The BizSpark startup of the day is EquityNet, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Judd Hollas, President and CEO of EquityNet. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am co-founder and serve as President and CEO of EquityNet. I am also the chief architect of EquityNet and continue to lead the Company’s efforts to create and introduce innovative new software solutions.
What did you do before creating your company?
Prior to founding EquityNet in 2005, I was a Division Manager for Beta-Rubicon, Inc., a firm specializing in technology assessment and business due diligence services. I have also served as an independent technology analyst and investment manager for over 15 years and have invested in around 30 emerging technology companies. I previously worked on process modeling and supply chain automation as a process chemical engineer for Phillips Petroleum and earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It is an honor and a privilege to be featured as the “Startup of the Day.” We have built our technology on the .NET platform and are grateful for the suite of software and support provided by Microsoft BizSpark.
What is your company’s mission?
We have developed a revolutionary online capital marketplace that solves the funding challenge faced by startups and young companies. By bringing together large populations of entrepreneurs, investors, and business supporters, and by integrating patented business planning and analysis software systems, EquityNet has created a single destination for entrepreneurs to plan a business, analyze and produce a winning business plan, and to successfully obtain funding and support.
In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:
EquityNet offers patented business planning and analysis software and a funding and support network for entrepreneurs, investors, and others.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I observed that only 3% of the $2 trillion in private equity capital was being invested each year in young companies and that this essential capital market could be dramatically improved by developing an online marketplace platform with sophisticated tools to make the entire process more efficient for both entrepreneurs and investors.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
EquityNet has raised over $1 million from angel investors and investment groups. We are currently seeking a second funding round of $1 million.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We currently have 6 employees and 2 part-time developers. Along with our CTO, we have 3 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
We are currently seeking to hire a VP of Sales, a Research Analyst, and a Chief Financial Officer. More information on EquityNet’s career opportunities can be found here: www.equitynet.com/careers.aspx.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We have built our web-based software system on the .NET platform. The .NET platform enables faster development, built-in functionality through rich object models, a variety of ways to interface and integrate with the outside world, integration of different languages into one system, easier deployment, scalability, sophisticated development tools, and interfaces well to existing software systems.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
In our particular domain, many innovative companies have emerged to develop and offer entrepreneurs a multitude of web-based solutions ranging from business planning to crowd source funding networks. It truly is an exciting time to see an industry emerge that is dedicated to making life easier for entrepreneurs.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
By providing free suites of leading Microsoft software applications, BizSpark has been a key to EquityNet’s success. For any startup, BizSpark is an essential resource and factor for success.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Understand your market intimately and develop a solution that solves customers’ problem(s). Involve market participants in developing your solution and your go-to-market strategy. Minimize costs until you are profitable and take an incremental development and release strategy if capital for your venture is limited.
Who’s your role model?
Warren Buffett, amongst others. He developed a unique investment and value creation strategy that demands discipline and execution. I am impressed that he has perpetuated this model with such consistency and positive results for many decades.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
I would like readers and particularly entrepreneurs to appreciate the extent of free resources and support available to them through BizSpark and various state and federal programs. Many states offer some type of free startup assistance, grants, and other incentives such as R&D and investment tax credits.