When Lauren Leto was in law school she founded Texts From Last Night, which she describes as a humour blog. The sight posts funny texts submissions that people send in anonymously, just showing a zip code and the text.
The Detroit born young entrepreneur dropped out of school, and moved to New York a year after starting Texts From Last Night, such was the success of the site. Within 5 days of opening up submissions to the site from anywhere in the world, the site received over a million hits. These days they get 4 million unique hits a month, 5,000 to 15,000 submissions a day and they also have an iPhone app that costs 0.99c. The app has seen well over a million downloads.
She moved to New York to be part of the tech scene over there. As soon as she arrived, she was welcomed in by the community, getting great advice from those around her. Lauren has seen the company grow from a site where she and her friends would post there drunken texts from the night before to a company at the center of the New York tech scene.
Having moved to New York, the next step was to find an office space. So she found The Makery a co-working space in Brooklyn. The office is full of other startups and gives a great atmosphere for each other to thrive off.
Lauren then went on to start her second startup, Bnter (like Banter). On Bnter you create profiles, have people follow you and post up any great banters as it were that people that can then comment on. it is trying to capture moments in time, in text form.
Bnter received angel funding from high profile investors such as Chris Dixon (founder of Hunch) but has paused any ideas of further funding after a bad run in when going for VC funding.
Having been approached by a VC and going through the process to get funding, even getting faxed over a term sheet, unsigned, but with the note that Bnter should consider the deal done, the firm pulled out after further consultation. It was thought that one of the other funded start ups where vying for the same customers.
So they pulled out, but not after Bnter had already started planning their expansion and spending money. Just shows to go how careful you have to be, a not get carried away to quickly. Thankfully Bnter are in a good enough position to survive this misfortune.
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