Serial entrepreneur Chase Garbarino has the startup bug. He is at the helm of his latest business at VentureApp. The companies he has been building share a common sense of purpose that weave within each one. Garbarino is motivated to provide members of the startup, tech and local ecosystem with better access to the innovation community by facilitating the sharing of knowledge and resources.
Garbarino was the co-founder of a media company called Streetwise Media with its local outlet BostInno back in 2008. The company was later acquired in 2012. While his background wasn’t in journalism, he felt that sharing stories and content about the startup activity in Boston would help empower others with insight into the Boston tech scene.
“Media and storytelling is really important for bringing truth to light, but it’s just one slice of what’s still a hot button issue in terms of the economic wealth and job creation happening in tech,” Garbarino shared when describing the catalyst for moving on to creating VentureApp.
“We started with a common problem,” Garbarino says. “When you are looking for something, whether you’re a startup founder or someone at a bigger business, the way that you try to get solutions or information is that you email two or three people and ask for their input.” Garbarino noted that this happens on a range of topics from smaller and less significant issues to asking for input on big decisions like a major business purchase or funding.
“There isn’t a good way to source all of the knowledge that you have in your network,” he adds.
VentureApp has been called the WhatsApp for a professional network. However, after spending some time exploring and chatting on the site, it seems to be more of a hybrid of Slack and Linkedin. It has the same feel to the chat capabilities of Slack with a recommended professional network like Linkedin.
Garbarino explained that while Linkedin has built a phenomenal database of professionals, it hasn’t nailed the engagement aspect which is what they are motivated to solve.
The platform has a range of professionals actively using it from professional service providers to non-profits to startup founders.
Colin Greenhalgh, a director at T3 Advisors is a user of VentureApp. "We have found VentureApp to be a great way to start conversations and develop relationships with potential customers, but it has also been a great resource for T3’s operations internally,” Greenhalgh says. “We met botkeeper on VentureApp and after losing a Finance person on short notice were able to engage with botkeeper almost immediately. The ability to find a solution (let alone a better one) in real-time has been invaluable in keeping the day to day at T3 seamless."
In addition to the messaging aspect of the site, the team at VentureApp regularly hosts office hours with professionals who are experts in venture capital, legal, marketing and other professional areas. In case you missed it, they recently put together this startup ecosystem map, an interactive visualization of thousands of startup investor relationships in Boston.
When it comes to growing his team and his leadership approach, Garbarino said, “In retrospect, I think it’s important for leaders to understand what they’re best at. I’m good at seeing what others can be excellent at and I hold them insanely accountable to be the best version of what they can be.”
Images courtesy of VentureApp.