How Twitter Got an App Store: The Oneforty Story (Part 2)
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spent most of her time in San Francisco. This was extremely hard, spending blocks of time away from her children (ages 2 and 4). Still, Fitton felt she had no choice. “It was like this had to exist,” she says. And, frankly, she wasn’t making progress with Boston investors. Fitton can reel off a who’s who of Boston investors and technorati she had connections with. “It wasn’t like I didn’t know anyone,” she says. “It was just still hard to get the Boston angels to wrap their minds about what we were doing.”
The oneforty founder was going to the Bay Area anyway to attend O’Reilly Media’s Social Web Foo Camp and speak on a Society for New Communications Research panel. So she saw the opportunity to leverage her planned trip there by meeting with Bay Area angels.
It couldn’t have worked out better. Fitton had met social tech guru Charlene Li at the Defrag social media conference the previous November. Just before Fitton arrived in San Francisco, Li tweeted her the name of one angel she should look up: Côme Laguë, co-founder of Bay Area venture fund Nueva Ventures. Li didn’t mention anything special about Laguë, but a few days before the meeting, Fitton learned he was Li’s husband.
Laguë would become oneforty’s first high-profile investor. But before he committed, he told Fitton that if she was going to run the business out of Boston, she needed a good angel on the ground there to support her. He introduced her to Laura Rippy, the former Handango CEO. “It was kind of like, ‘If you can get her on board, then you can get me on board,’” is how Fitton sums things up.
Around the middle of May, Rippy committed. “She’s an angel, she’s an advisor.” She even does “roll up your sleeves day-to-day work,” Fitton says. Laguë invested virtually simultaneously, and that was a real turning point, she says. “Once Côme came in and started calling his friends in, we closed very quickly.” That was her first close, of $250,000, on June 10. She had intended to raise only $140,000—seeing the 140K as a fitting number for oneforty. But she was vastly oversubscribed. And she isn’t saying how much the final close last week brought in.
The App Store Goes Live
In the middle of all this, Fitton became part of the first Boston class of TechStars, the incubator camp founded in Boulder. The three-month-long program provides $6,000 per team member for up to three people. “We barely made it in because they don’t like solopreneurs,” and they don’t like non-technical founders, Fitton says. “I was still a PowerPoint and one person when that money came in.” The small cash infusion helped her make ends meet before her first angel money closed.
Fitton flew to Boston for the camp’s opening week. But she spent half her TechStars time in San Francisco, meeting with the mentors the incubator provided over Skype. “Sadly, it meant … Next Page »
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