Onevest Success Story: Recycled Guitars Shakes Up Industry

A Bohemian is a person, musician, or artist who lives by his or her own rules and believes in love, freedom, and truth.”
 

When you pair up an oil can with guitar strings, only good things can happen.  Just ask Adam Lee, co-founder of Bohemian Guitars.  The South African native along with his brother Shaun, launched Bohemian Guitars on Kickstarter in June of 2013.  Feeling the need to change up the musical instrument scene while also making an environmental impact, the brothers are definitely disrupting the industry with Bohemian Guitars.  Knowing they wanted to get to the next level, they chose Onevest to help them get there.

Bohemian Guitars offers a unique experience by providing a customized, great sounding, best of all, affordable guitar.  Inspired by the innovativeness of the local musicians in South Africa, Bohemian Guitars are constructed using old oil cans and recyclable materials.   Not settling for just offering guitars, they have expanded their product line to include custom guitar straps, carry bags, and cases.  This type of forward thinking has led to major partnerships including clothing store Urban Outfitters, the SXSW festival, and musicians Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin and Luther Dickson from the Black Crowes both have their own Bohemian Guitar.

They leveraged the Onevest platform to help raise a $600,000 Seed round, which closed in February of this year.  Adam sat down with us recently and gave us his personal insight and takeaways as a founder to his experience with Onevest and raising money in general.

 Adam Lee

Adam Lee

 Shaun Lee

Shaun Lee

Investors do not think about your business they way you do.  Every investor is different so do a little extra homework on them.  Also, just because someone has experience investing, does not mean they have experience investing in startups, so be prepared to explain  the terms of your deal.

Be patient because rounding up investments does not happen overnight.  The process of finding investors is not fast.  Using a platform like Onevest can help get you get in front of a large investor community.

Time management is extremely critical.  Raising money is a “full time” job so you need to be prepared. There is always work to do.  

Understand your business completely, especially the money component.  This is very important to investors.  Knowing the product is not enough.  

 

The future looks bright for the guys at Bohemian Guitars. They want to  keep the promises they made to themselves which include growing as a business and adapting to the times.  With the key partnerships they’ve built and guitars flying out the door, they are in great shape.  

You can follow Bohemian Guitars on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Co-Founders of CloserIQ Match Up to Help Startups Find Sales Talent

The job market for startups is viciously competitive, and early-stage companies are doing everything they can to recruit (and retain) top talent. Ping-pong tables, mandatory vacation, beer on tap and other perks have been on the rise to help compensate for the lack of funds available to match potential salaries from giant tech companies. Most startup founders and hiring directors would agree that the company mission and culture are the two biggest driving factors that recruit talented employees, more so than yoga classes or catered lunch. There are so many great companies pursuing a valuable mission, yet the job market is so massive that many companies struggle finding the ideal combination of talent and fit. Several startups have focused on addressing this problem, and NYC-based CloserIQ is one of them. We asked Jordan to talk about his experience in building his team.

Jordan Wan, Co-founder and CEO, spoke to several potential candidates on CoFoundersLab before meeting Dan Zhou, Co-founder and CTO. Jordan explained that “the profiles made it easy to find the person I was looking for.” After matching up, Jordan and Dan agreed to focus in on the hiring dilemma faced by startups, with a unique emphasis on sales jobs (because no matter how great your product is, you need people to sell it). Here is Jordan’s pitch for CloserIQ:

CloserIQ is a recruiting platform for startups to meet sales talent. We provide informative candidate profiles with audio introductions and previous sales experience to help startups skip bad phone screens.
 Jordan Wan, Co-founder and CEO

Jordan Wan, Co-founder and CEO

 Dan Zhou, Co-founder and CTO

Dan Zhou, Co-founder and CTO

Since their official launch in April of 2014, Jordan and Dan have led the CloserIQ team (now at 6 people) in gaining traction from some big clients including Justworks, Trello and Trustpilot. Even more impressive, Jordan reported that Oscar Insurance “made 17 sales hires in 3 months on CloserIQ leveraging a combination of intuitive software and attentive service.” They have also been creating original content about sales jobs on their blog.

We asked Jordan for his advice on finding a co-founder, and he emphasized the importance of patience and alignment of mission and passion:

"Take your time when looking for a co-founder. Get to know one another's core values and strengths & weaknesses. Let the relationship develop organically and see if you can share a common mission and passion for building a company together. When you realize that the other person is just as committed as you are to the idea and business, have an open discussion about the type of company and various scenarios together."

