/ Entrepreneurship

SWCedar Winner Raises $20,000 in Less Than One Week’s Time

It’s exciting, but it’s overwhelming a little bit.

Toweez, the winner of Startup Weekend Cedar City, managed to raise $20,000 in less than one week after taking home the top prize at the three-day entrepreneurial event.

“My dad owns a towing company,” said Toweez co-founder Brandon Jones. “After he saw what we did that weekend, he was like, ‘Well, how much money do you need?’”

The answer to that question appears to be $20,000. And it’s not just a co-founder’s relative who’s seeing the potential of the less-than-two-week-old startup. Toweez has been approached by a number of companies wanting to invest, or become a strategic partner.

“I’ve had probably half-a-dozen people walk up to me since Startup Weekend saying they’re interested in investing,” said Jones. “It blew me away. That’s not what I was expecting. I wasn’t even expecting my dad to say ‘how much money?’”

At this point, Toweez is basically just an idea, which is incredible because it’s already managed to leverage its SWCedar success into the most valuable type of validation a brand new startup can receive: money.

The company hopes to release both an iOS and Android app soon that delivers GPS-enabled technology and eliminates paper invoicing for towing companies. Watch the video above to get a better understanding of what this Cedar City startup is trying to accomplish.

Toweez seems to have wandered into a market desperate for disruption. Potential customers have already approached the company about funding the idea.

“It looks like we’ve got a few towing companies here in the area that will be looking at being investors. It’s been wild to me for that to happen,” said Jones.

Jones understands it’s important to capitalize on Toweez’s current momentum in a methodical, careful way.

“Before I go any further with how much money we’re going to need to raise, I want to do a little bit more validation and get a beta app up and test it,” said Jones. “And then kind of determine how much I have left to do before I really feel like we want to go sell the product.

“Our next step’s going to be trying to get the minimum product out there for as little cost as possible just to start testing and getting validation on what we’re building before we take further steps.”

Jones said he didn’t even think Toweez would win SWCedar, so it’s been even more surprising to see his 60-second pitch on the opening night of the event turn into a company that’s attracting customers, raising money, and developing an actual product.

“It’s exciting, but it’s overwhelming a little bit,” said Jones.

Published 4/22/2014