Turning women’s closets into “cash cows,” was DiNunzio’s goal for Tradesy from the start, but launching the site and managing it post-launch hasn’t been all unicorns and photo shoots.
DiNunzio applied to Launchpad LA as a successful entrepreneur: actively running the profitable wedding resale site Recycled Bride. But running a successful company, even in the same market, didn’t make her a shoo-in. She wanted the $50K Launchpad would invest in if she got into the startup program. “I thought I needed exactly $50k to build Tradesy,” says DiNuzio.
She pitched Sam Teller, one of Launchpad’s managing directors “I told him all about how I had grown Recycled Bride to profitability with no funding, all via organic and viral acquisition,” recalls DiNunzio. “After the meeting,” DiNunzio says, “I felt pretty sure that I wouldn’t get in because I was a team of one, and Launchpad generally requires that you have a technical co-founder.”
“I had a strong feeling that I just had to get in,” says DiNunzio: she couldn’t face another “no.”
“I stayed up all night and built a short deck called “No Technical Co-Founder? No Problem!” Her deck explained how she was using an outsourced development firm and why it was actually an advantage up to that point—financially and technically. She also wrote an email that assured Teller that hiring a CTO would be one as soon as she got into Launchpad. She sent it to him at 5 a.m. “I guess that did the trick, because they took me!” says DiNunzio of her last-ditch effort to counter any reasons Teller could give for turning her down. “It was the best move I could have made for the company.”
“Launchpad took me from being a founder to being a CEO,” says DiNunzio. “Launchpad,” she says, “taught me to get out from behind my computer. Now I spend 95% of my time building relationships. I rarely even touch my computer until the evening.” It wasn’t easy for her to turn over Recycled Bride’s operations; she trusted her mentors at Launchpad and spent January through May of 2012 under its tutelage.
Instead of spending her time in the weeds, tweaking ad copy or evaluating pixels, Launchpad helped DiNunzio build a team she could trust during the hectic months ahead. “I learned to see the startup like a bus,” says DiNunzio, “and it was my job to keep the gas tank full of fuel and the bus full of smart people.” DiNunzio, like most founders, needed to focus on the big picture: generate funding and connect with smart people who support her vision.
- Launchpad LA doubles down on accelerator, now offering companies $100k (pandodaily.com)
- 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Bootstrap Without A Second Job (under30ceo.com)
- The Fastest Way Ever to Sell Your Clothes? (foxbusiness.com)
- Rockstart Accelerator Announces First Year Results (prweb.com)