Waterville-Based Eariously and NYC-Based Bonmo Win Turtle’s Founder Lab Pitch Competition
Eariously, a software startup based in Waterville, ME, has won a $2,500 design and development prize from Turtle’s Founder Lab to continue working with software development specialists to bring its product to market.
Eariously’s software turns any digital text (e.g. websites, emails, articles, PDFs, images) into audio that can be listened to on a phone or laptop. Founders Nick Rimsa and Brendan Barr were motivated to create the innovative software in 2018 because they were sharing so many articles with each other that they didn’t have time to read all of them, but had plenty of time to listen during commutes. With the Turtle prize, Eariously plans to continue working closely with software development specialists from San Francisco and testing its software with hundreds of listeners. Eariously aims to begin selling the software publicly later this year.
“I first met [Turtle’s Co-founder and CEO] Vlad about four years ago when Turtle was just an idea that he shared with me. They just crossed $1M in revenue, which is an exciting testament to his commitment to making software development for accessible and reimagining the standard work week ,” explained Nick Rimsa, CEO and Co-Creator of Eariously, “As soon as we saw Turtle was accepting candidates for its first Founder Lab, we stopped what we were doing and applied. We can’t wait to begin working with them.”
Eariously will share the prize with Bonmo, a New York City-based startup founded by Stephanie Houng. Bonmo is a platform that matches brands and comedians in order to create more compelling content marketing, video production, and brand communication for customers.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in Turtle’s Founder Lab organized by Vlad. As a non-technical founder, there are times where I feel less confident about my ability to communicate with or understand the position of developers. Founder Lab taught key concepts that I can apply immediately to all my interactions with developers,” says Bonmo founder and CEO, Stephanie Houng. “I’m also excited to be sharing the prize with Nick Rimsa. From the get-go, we were big fans of what the other was building, and so to be sharing the prize with Eariously is an outcome that’s better than I could’ve imagined.”
Eariously, Bonmo, and eight other teams from around the world participated in Turtle’s first ever Founder Lab, a six-week accelerator for product founders. At the end of the accelerator, founders pitched development-ready product specs and plans, which were voted upon by Turtle’s developers. Eariously and Bonmo tied to win the prize, and Nick and Stephanie agreed to share the prize.
“We launched Founder Lab this year after realizing how many companies are only focusing on selling software services to founders, when actually teaching those founders how to manage software development design, development, and budgets themselves ultimately leads them to be more successful companies and happier clients in the long run,” explains Vlad Lokshin, Turtle’s Co-founder and CEO, “During the accelerator, Turtle invited experts in product development, design, development, budgeting, and management, including Sid Sijbrandij, the CEO of GitLab (now valued over $1B), as well as other top-flight CEOs from around the world to share their perspectives and advice with the group of founders.”
“I always love seeing founders helping founders,” said RJ Anzelc, owner of Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space in Waterville, Maine. “It’s awesome to see these programs that, while giving tremendous training and visibility, also help to create a digital community of founders to help support each other. I’m thrilled to see what the Eariously team will do together with Turtle.”
As the Eariously team begins to sell subscriptions, it plans to continue growing in Waterville and formalizing partnerships with institutions in the city and throughout Maine that will help distribute its software to more listeners. Readers interested in listening to Eariously can sign up for the waiting list on Eariously.com.
About Eariously: Eariously is a software startup based in Waterville, ME that turns any digital text (e.g. websites, emails, articles, PDFs, images) into audio that can be listened to on a phone or laptop. Eariously has focused on developing software for two groups of listeners: busy college students who want to listen to their reading assignments and busy commuters who want to consume more information but don’t have the time. Eariously was founded and is operated by Nick Rimsa, CEO and Colby ‘13 graduate, and Brendan Barr, CTO. The company is located in Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space in Waterville, ME.
About Bonmo: NYC-based Bonmo is a creative platform helping brands and agencies connect with professional comedians to create more entertaining and fun marketing campaigns that can cut through the clutter and grab the audience's attention. A Harvard study shows humor is the most effective ad message type but 92% of marketers struggle to find the right creative talents. Bonmo’s clients include Scentbird, Philips, and AWS.
About Turtle: Turtle is a remote-first company working to connect startups and entrepreneurial teams with top software engineers. Their messaging app and vetted marketplace make it easy for teams to do great work with top software engineers through contracts as small as 10 hours per week.