), and then brainstorm 100 business ideas around the intersection of the two. “PostEgram was something like idea number 70,” says Davids.
Davids credits Bizdom U, which she attended in the fall and winter of 2009, with PostEgram’s rapid evolution from an idea scribbled on a whiteboard to a living, breathing business. There she met co-founder Ken Bloink, who helped develop the PostEgram application. She and Bloink pitched the idea to Bizdom U’s funding committee in February of 2010, and by March, the pair had secured $115,000 in Bizdom funding, to be distributed at set progress milestones. Davids estimates that PostEgram has used $70,000 of that sum so far, and she believes that PostEgram won’t need to tap into additional Bizdom U funding for at least another six months.
Bizdom U currently retains 67 percent of the equity in PostEgram. If PostEgram is able to pay back that initial investment, with interest, and Bizdom U’s share of the startup will flip to 33 percent and the repayment will be spun into future Bizdom U startups. Davids appreciates the karmic elegance of this arrangement: “If my business is successful, someone else will be able to start theirs.” Bizdom U also continues to provide support and advice to keep PostEgram and the other businesses it funds on track toward their goals. “You are never not in the Bizdom program,” says Davids. “I’m forever grateful: If I were doing this on my own it would be a thousand times harder.”
The Bizdom U funding comes with another stipulation: Startups must agree to set up shop in Detroit, and stay there. In May, PostEgram moved into TechTown, the ten-year-old Detroit business incubator, where Davids and Bloink joined a community of entrepreneurs who share ideas at regular networking events. “In suburban Detroit, you wouldn’t know who your neighbors are,” says Davids, but at Techtown, “We’re all connected. We all need each other.”
“Working in the city has been amazing. I drive past Berry Gordy’s mansion, Henry Ford’s mansion—they all used to live within walking distance” of TechTown’s New Center home, says Davids. Her message to other Michigan entrepreneurs is simple: “There are so many really talented people out of work,” and there is no shortage of mentors. “The time to start a business has never been better.”
Trending on Xconomy
By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.