“Startup Vikes gave me the confidence to start my business, which is also my job. That’s why sponsored in 2016 and returned as a mentor in 2017 and 2018.”
Anthony Gasparro was a General Business major at Cleveland State University who after volunteering at shelters and working part time for an a local dog sitter, had an idea for a “concierge pet service” but wasn’t sure if his idea would have a market.
Startup Vikes provided Anthony with the opportunity to vet his idea and turn it into a viable business – Puppy Match. He now runs Puppy Match and works around his class schedule at CSU.
“The most valuable thing I received from Startup Vikes was confidence,” said Anthony. “Because Startup Vikes is a peer environment, the people who participated had no obligation to boost my self-esteem, unlike my friends and family. Also, the opportunity to speak with experienced entrepreneurs gave me the confidence to pursue my business.”
Anthony continued to use some of the tools he learned at Startup Vikes including the business model canvas, customer development methods and marketing and advertising support provided during the weekend.
“Learning about product diversification, how to incorporate and what you need to do from a legal standpoint also really helped,” added Anthony.
Since Startup Vikes, Anthony took Puppy Match to the Strongsville Business Expo where he met with Camp Bow Wow and had the confidence to network and develop his initial customer base.
“Business is great,” said Anthony. “I had actual sales, and delivered my first Christmas puppy on December 23, 2015.”
Anthony is contemplated a more specific major in business and graduated in 2017. “I used Puppy Match for my Business 351 paper – and was a sponsor for Startup Vikes 2016,” he added. "I was happy to return as a mentor in 2017 and 2018."
Anthony is currently (January 2018) an associate at MAI Capital. (LinkedIn)