Local Startup Receives Seed Funding After One Million Cups Pitch
Dr. Gregory Smith, Founder and CEO of Paxi Inc., was advised to go pitch his business plan at One Million Cups at the Crummer Graduate School of Business – he came back with a $15,000 check from an angel investor.
Dr. Gregory Smith was moved to tears after pitching his startup company at One Million Cups, a weekly business pitch event held at the Crummer Graduate School of Business and sponsored by the Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship.
Paxi Inc., started in June of 2018 in the Daytona Beach area, is a ride-sharing app designed for your pets. The app caters to the growing number of people choosing to ride with their furry friends.
Dr. Smith’s impassioned pitch on Paxi Inc. seemed to resonate with one local angel investor in the audience who approached him directly after he was done with his presentation.
“He came up to me and said that he really liked my concept,” said Smith. “He then asked me if I take money.”
Taken aback, Smith said back, “Of course I take money!”
Right then and there, in the SunTrust Auditorium of the Crummer building, Smith received a check for $15,000.
“We ended up meeting again a week after, and he told me he goes to a lot of those presentations, but nobody moved him as much as the presentation I made,” said Smith.
It hadn’t been an easy road over the past year and a half trying to get Paxi Inc. up and running.
Like many entrepreneurs in the bootstrapping stage, Dr. Smith was pitching the idea of Paxi to family and friends, hoping for enough financial stability to stay afloat.
The check from the angel investor was validation after nearly a year and half of hesitations and self-doubt that resulted in a wave of emotions.
“This was literally a shot in the arm,” he said. “You can get overwhelmed in business, always asking yourself if you are doing the right thing. One Million Cups was more than just the monetary investment; it was so many people demonstrating an interest in our company.”
Dr. Smith, who got the idea for Paxi Inc. after being unable to find transportation for his pet llama, said the positive-minded community at One Million Cups gives entrepreneurs, who many times are siloed in their own worlds, a chance to discuss ideas and provide feedback to one another.
“The questions and remarks after the presentation were so invigorating for me. The experience in itself was really wonderful.”
With the funding Dr. Smith received, he will be able to hire 4 more full-time employees, with the goal of 40 full-time employees and 50,000 part-time drivers. The funding will also help to build out the infrastructure needed to go national.
He says Paxi already has 300 drivers signed up, but he says they need to go national within the next 90 days in order for the concept to work.
He envisions Paxi not only being reliable transportation for you and your pet, but also for situations in which you cannot transport your pet.
“There are so many people out there struggling to bring their loved pet to the vet. This concept is about helping people, not just making money,” said Dr. Smith.
One Million Cups meets every Wednesday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the lobby of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.
Like Dr. Smith found out, you never know who may be sitting in that audience.