New York City
Tech, Community, Networking
Preparing to raise a pre-seed round
Irene began her career as a developer at Goldman Sachs, eventually ending up in oil trading. After nearly a decade on Wall Street, she was eager to do more for her community and the world at large and founded Monarq, an incubator for women in technology. Nolan is an experienced software engineer who started his own technology consulting company and went on to work for Fitbit prior to its acquisition. Irene and Nolan connected through their shared interest in technology and their desire to build a company that could really make a meaningful impact.
Through Monarq, Irene discovered the incredible difficulties of forming real connections in the startup world, particularly for women. This wasn’t just the case for small incubators; it was an issue for larger communities as well. Initially, Irene and Nolan played around with the idea of building match algorithms. They saw an opportunity to fill a critical gap, realizing that there were plenty of tools out there for communication and collaboration, but nothing that really focused specifically on forming connections. They wanted to create a tool that would make community building easy, inclusive, and user-friendly; thus Warmintro was born.
At first, Irene and Nolan hired an attorney to help them incorporate their company. Despite only needing standard incorporation documents, they spent a lot of money just to find out that the information they were being given wasn’t even correct; they were missing critical components from their documents as basic as vesting terms. With time wasting and feeling very little peace of mind, Irene and Nolan needed to escape their incorporation nightmare. Irene was familiar with Gust and its reputation through her own startup connections and Nolan had come upon the company through his extensive research on startup services. Together they came to the conclusion that Gust Launch stood out as the best solution available for early stage founders like themselves. Irene and Nolan were particularly drawn to Launch’s notion of a founder community, which resonated with their own mission for Warmintro. As soon as they joined Launch, they felt almost instant relief after months and months of frustration.
After incorporating quickly and easily on Gust Launch, Irene and Nolan felt their peace of mind restored. They didn’t have to worry about whether their documents had the right terms or information; they knew they could trust in what Gust Launch was providing them. They also didn’t have to waste time digging around for support content, such as FAQs, or constantly googling startup-related questions; all the resources they needed were right there for them to access, including other founders they could learn from and share knowledge with. Even better, they loved how the in-platform document completion reminders helped keep them consistently on track. With the amount of time they saved on paperwork, information-finding, and operational tasks, they were able to hone in on product development and get Warmintro to a place where there was too much demand for the product and not enough people on their team to support production; a good problem for a startup to have and one they were able to solve by hiring their first consultant using the Gust Launch contractor agreement.
With over 10 communities now on Warmintro and product growth happening rapidly, Irene and Nolan are at the point where they need to start fundraising. Fortunately, they feel confident that Gust Launch has effectively prepared their startup for investment. Their plan is to utilize the Gust Launch SAFE or Convertible Note to raise their first pre-seed round, which will help them bring on additional team resources and expand their product into more and more communities. They will continue to use Launch post-fundraising to manage and create documents, including an option plan once they are ready to hire. For Irene and Nolan, Gust Launch makes sense for any pre-seed founder: it’s well-done, simple to use, and at a price point that is actually tenable.
Irene and Nolan eventually began forming a closer connection with the Gust Launch team. Together they discovered that there was a great deal of synergy between Warmintro and Gust Launch. An opportunity was quickly identified for Gust to integrate Warmintro as the new platform for the Launch Founder Community, as the current platform could no longer effectively support all of the expanding community’s needs. Not only were Irene and Nolan able to use Launch to grow their startup, Gust was also able to use Warmintro to improve the Launch experience by providing a more user-friendly forum for Launch founders to connect with each other; a true full-circle startup story! It was particularly exciting to Irene and Nolan to be able to utilize their own product and see it firsthand in the context of a community.