Welcome to Trep Talk! Trep Talk features some of our city’s compelling entrepreneurs who are boldly building what is uniquely Memphis. The spotlight series is curated by Elizabeth Lemmonds, Director of Talent Programs for the EPIcenter.
Today we take another look at a tech startup company in this year’s groundbreaking collaborative Summer of Acceleration. I’ve introduced you broadly to the teams, and to Soundways from the new MMT program managed by Start Co. in partnership with The Consortium. This week I want you to meet ZoomThru with Lexi Sprague and Richard Malone, members of the Upstart accelerator cohort focused on women-led startups.
I won’t completely steal Lexi’s thunder below, but as someone who both takes my 10-year-old daughter through drive-thru lines and also regularly uses parking garages (for both work and play), I am completely down with their technology. The idea that it could be piloted in Memphis also excites me, as does the fact that they moved to Memphis for this rigorous 15 week program of business building curriculum, connections and seed funding.
Memphis is rightfully proud of our entrepreneurial heritage. One reason that Trep Talk is so much fun, is that we get to shine a light on some of today’s hottest concepts and boldest entrepreneurs. And this week we’re focusing on an entrepreneur who moved to Memphis to launch her company!
But that isn’t what immediately drew me to ZoomThru. As I mentioned, I am intrigued by the concept and am absolutely their target consumer. I also love – surprise! – Lexi’s and Richard’s energy, approach, complementary skill set and tenacity. I hope you’ll help welcome them to Memphis, and feel confident that you’ll share my enthusiasm in seeing ZoomThru launch here in the Bluff City.
Give us your elevator pitch! We are a company focused on making payment as seamless as possible. All you do is download our mobile application, take a photo of your license plate and every drive thru service you attend will have completely secure hands free checkout.
What was your inspiration? I am all about how technology interacts with and changes worldwide culture. I am constantly editing so that I am only working on key ideas that have the potential to truly change the world. The way ZoomThru can in the payment industry.
Did you always know you were destined for entrepreneurship? I don’t know how to do anything else. I went from having $100/week lemonade stands, to running my first company, Chadder, when I was 19. My family, every time I came home after a bad day, always pushed me to go beyond complaining about my problems and actually fix my problems.
What are the most rewarding parts of owning this business? I live for the smile on someone’s face when we make their day a little better. It is those moments that I live for. I can say with the ZoomThru team my proudest moment is watching my co-founder work through how to do mockups and wireframes. Even if they aren’t his strong suit, he jumps right in and there isn’t anything more I could ever ask of a co-founder. It has been awesome to work with him and help each other grow along with our company!
What are the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur? How do you overcome them? Lonely nights, if you are the lead on your team prepare for the long, lonely nights full of existential terror. I typically overcome this by working more until I actually cannot stay up, or talk to a family member to calm my nerves. I also keep a journal, this way my stressful thoughts and work can be in one place every night. If I stress I read that journal to realize how far we have come as a team, and how much farther we can go. Continue Reading …