I am more than a test score.
I was number seven on the team. I joined post-launch but pre-revenue, pre-money. I left my consulting job on the heels of a promotion and just three weeks after the birth of my daughter. I took a 50% pay cut.
But, “It’ll work. I know it”, I told myself.
From day one: My family didn’t approve, especially my father, a self-made man whose childhood was spent with bills rarely getting paid, electricity getting turned on and off, and food not always on the table. To him, gambling on high risk dreams with one’s family at stake was irresponsible and selfish.
And there was truth to his cautions. My Zinch salary couldn’t cover the costs of my young family. I needed the support of my father who didn’t approve of my course of action. I asked to move my family into my parent’s basement.
“It’ll work. I promise”, I told my father.
Within weeks: All of the company’s metrics that had been going up started going down. We knew we needed more seasoned leadership. We targeted Anne Dwane, co-founder of Military.com who had sold her company to Monster.com. We flew her to Salt Lake City, showed her the operations, then took her to a coffee shop to close our sale.
“It’ll work. We promise,” we told her.
Within months: Our product was seeing success, but we weren’t yet charging our clients. It was time to prove what we had promised ourselves and others. Fall of that year we attended the largest conference of college admissions counselors, NACAC, to sell our wares.
“Social media is the future. Replacing print with web is ‘green’. It will save you money. It is more targeted, relevant, and meaningful. It’s the way of the future…
“Zinch will work. We promise,” we told them.
Year One: Having proven universities were willing to pay and students were benefitting from the product it was time to scale. We needed to raise money if we were going to be in a position to grow our company and capture the opportunity. By this time I had transitioned to Director of Finance and was supporting our CEO in pitching VC’s.
“It’ll work. We promise,” read our closing pitch slide.
Year Two: We saw an opportunity to take our business international but needed the right partner to navigate the Chinese ecosystem and regulations. Tom Melcher, a US expat, serial entrepreneur and author of the best selling book on Chinese students studying in the USA was our man.
He knew the potential of the opportunity and shopped it with a dozen other companies. We didn’t want to see this opportunity lost to one of our competitors.
“It’ll work. We promise,” we told him.
Year Three: Three million students have used our site to connect with hundreds of colleges world-wide. We have awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and matched students to billions in other scholarship funds.
Zinch is a platform than lets students showcase their many talents and be recruited by universities and grad schools worldwide—including the likes of Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth, & Yale—and currently serves over 3 million students. Zinch is backed by New World Ventures and has operations in the US, China, and Middle East.