(This a guest post written by Kim Hoedeman and Jess Cotton from Benevolent Enabler Inc and Pagolocal LLC © April 2016)

Web Summit delivers for Silicon Bayou

BE / Pago / ChatFind

Talking to your peer-to-peer colleagues in start-up mode, the primary concern when you allocate precious capital, time and talent is; will Web Summit be worthwhile? Is the illusive Guinness-sipping-unicorn occasionally spotted by the likes of Uber still there?


This story starts at our first Web Summit 2015 in Dublin. Our New Orleans based company Benevolent Enabler Inc. (be) was chosen by Paddy Cosgrave’s team as the top of the US Alpha Class with one day attributed on the mighty conference floor amongst other “fin tech labeled” start-ups.


Welcomed in the Web Summit lobby by familiar, lovely faces from the-now-Collision team out of New Orleans (“with a slight sigh of…oh great we could have stayed at home echoing in our heads”). Here we were, at our humble stand, ready to pitch our radically-transparent-payment-gateway for non-profits dishing out “be.awesome” branded chocolate M&M’s, iPads in hand, with no sleep on our trans-Atlantic flights.


Within the hour, two blue-eyed, blond, well-dressed men approached us from ChatFind, “a Whats App for professionals”. They asked focused, sharp questions about our business model. The depth of conversation was immediately inspired and plans were made to meet that evening to discuss “joint opportunity”.


Here is a step-by-step on how the deal was formed:

  1. a) Identify win: win agreement. Initially we did not see how we could add value with Benevolent Enabler Inc. to ChatFind, target audiences did not match up directly.
  2. b) Business foresight. In the running of our business, we recognized an opportunity to offer our payment gateway to the every man. We split the code off and set up a separate entity called Pagolocal LLC earlier in 2015. With the focus to service the Hispanic freelance community; we created a dedicated payment process online in MVP form. Chatfind’s audience reaches over 10 million users including freelancers, small business owners and service specialists all searchable for business. This was an ideal match.
  3. c) Know your value. us was a proven concept company at the time of the ChatFind deal. They needed a payment gateway to facilitate their audience to transact seamlessly. We needed a distribution channel to grow our audience. With a small upfront investment, Pagolocal and Chatfind agreed a joint venture with a global roll-out plan to follow.


Most importantly, Web Summit offered the opportunity to make a deal of this nature happen. The same counts for Collision Conference. To facilitate a market place of digital inventions, best practice operations, strategic partners and access to C-level executives are very good reasons to be here. To find a strategic investor to scale your business is the must-do reason to be here. Collision’s presence in New Orleans is an economic paradigm shift.


Kim Hoedeman, partner at Pagolocal, comments: “Silicon Bayou dreams do come through; a joint venture agreement was signed within 6 weeks! Our payment gateway is ready for launch at Collision. I mean this is movie stuff material or at least one great episode for a reality tv serie?”


Raymond Wynne, at Chatfind, adds: “Web Summit was incredibly valuable for ChatFind. This conference offered a way to extend our revenue opportunity into a new digital realm featured as Chatpay via ChatFind. The first messenger app to launch this payment feature at Collision.”


Jess Cotton, partner at Pagolocal, concludes: “I have attended SXSW, Social Good Summit and the Web Summit is the most relevant of all. Excited to see what Collision will deliver for the Nola community.”


At Web Summit, we learnt you shall seek and find exactly what you need. At Collision, we are ready to share our win, win adventure. And no, you should not stay at home; go out and make it happen!


For all Collision conference attendees; you are invited to our event at The R Bar’s penthouse on 1431 Royal Street from 6pm till 11pm on April 25th, 2016. Free beer, wine and cocktails served. Special performances include Tank & The Bangas.  Sláinte to the Unicorn!

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