Entrepreneur Finds Startup Funding by Renting Out Her Couch

Feb 29, 2012

Tracy DiNunzio, founder of Recycled Media, is the prototypical entrepreneur. Her story does not feature a fairy godmother in the form of an angel investor funding her dream. Hers is a story of doing whatever it takes—including renting out a couch and spare bedroom on Airbnb—to make her small business plan come to fruition.

Mark Suster, entrepreneur and venture capitalist with GRP Partners, believes there are some valuable lessons any budding entrepreneur can learn from DiNunzio’s story. He shared his insights below and more with Both Sides of the Table.

1.“She started her business from a personal need”

DiNunzio started her first website, Recycled Bride, when she realized how expensive buying a new wedding dress can be. When her first marriage ended, she saw an opportunity to provide brides with low-cost, low-waste alternatives to expensive designer dresses.

2.“She found non-traditional financing”

It’s hard to imagine finding more non-traditional funding than Tracy DiNunzio. Determined to make her small business work, she sold many of her possessions on Craigslist and began renting out her bedroom, and often her couch, through Airbnb. That kind of doggedness helped her raise $28,000 in one year to begin financing her small business.

3.“She focused on her customer”

As she aspired to be a player in the wedding and women’s lifestyle market, DiNunzio began to learn as much as possible about the community. She became a regular contributor on blogs, hounding editors to feature her as a regular guest blogger on some of the most popular sites. She even learned search engine optimization (SEO) inside and out to improve her online presence and become more prominent in the community.

Click here to read the other lessons Suster learned from DiNunzio on Both Sides of the Table.

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