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founder Archive - TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

TransSwipe - Merchant Services and Credit Card Processing

Archive for the ‘founder’ Category

Lessons learned with Community Sourced Capital’s Co-founder, Rachel Maxwell

community-sourced-capital-team-dc61358a96e01607235e2afc09a4debc (1)

A few months back, we featured Community Sourced Capital and their use of MassPay to pay out businesses on their platform. We were so intrigued by what this company was doing and the motivation behind it all that we followed up with the co-founder and CEO to get further insight into the power of community support for small businesses.

After becoming an empty nester, Rachel Maxwell set sights on founding a startup. In this post, she gives us a peek into her journey and perspective as an entrepreneur empowering small businesses.

“I went to business school. And then I did something even stranger; I become the founder and CEO of a startup!”

Maxwell started down this path after three years in business school, where she graduated with: an MBA in Sustainable Business, a team and a powerful dream.

“I wanted to help people align their money with their values. I wanted to give people a relationship with money that carried blessed energy. And I wanted to make a responsible and profitable business doing it.”

With this vision and a team to drive it, Community Sourced Capital launched their lending platform to help small businesses access capital in the form of zero-interest loans crowdsourced from members the community.

How does CSC empower the small business?

Unfortunately, most small businesses cannot access the funding they need to succeed.

New lenders have emerged to serve this need, but many of them charge equivalent interest rates of 20 to 50 percent or more. These rates can compromise the stability of the businesses providing stability to our communities. Community Sourced Capital exists so that businesses can access affordable capital from their community.

If a business isn’t ready to access a community loan, the team at CSC connects them to a network of partners who can help fund them.

What are the growing pains and pleasures you’ve experienced as the founder?

CSC was founded in 2012 and we made our first loans in 2013. Now, CSC’s biggest challenge is keeping capital moving to small businesses as fast as they need it.

The demand for capital is there and although awareness for CSC’s platform and brand is growing, we’re up against a thriving market of predatory lenders who have much bigger marketing budgets than we do. We’re trying to do a lot of good in a system that’s taking advantage of small business owners that need cash fast.

For us, it’s breaking through the noise with a message and a product that are focused around helping small business thrive, not just survive.

CSC quote image

What advice would you give to those SMBs looking get going?

Bring intention, integrity and passion to your work every day and people will see that—your employees, your customers, your investors, your suppliers…everyone will have an easier time meeting you in this positive space and will want to be a part of your success.

Why would you encourage fresh entrepreneurs to become engaged in their community?

As a small business owner, more often than not, other local small businesses are your greatest allies. They understand the challenges you are going through and probably have a litany of suggestions for tools, tips and tricks to accomplish the business end of your business.

Are there any other financial bits of advice you’d lend to SMBs?

Start with a CDFI or credit union for funding—they are in place to help strengthen communities and they offer healthy and affordable capital.

Do your research because commercial lending is largely unregulated. If a financing offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

ALWAYS understand the interest rate or equivalent APR of the financing you are getting. If someone refuses to provide these, be weary of their practices.

Leverage resources like the Small Business Association to help you get answers to your business related questions and get advice from other local small business owners.


Starting a business is no easy feat, and Community Sourced Capital built a solution to address that. But they are one of the many tools and resources out there to help get started…

What are your favorite resources for entrepreneurs or business owners? Share below.

Founder Spotlight: Basha Rubin of Priori Legal


At Dwolla, we always appreciate hearing and sharing the perspective of other entrepreneurs. Recently, we chatted with Basha Rubin, founder and CEO of Priori Legal, an online marketplace connecting small businesses with top-tier lawyers at below-market rates. In this Q&A, Basha shared insights on the importance of laying legal groundwork early, as well as her own perspective on life in the startup scene.

“I think it’s important for small businesses and freelancers to realize that lawyers can be a lynchpin in whether a business survives or not. You need to find a lawyer that you click with, so they can help your business thrive.”

-Basha Rubin

Can you begin by describing the mission of Priori Legal?

Priori Legal is a curated marketplace connecting startups and small businesses with high-quality lawyers at below-market and when possible, fixed rates. We do everything we can to make the process of finding, hiring and working with a lawyer as transparent and efficient as possible so our clients can focus on other tasks.

What sets us apart is the quality of lawyers in our network. Priori accepts only 20% of lawyers who apply; we want to make sure we have the top players in the field. From there, Priori does some of the legwork for you—we negotiate a 25% discount for our clients and make conference call scheduling easy. We’ve also built robust billing and invoicing tools, so working with a lawyer is as easy and pleasant as it can be.

Priori has recently expanded to California, now serving two states’ legal needs. As the founder, how has your role shifted?

I’m having so much fun running Priori, especially as the team is growing. I’ve really been thinking about my role a lot these days. A year ago, as the founder, my time was spent on everything short of being a developer. I ran our business development, social media, marketing, the list goes on… Now we have a team of ten, and I can focus on the bigger picture tasks and the company’s vision.

Running a startup, I’m constantly figuring out how my role changes as we grow.

Thinking back to the early days, can you discuss the biggest challenges you faced when first starting Priori?

I think my biggest challenge has been overcoming the fact that I’m a perfectionist.

