ROAR for Good and Warby Parker founders talk leveling up a startup

Neil Blumenthal advises Yasmine Mustafa on fundraising and bizdev after ROAR's B2B pivot in an Inc. interview.

Cofounder and CEO Yasmine Mustafa (left) and VP of Sales Michael Marks.

(Courtesy photo)

ROAR for Good, the startup that initially created a personal safety device called Athena, has spent the last year pivoting to sell its platform to decision makers inside the hospitality industry.

The Athena product had gained a lot of traction, but as the wearables market changed, cofounder and CEO Yasmine Mustafa said, the company had to change, too. Now, the company has developed its safety system for use in hotels, giving employees a way to let security or management know they’re uncomfortable or being harassed.

ROAR for Good recently entered a contract with a Marriott hotel — with the potential for more in the international chain — to implement use of the product, and Mustafa is working on a raise of up to $1.2 million, which she told via email will likely close at the end of October.

In a recent Inc. interview, Mustafa talked with previously Philly-based Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal about scaling a business, fundraising and selling a preventive service.

“We’ve talked about how since the #MeToo movement sexual harassment claims have increased by 50 percent and HR budgets are putting money aside for lawsuit payouts,” she said. “Attracting talent is one we have definitely talked about. We also talk about the PR benefits — the fact they can set their brand apart by being one of the first. But it’s hard to get that to resonate.”

Mustafa told Blumenthal that fundraising was some of her least favorite parts about being an entrepreneur (and First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman even gets a shoutout as a failed investor pitch — “he said he feels like the market is too small”).

“Of course, you don’t want to be fundraising,” Blumenthal told her. “You want to be building a business. You’re a fighter and a do-gooder. I’m walking away inspired.”


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