How I am Building my Tech Startup

How I’m Building My Tech Startup

Texterized Inc. co-founders, Candace and Chanel (Image: Texterized)
Techterized Inc. co-founders, Candace Mitchell and Chanel Martin (Image: Techterized)

A black woman in a tech startup in the South.  Sounds like an oxymoron right? Well, it’s true.  My name is Chanel Martin, and I am co-founder and COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Techturized. Techturized was the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Candace Mitchell, and myself. We met at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. Mitchell was studying computer science, and I was in a dual degree program with Clark Atlanta University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Techturized is a hair care technology company that creates innovative solutions to transform the hair industry. We launched our first product, Myavana, December 2013. Myavana is a mobile and social style platform, where women can search for hairstyles, products, and stylists in their area. Myavana will offer hair personalization plans Fall/Winter 2014. These personalized plans will recommend hairstyles, products, and services based on a woman’s unique hair type.

How we got started

Candace and I had issues with finding the right styles and products for our hair. One day, I was searching for natural hair wedding styles for my upcoming wedding. I searched everywhere, including blogs, websites, and YouTube videos and was overwhelmed.  I didn’t understand why the information was so fragmented and unhelpful. I decided to do something about it! What better person to tackle this issue than a chemical engineer. I reached out to Candace Mitchell to help with the tech side and the rest was history.

Getting funding

In 2012, we applied to an accelerator program, Flashpoint, based out of Georgia Tech. It provided $35K in funding, an office space, and seasoned mentors. We were accepted and began immediately working on our company. Flashpoint was instrumental to the success of our brand and our company. During Flashpoint, we interviewed more than 1000 women to help build our first product, Myavana. We also learned how to pitch to investors, and hustle!

After Flashpoint, we asked friends and family to invest in our company and raised $40K.  We then caught the eye of some local angel investors and raised an additional $25K. Next, we participated in a crowdfunding campaign through Indeigogo and raised another $25K.  Our biggest funding cash cow comes from pitch competitions. To date, we have raised $85K, and more than $200K in products and services from entering and winning pitch competitions. We are currently in the processes of raising $500K to carry out the next phases of our business.

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS! Join us for the landmark 10th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit hosted by State Farm, March 2—4, 2015, at Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL. This exciting, one-of-a-kind executive leadership summit is designed to train, equip and encourage women to become industry leaders, learn career strategies, and discover proven work—life balance techniques. Register Now!