For UNC student Ritwik Pavan and recent graduate Matty Schaefer, finding the perfect parking spot is more than just an everyday chore.
That’s why back in 2017 they founded the VADE Group with North Carolina State University student and entrepreneur Christian Burke.
VADE uses hardware and software ranging from computer vision to wireless cameras with the simple goal of making parking more convenient. In two years, VADE has expanded from smart parking, which finds available parking spots using app-based technology, into curb management, which includes loading zones and providing services to businesses.
In August, the group raised $500,000 in seed funding — a process by which startup companies try to gain capital through investors.
Pavan, VADE’s CEO, is also the founder of Linker Logic Technologies Inc., a company he started as a junior in high school. Today, with nearly seven years of entrepreneurial experience, he sees this seed round as a means to take VADE to the next level.
“The seed round funding is for us to basically come up with a strategy that will allow for us to scale,” Pavan said. “So we’re basically testing out different methods of generating revenue, like how to make money and how to get customers that are paying.”
Getting investors proved to be no easy feat, especially as a technology company based on the East Coast. In a recent blog post, Schaefer detailed the hundreds of emails they sent, dozens of calls they made, and several “no’s” they received while trying to raise seed money. Though getting told no by investors was tough, Schaefer managed expectations by looking to other successful companies.
“Going into it having the context of what other people have done and companies that you look at and think 'Wow, it was so easy for them' — knowing the reality of that makes it a lot easier to go through similar processes,” Schaefer said.
And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the process of seed funding presented additional challenges.