I have always been a perfectionist. At one point, the idea of a typo horrified me to my core. (Ok, ok, not at one point, still a little true) I was trained as a lawyer, and some of the habits I developed were hard to shake when starting out as an entrepreneur. I had to realize that it’s not about perfecting every detail. You can spend years smoothing over every aspect of a product, and it could still completely fail.

Despite my insistence upon making everything ironclad, I realized sometimes you just need to put yourself out there.

Shifting the focus, how do you help your clients understand their biggest legal challenges?

To get our clients to understand their legal challenges, we do a lot of content marketing. It’s one of our most successful customer acquisition channels, lots of education and writing about the legal needs of small businesses.

We also have a very low barrier process to get our clients on the phone with lawyers. Our aim is to make their experience as seamless as possible.

What is the #1 piece of legal advice you would give to freelancers or businesses just starting out?

Talk to a lawyer early. Businesses are really anxious about working with lawyers because they are afraid that the costs will add up. If you work with a lawyer to draft a contract or protect your intellectual property upfront, you’ll ultimately be able to keep your legal costs down.

As a small company, be transparent about your budget, so your lawyer understands your parameters.

And, likewise, what’s the #1 worst piece of advice freelancers often receive?

We realized that a lot of freelancers found their contract online and then edited it or repurposed a friend’s contract. In many cases, these contracts don’t actually protect what freelancers think they do or want them to.

My advice to freelancers, make sure you have a good contract. One that is tailored towards YOU.

Turning over to finance, how have you been successful in managing the finances of your startup?

Keep the operation as lean as possible; keep costs down. And, viewing everything in one central location helps, too. For example, for our HR needs, we are about to transition to JustWorks, which allows us to consolidate those processes and see everything in one place.

Get your SMB Finances on Track with these five questions

Founder’s story: Shoptiques

Olga Vidisheva

Want a good story? Ask an entrepreneur about the inception of their business.

Olga Vidisheva moved to the United States from Russia when she was 17, going on to pay her way through college by modeling and soon taking a job at a prestigious investment firm right after graduation. After several years of work, she enrolled at Harvard Business School and then took a trip to Paris, which unknowingly changed her career path forever.

Olga stumbled into a tiny boutique and fell in love with a pair of gorgeous shoes. Upon her return to the U.S. (with the shoes—of course), her friends also fell in love with them and wanted a pair for themselves. Unfortunately, the small boutique owner wasn’t too keen on allowing Olga’s friends to make over the phone purchases, insisting that the only way they could buy the shoes was if they showed up to the shop in person.

“I was shocked! In the 21st century, my friends weren’t able to get shoes from Paris! I knew I needed to change that.”

Olga recalled her time at Harvard, when women would make special trips to boutiques in New York City to purchase beautiful hard-to-find items that they couldn’t get anywhere else—even online—as none of these boutiques had a website.

“This is how the idea for Shoptiques.com came about. How could we grant women immediate access to the most stylish boutiques, bring them the same intimate experience, and curated pieces online? If you live far away, are time-starved, or simply want to discover new boutiques, Shoptiques.com is your one-stop destination for the best boutiques online.”

A few days after Olga launched the site in private beta she was accepted to Y Combinator, a program in Mountain View, CA, that allowed her to take on some initial capital and join an incredible program aimed toward turning great ideas into successful companies. The rest of the Shoptiques story, is history.

shoptiques team

I was lucky enough to chat with Olga about some of the things that she’s learned by starting her own business, as well as where she finds inspiration every day in her career.

Can you share one of your favorite Shoptiques related stories?

At Shoptiques, we have a boutique product called #shopstagram. The product allows every Instagram post to become shoppable while helping a boutique measure their social ROI and having more sellable products online. When a boutique posts a photo, they include a special hashtag, list their inventory levels, and it becomes shoppable within minutes on their shoptiques.com page. This what is now a breakthrough product for us born solely from listening to our customers.

Where do you look to find inspiration in your career?

My grandmother. She has always been my hero in life and career. She went through World War II, supported her whole family since she was 13 years old, was running all the finances and accounting for the huge USSR bus company, and now at 70, moved to the US and is learning English. She is one of the strongest people I know and despite all of the hardship; she is still the most positive and supportive. She makes me believe everything is possible through hard work!

What is one important lesson you’ve learned from your journey into building Shoptiques?

Hiring is the most important task for Founder and CEO. I don’t think I truly understood the extent to which hiring matters. My assumption was everyone would want to work hard just like we all did in investment banking and everyone would take their work very seriously. I quickly learned through some failures, that not everyone is like that, and finding the right people is the hardest task. Now, looking back, I know exactly what I am looking for in an individual and I work hard to make sure I understand who she/he is before we hire them.

Why did you choose to accept Dwolla at checkout?

We chose to accept Dwolla because it is part of the future of payments. Shoptiques is on the forefront of evolving offline and online experiences and Dwolla is at the forefront of payments; it is a perfect partnership. We want to offer all options for our customers to get the products they want.


Have a founder you’d like to see featured on the Dwolla blog? Let us know in the comments, or shoot us an email to communications@dwolla.com. We’d love to hear from you!

©2018 TransSwipe


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