Saturday, June 24 , 2017, 5:55 am | Overcast 59º

 
 
 
 

Business

ONTRApalooza Draws Hundreds to Santa Barbara Lobero Theatre, Canary Hotel

ONTRAport's annual event features speakers, workshops talking about growth and getting a business funded

Zach Olson, founder & CEO of online bookkeeping service Bookly.co, shared some pointers on how to get a new business financed Thursday during the first of a two-day ONTRApalooza event.
Zach Olson, founder & CEO of online bookkeeping service Bookly.co, shared some pointers on how to get a new business financed Thursday during the first of a two-day ONTRApalooza event.      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The key to finding funding for a new business is being scrappy and persistent, coupled with a little cyber stalking of potential investors and knowing you business inside and out.

It also helps that there’s more venture funding available now than ever.

That was the message of a “Get Funded! New Models for Financing” session at the fourth annual ONTRApalooza business conference Thursday in Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre.

The two-day festivities, which continue Friday, were also hosted at Canary Hotel.

Zach Olson, founder and CEO of an online bookkeeping service for entrepreneurs called Bookly.co, shared some insight into how his own business got off the ground and how he happened into the accounting field after opening his first business, a skateboard shop.

“This is one of those topics you’re not taught in business school,” Olson said.

His audience was filled with some of the 400 attendees of the event put on by Santa Barbara-based ONTRAport, which offers small to mid-sized businesses automated software services.

Olson started Bookly.co with his wife, quickly learning the value of accepting capital funding even when you don’t need it.

“You will,” he said. “You always need more than you think. It goes fast.”

In order to find those investors, the serial entrepreneur from Utah said small business owners have to seek out introductions through work contacts they already know.

That’s where the online research ahead of time comes in, along with coming up with your own pitch because no one should be able to sell your idea like you, Olson said.

“Do you homework,” he said. “Don’t lose that hunger. Don’t lose that drive. Be humble. Don’t use someone’s name without asking.”

Following up with connections is also critical, Olson said.

He reassured attendees there’s more money than ever out there but warned against asking for too little seed money to start, since slightly less than 10 percent of startups proceed into the next Series A funding stage.

“Now is the best time to be a founder,” Olson said. “Always look ahead. Also think about who you’re taking (money) from.”

The journey to funding can be slow and long, he said, but keeping on mission and taking the lonelier entrepreneur road could pay back big dividends.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >