Meet 5 early stage Charlotte startups with actual traction

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It’s often difficult to separate fluffy Charlotte startups from high-velocity Charlotte startups. Here’s a quick list of five Charlotte startups that have real traction.


uBack | Founded in 2015

Concept: “uBack has created a mobile, data-driven platform that connects companies, nonprofits and individual donors into a single, social community to make giving back easier.”

Founders:

  • Melissa Bodford (Co-Founder & Chairwoman) previously a management consultant at Accenture and IBM.
  • Kaitlin Reimann (Co-Founder) previously a human capital manager at Accenture.

Funding: $2 million Series A. Closed in 2016 and led by Atlanta Seed Company.

Traction:

  • 250,000+ nonprofits listed on the uBack platform.
  • 75 corporate users engaged across uBack full suite of products.

Team size & growth plans: 12 full-time employees spread across our offices in Charlotte, Atlanta and Chicago. Looking to hire 3-5 team members in the next 12 months, focusing on technology, sales and marketing.

How Charlotte can support: “Charlotte has a growing startup community, and there is a strong desire to support those companies and keep them in the Queen City. One way to do that is for Charlotte’s more established businesses to accept our startups as viable options for business partners, vendors, etc. In our conversations with others in the startup community, we, as entrepreneurs, all seem to be experiencing a similar problem: The city’s well-known corporate entities are happy to take our meetings, but reluctant to give startups their business. We understand the aversion to risk, but Charlotte’s startups need business opportunities to thrive. As a business community, we need to come together, lift each other up, and figure out a way for us all to be successful.”

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Kaitlin Reimann (left) and Melissa Bodford (right)


2ULaundry | Founded in 2015

Concept: “2ULaundry is a tech-enabled laundry and dry cleaning delivery service focused on the perfect customer experience.”

Founders:

  • Alex Smereczniak (Co-Founder/CEO) – previously a financial consultant at Ernst & Young
  • Dan D’Aquisto (Co-Founder/CMO) – previously at a tech startup in Minneapolis

Funding: Undisclosed round led by Full Tilt Capital (Raleigh VC firm) and completed by a few other angel investors from Charlotte, New York City, and Denver.

Traction: 

  • Users/Customers: 2,300+ users
  • Operating in 80+ Charlotte apartment communities as a resident amenity
  • Currently raising second round of funding
  • Next funding will focus on 1-3 new markets and a few key hires (VP of Ops + VP of Marketing)

Team size & growth plans: 21 total employees with plans to hire 10-20 employees over the next 12 months.

Fun fact: 98% of 2ULaundry’s customers have their own washer & dryer but they choose the service for convenience and time savings.

How Charlotte can support: “Funding, introductions to apartment communities or businesses that need our services, and to keep accumulating dirty clothes!”

2-u-laundry-charlotte-startup


The Waggle Company | Founded in 2016

Concept: “Ditch the dog guilt with The Waggle Company, an on-demand dog walking service bringing peace of mind to every pet owner. With GPS tracking and pet photos after every visit, The Waggle Company provides clients with an unparalleled level of convenience, accountability, and trust.”

Founders:

Funding: Self-funded and are in the early stages of fundraising.

Traction: 500+ clients

Team size & growth plans: 18 part-time employees and looking to make 20+ hires over the next 12 months. Currently seeking to hire a full-time Operations Associate, Developer, and Community Manager. They’re based out of Hygge.

How Charlotte can support: “Get involved in helping us build a community for Charlotte’s pet owners! We’re always looking to meet and get to know Charlotte influencers, and we love building local partnerships and connecting with like-minded people and services. The Waggle Company is also a member of the Queen City Paw Tribe, a coalition of four, female-led, pet care businesses that provide dog walking, training, grooming, and veterinary resources for Charlotte pet owners.”

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SkillPop | Founded in 2015

Concept: “SkillPop makes in-person learning accessible through community-based pop up classes.”

Founder:

  • Haley Bohon – Previous experience includes Passport and Newell Rubbermaid.

Funding: Self-funded

Traction: 

  • Total classes: 530
  • Total class attendees: 9,500

Fun Fact: Classes range from Artisan Breadmaking to Tapestry Weaving for Beginners to Adobe Illustrator Basics

Team size & growth plans: 8 employees with plans to hire 4-6 more within the next 6 months. Team includes: MaryPat Lechich (Charlotte community manager), Hannah Maschoff (marketing manager), Audrey Henderson (Raleigh community manager) and 5 part-time class managers: Bree McMahon, Sean Hornyak, Lauren Au, Brittany Reed and Kellay Chapman.

How Charlotte can support: “Take a class and tell a friend! Our huge initiative right now is the spring tour – we’ll be leaving on April 24th and holding pop-up classes in Greenville SC, Charleston, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Nashville, Asheville and one additional city through the end of May (I can tell you the last city depending on when the article runs – we’re announcing it next week). We would love help spreading the word! If you have friends in any of these locations, encourage them to check out a class when we come. We’re testing the waters for future expansions and are excited to see what happens!”

[Agenda story: SkillPop is the best early stage startup in Charlotte and angel investors should be drooling over it]

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Haley Bohon, Founder of Skillpop

 


Fit To Rent | Founded in 2015

Concept: “Fit to Rent is a software solution that connects responsible renters and trustworthy landlords, creating confidence and security for both living and investing.”

Founders:

  • Sean Healy (CEO) previously a Managing Director at Currahee Capital Private Equity
  • Jordan Garrett (COO) previously a Manager at KPMG
  • Lee Wouters (CTO) previously a Software Engineering Director at Premier

Funding: $500,000 raised from various angel investors.

Traction: 341 total users (mix of both tenants and landlords).

Team size & growth plans: 6 employees and looking to make 3+ hires over the next 12 months. Team includes: Erica Madden(CMO), Sunny Singh (web programmer) and Trevor Byrd (data science advisor). 

Fun fact: All founders are veterans.

How Charlotte can support: “Spreading the word about Fit to Rent! We find that folks who manage their own rentals and folks who are having a hard time selling their home and need to consider renting comprise our sweet spot. We give them all the tools they need to rent with confidence.”

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).