You can follow CloserIQ’s progress by visiting their site here, or following them on Facebook and Twitter.


Securities offered through WealthForge, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC Onevest Corporation ("Onevest") is not a registered broker-dealer and does not give investment advice with respect to any securities. All the startup offerings listed are offered by the applicable Issuer. Onevest has not taken any steps to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the offerings that are listed. Onevest takes no part in the negotiation of the transaction and no securities are executed through Onevest's platform. Onevest receives no compensation in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

Testimonials may not be representative of the experience of all clients. Testimonials are not a guarantee of future performance or success.

Hyperlinks to sites outside of our domain do not constitute an approval or endorsement of content on the visited site.

Co-Founders of Pomello Practice What They Preach in Building Their Team

No platform in the world, including CoFoundersLab, offers a perfect solution to building a company; we only try to make it easier. Serious effort is still required to ensure you have the right team, strategy, and vision. For two co-founders of YCombinator-backed Pomello, that meant using CoFoundersLab to not only find a potential technical co-founder, but also rigorously test their fit as a team. It is no coincidence that their company focuses on helping companies hire based on cultural fit.

We got to speak with Catherine Spence and Xian Ke, two of the three co-founders, about how they matched up to execute on Pomello’s mission.

  Oliver Staehelin,   Catherine Spence   and Xian Ke, co-founders of Pomello

Oliver Staehelin, Catherine Spence and Xian Ke, co-founders of Pomello

How did you find your co-founders through CoFoundersLab?

Catherine: Oliver and I had been looking for a technical co-founder for a long time. We had been reaching out to people through our networks, and finding other folks through various meet-up events. We are, as you can imagine, pretty picky about fit, and we really wanted to find someone who felt passionately about the problem we are working on. We had almost given up on finding someone, when I got a note from Xian on CoFoundersLab. I was immediately interested in meeting her, because it was clear she had read up on what we were working on and was interested in the idea. I also noticed that she had been slowly working her way from very large corporations to start-ups over the course the past few years, so I felt like she was more ready to join a scrappy, lean (very limited funding), founding team. As for fit, with a co-founder there really is no way to 'interview' someone in the traditional sense. So we decided to ask her to work with us a couple days a week. This gives everyone a chance to see how the team dynamics develop. I look for someone that wants to get stuff done, cares about her/his work, and who can laugh in tough situations. Xian has all of these qualities, so after a month or so I knew we should make her an offer to come on full-time.

Xian: I was browsing on CoFoundersLab for projects that could be interesting and could make a positive impact on the world. It helped that Catherine and Oliver are fun, honest, and thoughtful people who can get stuff done. Ultimately, I wanted to see what would happen if we worked together, and didn’t want to regret passing on the opportunity.


What is Pomello?

Pomello helps companies hire employees based on culture fit. This online service is based on 30 years of research. It quantifies company culture and uses data to help teams hire more successful people. Employees matched for culture perform better, are more engaged in their work, and quit less often.

Why

Companies admired for their culture like Google know that evaluating potential new hires needs to include a rigorous assessment of fit. But Google found out a long time ago that evaluating fit is difficult, and people don’t often get it right. In fact, even at Google it was a “random mess” according to Laszlo Bock, head of People Ops [1]. Not surprisingly, an entire field of science is dedicated to studying person-organization fit. Fit has a profound impact on job satisfaction, engagement, performance, and turnover. Pomello is based on more than 30 years of careful study. It enables companies of any size to access the best research in organizational behavior.

 A demo of the Pomello landing page displaying candidates' suitability compared to your company's culture. 

A demo of the Pomello landing page displaying candidates' suitability compared to your company's culture. 

Insights

People often confuse culture with perks like free lunches and ping pong tables in the office. Unlike perks, which come and go with market swings, a strong culture will make your people more productive even when you are facing challenges.

Many managers assume that their employees are more motivated by pay than purpose, when in fact the opposite is true. Values and culture are what give employees a sense of purpose, will drive productivity whether you are able to offer employees a rich paycheck or not.

Who is it for

Any company or team that is hiring. Pomello is particularly well-suited for companies that have customer-facing employees (e.g. sales teams, retail associates, etc.). Pomello saves companies money, especially when performance is highly variable and turnover is a significant cost.

