(Photo by Mona Parikh)
It’s Monday afternoon, and JC Glancy and Rafael Lopez sound excited as they say hi on speakerphone from Austin, Texas.
They just got off the phone with a potential investor, and their conversation sounded promising, they say.
“I know this one’s legit,” Lopez says.
In case you don’t remember, these are the guys from Counsl, an app they developed to make the legal incorporation process easier and more streamlined. Per Wilmingtonian-turned-Austinite entrepreneur John Kirk’s recommendation, they organized a trip to Delaware under the guidance of Mona Parikh, the managing director of coIN Loft and community engagement liaison for UD’s Horn Program. The goal? To see if Wilmington would be a better fit for their startup than Austin.
It seems that it is.
“In Austin, we have to fight and argue with investors about the potential of our business because they just don’t get it,” Glancy said. “In Delaware, it’s the complete opposite. Everyone gets it immediately and sees the opportunity in front of us, and they want to help and want to get involved.”
Their grand tour of Wilmington was fortuitously extended by Snowzilla: What was initially to be a three-day trip turned into a nine-day stay.
But they didn’t mind too terribly. The lengthier stay allowed them to cram in a ton of meetings and better check out the area.
Some of the highlights:
- Meeting with Gov. Jack Markell. “Meeting with him was fantastic, he was super-supportive and definitely encouraged us to come to Wilmington, but also gave us a lot of good advice, not only on how to grow the business but how to grow the business in Wilmington, which was great,” Glancy said.
- Meeting with other Delaware movers and shakers like real estate developers Chris Buccini and Paul McConnell, and with Delaware’s chief deputy secretary of state, Rick Geisenberger.
- Meeting Robert Herrera and touring his upcoming coworking space, The Mill. “I’ve seen a ton of coworking spaces in my life, and what he has planned at The Mill is unparalleled,” Glancy said.
- The Brussels sprouts at Chelsea Tavern. No explanation needed.
The question remains: Will they move to Wilmington?
“Counsl is 100 percent fully committed to moving to Wilmington, contingent on funding,” Glancy said. “As soon as we get $50,000 in the account, the cars are starting.”
He and Lopez said they’ve got a few hard commitments and, contingent on those coming through, a few soft ones. Glancy said he’s confident that once they land their first investment, the rest will follow.
The two just hired a guy named Art Flores as the company’s new vice president of operations, and Lopez and Flores plan to open an office at The Mill. Counsl’s other cofounder, MIT student Van Phu, and some of his other MIT software engineering friends will work between there and the coIN Loft.
Parikh said she’s pleased Counsl will spend some of its time at coIN, a place made for startups. “We have all the pieces in place here to really be a destination for these kinds of startups,” she said of the greater Wilmington community. “It’s just a question of getting them all to work together.”
Parikh was also pleased that in this case, everyone did work together.
“If this were a beta test for how a community can put its best foot forward and work to show off what the tech scene in Wilmington and the landscape of investors in Delaware have to offer, I think it’s a success on a certain level just of how quickly the community rallied together … and made time for these guys,” she said.
Glancy and Lopez say they couldn’t be more excited.
“Everyone was so awesome and so helpful,” Glancy said. “It’s the perfect place for us.”