Last September, I wanted to learn to code and help the Northeastern University Entrepreneurs Club. So, I built the initial prototype for Sign In App, a software application that easily tracked attendance at club meetings. Now 9 months later, that prototype became my next company, Attendware, and I’m thrilled to announce that we just closed Series A funding of $1M from .406 Ventures.
Together with Drew D’Agostino and soon to be many others, we are building the future of event and member data technology. Attendware is the fastest growing event check in and auto name tag printing software, creating a superior guest experience and saving hours of preparation time for event organizers within higher education, non-profits and trade organizations. We’re proud to be based in Boston and count many local organizations and schools among our first customers.
In the short few months that I’ve been a part of Attendware, there’s already been a tremendous amount of learning. Some of the key lessons so far:
1. Great things can happen by accident
Attendware started as a simple side project for the purpose of learning and having something fun to build. It wasn’t until Cory Bolotsky proposed using Attendware for MassChallenge that it became apparent that the product solves problems for many people, not just the Entrepreneurs Club. It was his encouragement and ideas that helped take Attendware to where it is today.
2. Great things can happen at home
Northeastern University was a perfect launching pad for Attendware. We’ve received outstanding support and mentorship from senior leaders at the university and have leveraged Northeastern to test new ideas and quickly iterate on the product. It was Jack Moynihan and Jack McCorkle in Northeastern’s Alumni Relations office that became our first paying enterprise customer.
3. Great things can happen when you have strong relationships
I’ve gotten to know the partners at .406 Ventures as mentors since sophomore year of college. Over the past several years, I’ve developed a strong relationship with them, and that relationship contributes to their belief in our success and their excitement in investing in first-time funded entrepreneurs.
4. Great things can happen when you’re surrounded by world-class people
Drew D’Agostino and I go back a while… from collaborating at the Entrepreneurs Club to living together for 2 years during college. We compliment each other in technical and business abilities, and have way too much fun working together. I’ve also quickly realized how important one’s real friends, like Matt Bilotti, are when going through the challenge of launching a company and raising money. Additionally, many of our customers and advisors, like Leila Eid and Mike Perry, have become strong supporters and friends.
5. Great things can happen when you take risks
When Jack first asked us for a contract and price to use Attendware at Northeastern, we were pretty scared (especially because we didn’t have a contract nor did we have any clue how to make one). Taking Attendware from project to business has been a stressful and thrilling journey so far, and we’re still at the ground floor. When Drew and I debated on whether to move forward with selling to Northeastern, we said, “Amazing things will only happen if we take risks and try this. All of the successful entrepreneurs didn’t get that way by taking the easy road.” So far, it has proven to be a good choice.
6. Great things can happen when you persist
Everything about launching Attendware has been far more challenging than I imagined it would be. I remember nearly 1.5 years ago the pressure of getting a big enough room for the Entrepreneurs Club’s 150 weekly attendees. Now the pressure is on to close real enterprise sales, manage $1M of investor money and build a high growth technology company. Our relentless persistence in solving problems and iterating have been key to push through.
Being the CEO of a venture backed company is a new and exciting chapter. I’m grateful to everyone that has helped along the way and am so excited for what I’m going to learn from close mentors like Maria Cirino. Here we go…