Any advice for founders on CoFoundersLab about finding the right cofounder?

Catherine: Being without a co-founder is better than having the wrong co-founder, so taking your time is important. Once you've established mutual interest you have to try working on something together. Pay attention to how you disagree with someone, is it functional or dysfunctional? Functional disagreement means you are able to act in spite of disagreement, and you trust and respect your co-founder even if you are vehemently disagreeing.

Xian: Go with what you’re interested in spending time on. Life is uncertain, so don’t expect 100% clarity. Be grateful to encounter first-world problems!

 

You can follow Pomello’s progress by visiting their web site here, checking out their recent coverage on TechCrunch, or following them on Facebook or Twitter.


Securities offered through WealthForge, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC Onevest Corporation ("Onevest") is not a registered broker-dealer and does not give investment advice with respect to any securities. All the startup offerings listed are offered by the applicable Issuer. Onevest has not taken any steps to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the offerings that are listed. Onevest takes no part in the negotiation of the transaction and no securities are executed through Onevest's platform. Onevest receives no compensation in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

Hyperlinks to sites outside of our domain do not constitute an approval or endorsement of content on the visited site

CoFoundersLab Helps Content BLVD Find the Ever-Elusive Tech Co-Founder

Content BLVD arose out of the realization that the public has grown more and more annoyed by irrelevant, intrusive advertising. As far back as 2010, co-founders Daniel Ripoll (CEO) and Mike Sobol (CMO) noticed the rise of ad-skipping services at the same time that ad click-through rates were declining. They watched revenue flow from traditional advertisers to content marketing. The market needed a better way for brands to reach consumers who wanted to hear their messages.

Since April 2012, Content BLVD has booked over $450,000 in revenue and signed more than 100 clients for its original content marketing services. Customers range from mom-and-pop shops to nonprofits and global enterprises, such as the Breast Cancer Society and Home Depot. Content BLVD connects businesses with publishers and media partners who can boost their SEO metrics, drive referral traffic, and expand brand reach across various channels.

Its biggest challenge was taking advantage of all the technological changes that are disrupting the $62 billion Web marketing industry. After Content BLVD graduated from the Boomtown Accelerator program in Boulder, Colorado this June, flush with advice from 100 mentors and additional funding, it turned its full attention on its Web infrastructure. Dan and Mike created a profile on CoFoundersLab in search of a technology guru with startup experience.

 Dan Ripoll, CEO and Co-Founder

Dan Ripoll, CEO and Co-Founder

 Mike Sobol, CMO and Co-Founder

Mike Sobol, CMO and Co-Founder

 George McKenzie, Co-Founder and CTO

George McKenzie, Co-Founder and CTO

Enter George McKenzie. With over a decade of startup experience, McKenzie has earned a reputation in fields like process methodology, quality, and automation. He founded YesDocs and shepherded the development of the engineering department at Volusion.com. With McKenzie on board as CTO of the six member management team, the last piece of Content BLVD’s creative business model fell into place.

The search for a technical co-founder can be one of, if not the most difficult step in building your core team. Gaining access to the 40,000+ member network of CoFoundersLab helped Content BLVD solve this problem, and we want to help solve it for entrepreneurs everywhere. Our team-building platform, now combined with our equity crowdfunding platform, is giving entrepreneurs the chance to take the first series of critical steps in launching a successful company.

 

You can follow Content BLVD by visiting their website here or following them on Facebook or Twitter.

Content BLVD is working to do away with interruptive advertising in favor of brand integration. By matching businesses with bloggers, Youtubers, television producers and more on an open platform, brands gain easier access to the content that their customers are already enjoying.


Securities offered through WealthForge, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC Onevest Corporation ("Onevest") is not a registered broker-dealer and does not give investment advice with respect to any securities. All the startup offerings listed are offered by the applicable Issuer. Onevest has not taken any steps to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the offerings that are listed. Onevest takes no part in the negotiation of the transaction and no securities are executed through Onevest's platform. Onevest receives no compensation in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

Testimonials may not be representative of the experience of all clients. Testimonials are not a guarantee of future performance or success.

