TechStars NYC-alum Moveline Weathers Sandy, Raises $1.5M Along the Way

11/1/12Follow @jpruth

Across the Northeast, people, businesses, and governments continue the long work of recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy—and startups in New York were not spared from disruption.

Moveline, a graduate of the spring TechStars NYC class, was one of them. The startup designs software used to compare prices from moving companies, and help people organize and make decisions for their upcoming moves. But this week, co-founders Kelly Eidson and Frederick Cook were doing some moving of their own.

Eidson says she and Cook evacuated from an apartment in a low-lying area that she assumes is flooded. They relocated to work out of the TechStars NYC offices at Cooper Square in lower Manhattan.

That change of scenery didn’t last long, as the TechStars offices soon lost power under Sandy’s cruel force, prompting another move.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Cook and Eidson had relocated once again, to a co-worker’s uptown residence that had power. The rest of the Moveline team was either in Hoboken, NJ or had gone to Washington, DC for the weekend. Initially unable to reach the rest of its staff, Eidson said the company eventually received updates via GroupMe chats.

“We usually use it to collect bagel orders,” she says. “In this case, it was great the service kept us in contact when other channels failed.” Many landline phones became unusable in the storm’s wake, and even wireless communication became a challenge with cell towers crippled across the region.

In the storm’s aftermath, Moveline had some good news to share. On Wednesday, the company announced it has raised a $1.5 million seed round led by ff Venture Capital. Eidson says the money will go toward hiring, including a lead designer and software engineer. The company also plans to increase its marketing and expand its service into more cities.

For now, the Moveline staff operates remotely—wherever they are. Though this is a change to the company’s usual workflow, Eidson said everyone on the team works remotely once per week anyway, communicating through group chat service HipChat and project management software Sprint.ly. She says they are relying on those services now to stay connected without phones.

Moveline’s app and services have seen no downtime, Eidson says, in spite of the storm. She even says some moves scheduled to take place during the worst of the storm went forward as planned: “We were impressed that they made it out of town before things got dangerous.”

Eidson says she is keeping tabs on fellow TechStars NYC alums in the city through their Twitter updates. Moveline’s relative good fortune was not shared by all.

“It sounds like most made it through the storm OK, but some individuals had flooding and fires in their apartment buildings,” she says.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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