The feedback that we’ve gotten from our users is fantastic. They’re very articulate and excited to share how terrible their experience was before using our software, in contrast to how wonderfully SimpleCitizen solves their problem. Seeing people actually use the site the way that we intended and hoped they would, it’s just awesome.
Take a deep breath. That’s it, flare those nostrils and swallow that cold, crisp mountain air, wolf it down like you’re plummeting to the bottom of the ocean and this is your last opportunity to partake of sweet, blessed, life-sustaining oxygen. Good, good, that’s real good. Now pay close attention to the smell. Move past the scent of pumpkins and colorful, swirling leaves. Ignore the slight, hazardous tinge of smog that may or may not be poisoning your body. Try and focus past the full, hearty smell of free-flowing chocolate milk emanating from the BYU campus, or the odor of sadness pouring forth from the U of U and their recently decimated football team. Good, good, we’re almost there.
Beneath everything, you smell paper — not a faint whiff, but the clean, strong scent of greenbacks, Benjamins, bones, moola, whatever you want to call them. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, money is in the air.
Today, SimpleCitizen has announced a $700,000 seed round led by Kickstart Seed Fund, with participation from Peterson Partners, Pelion Venture Partners, Apple Tree Capital, and Jacob Sapochnick. It’s the third time in three days a Utah company has announced funding (DirectScale on Tuesday, ClientSuccess on Wednesday) and if that’s not proof that money is in the air, I legitimately need a doctor to exam my sense of smell and possibly other things.
“We were lucky because we were in three incubator programs during the summer,” says SimpleCitizen CEO Sam Stoddard, referring to their participation in BYU Launchpad, BoomStartup, and Start Studio. “It gave us a lot of facetime and interaction with VCs in Utah and we were able to work with them as we refined our pitch, hashed out some of the finer details of our business model, a lot of the help that you get through those programs. It became very clear that the people we wanted to work with, namely Pelion, Peterson, Kickstart, and Apple Tree, were on our wish list and we got our wish list.”
By now, you should know the story of SimpleCitizen. They’ve won multiple competitions within the last year (Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, Start Madness), officially launched at the tail end of July, and are now turning a forward-looking eye to the future of simplifying immigration. Has the process been easy? Hell no, but trial and error is the name of the game in the startup world and embracing that concept is what ultimately takes a company into the bright and limitless future.
“When we launched two-and-a-half months ago, we were able to see what we had correctly anticipated and what we had really missed the mark on, as far as features in the product, the process of handing off to the attorneys, or attorney review,” Stoddard says. “We were able to flush out what was really missing from the product and what needed to be added.”
Building and maintaining a platform is an ongoing process. There are things, both seen and unseen, that need to be tweaked in order to assure a smooth ride. Seed funding obviously helps alleviate this process, in this case providing SimpleCitizen with the added boost to accelerate development and marketing efforts. They’ve already been bombarded with positive feedback, they’re ready to hear more, and with the scent of money hanging heavy in the air, SimpleCitizen will now prepare to transition between seed and Series A. Breathe deep, people, breathe very deep.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten from our users is fantastic,” Stoddard says. “They’re very articulate and excited to share how terrible their experience was before using our software, in contrast to how wonderfully SimpleCitizen solves their problem. Seeing people actually use the site the way that we intended and hoped they would, it’s just awesome.”