Co-founder, Vers Audio
Launched: March 2007, now trying to expand
Former job: Product developer for Brookstone
My business partner, David Laituri, and I started our environmentally conscious business two years ago. We developed a high-end iPod dock that's made of wood and sustainable materials. We tried a total of 11 banks, but they all turned us down because we didn't have a revenue history. Then we tried a small lending institution, Middlesex Bank of Framingham, just down the street from our office. They gave us a $200,000 asset-backed line to use on inventory.
We expanded nationally and internationally very quickly. We avoided large retailers and concentrated on indie retailers that are focused on green products and that could appreciate our product. In our first year, we hit $1 million in revenue. I think we'll hit $2 million this year, and we'll need more capital so that we can start turning orders around faster and developing new products.
I went back to Bank of America recently. They had turned me down for a loan, but I came to find out that Vers is no longer small enough for their small business lending. I'm not going to pitch to their corporate banking division now - we're really happy with our current bank. Of course, in this lending situation, you never know. Despite our growth, anything can happen. So I'm nervous about that, but I think we're covering our bases by also initiating conversations with interested private investors as well.
NEXT: In need of clients