Two Moms Recruit Advisers on CoFoundersLab to Help Activity Rocket Take Off

Finding camps and classes for children is a painful process that all too many parents have experienced. Both sides are lacking the time and resources needed to make it a smooth process. Parents have trouble finding exactly what they are looking for, which may only come after an exhaustive online search. Camp/activity providers lack the digital marketing tools to reach those parents. Lisa Friedlander encountered this problem while searching for activities for her then three-year-old. Her friend, Ilene Miller, had recently made travel plans using one of the many straightforward travel sites. The two linked up, and Activity Rocket was created as an OpenTable-type model to make booking a camp/class for children as simple as making a restaurant reservation.

 Lisa Friedlander (CEO) and Ilene Miller (COO), co-founders of Activity Rocket. 

Lisa Friedlander (CEO) and Ilene Miller (COO), co-founders of Activity Rocket. 

Lisa and Ilene launched Activity Rocket in October 2011 in Bethesda, MD, but they lacked necessary aspects in starting a business. They needed technology experts to advise them on developing the platform. After attending a CoFoundersLab Matchup event, the pair created a profile, and after hearing about the benefits of a PRO membership, upgraded to PRO members. That upgrade, as well as their diligent responsiveness, led to connections with several people interested in helping Activity Rocket grow. The team has since worked with THREE individuals who have served as technology advisers with, according to Lisa, the potential of becoming part of the management team. CoFoundersLab helped Activity Rocket find the tech talent they so desperately needed, and now they are truly taking off. Lisa explained:

CoFoundersLab allowed us to work with fantastic people at really no cost to our company, and these individuals have truly made a substantial impact on our business.

Activity Rocket has over 600 businesses listed on their site, and have had over 150,000 unique visitors. They are currently a finalist in the Startup Maryland Pitch Across Maryland Bus Tour, competing for a chance to pitch at the InvestMaryland Challenge and win $100,000. Watch the video and “like” it to vote for them!

Follow Activity Rocket by visiting their website here, or following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Activity Rocket is helping parents search for activity providers for kids ages 0-18 in the DC metro area, by type of activity, day, location, and price. Compare and select the best activity for your child, instantly share your choices with friends, and pay for your classes all in one-stop! Happy Kids = Happy Parents!

Big-Check Crowdfunding Campaign Propels Züm XR Forward

Based in Denver, Colorado, Züm XR (www.zumxr.com) has developed a patented, time-release delivery system for food and beverages. This system safely releases natural and healthy ingredients like Vitamin C, electrolytes, and green tea caffeine over several hours. Their first product is a widely successful beverage line that supplies sustained energy without the crash or jitters associated with typical caffeinated drinks. These drinks became the 2nd best selling energy drink at Whole Foods Market-Rocky Mountain after only four months. Robert Nichel, the founder of Züm XR and a seasoned biochemist, was inspired to create this innovative system after realizing the shortcomings of caffeine and electrolytes absorption during his frequent long bike rides in the Colorado mountains.

Robert and the founding team began aggressively pursuing investors and angel groups after recognizing the needs to raise funds. Taken aback by the drawn-out process involved with angel groups, Züm XR turned to crowdfunding. Within 90 days, they closed a $1.5 million round in funding, which will go towards third-party testing and validation to substantiate their impressive label claims of nutrient absorption by up to 60%. This testing will provide scientific support for the brand, bolstering the credibility and ultimate success of the company.

Successfully raising $1.5 million is not the only notable achievement of this disruptive company; they also debunked the myth that crowdfunding consists of exclusively small contributions from a large pool of people.  Züm XR managed to raise their funding from a short list of investors with an average investment/check size of $100,000. Their aggressive outreach was fortified by their traction and revenue in over 120 stores and substantial press coverage from sites like The Motley Fool and The Examiner.

The team at Züm XR really enjoyed our hands-on approach and active marketing efforts here at Onevest. Here is what Nichel had to say about his experience on Onevest:

Onevest played a vital role in helping Züm XR reach our funding target. Their platform provided all the tools and support necessary for us to connect with accredited investors throughout the U.S. Onevest has a great team, an easy to use platform, and quickly generates exposure to a vast amount of active investors that can expedite the funding process for small businesses.

Moreover, Robert also noted that he liked how Onevest saved him valuable time, energy, and money traditionally associated with fundraising. Züm XR immediately began drawing interest from investors after launching their campaign on Onevest, allowing them to raise money quickly, ultimately providing more time and opportunity to grow their business.

We look forward to continuing to follow Robert and his team’s progress at Züm XR, and of course to enjoying their awesome beverages!

You can follow Züm XR on their website here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.