Anyone that has worked in startups knows that success no a quick and also easy thing and that the companies considered overnight successes usually have actually years of unheralded job-related preceding the plaudits. Ideas take year to develop and also take shape, and the carriers we build off those ideas can take just as lengthy to grow into what we want them come become.

Last month, I had the chance to chat through Simone Spence, the founder and also CEO that Don’t acquire Mad acquire Paid, a company for helping ladies collect back child assistance (and one the is rebranding to be dubbed Athena). Simone spoke around her mission and her journey over years to create the service she has actually now.

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Mary Juetten: What’s the surname of your company and where room you based?

Simone Spence: Don"t obtain Mad gain Paid was established in 2017 and we room headquartered in new Orleans. Our customers named the firm back as soon as we to be in the style phase. The ladies participating in the alpha and also beta releases of the product in 2019 didn’t have actually an ax come grind v their ex; they just wanted to collect money the was rightfully owed to them. The name prospered out that those customer exploration conversations and also it seemed to be a an excellent fit. The said, us are about to start a rebranding under the name Athena, i beg your pardon is an ext brandable as a company name.


Juetten: What difficulty are you solving?

Spence: our mission is to put a large dent in unpaid boy support. The government reports the there is over $118 exchange rate in unpaid child support, seven million moms owed, and also fourteen million open up cases. However, in reality, the really numbers room closer to three times those amounts.

Juetten: Who room your customers and also how carry out you find them?

Spence: our customers are moms that are owed ago child support. Most of the moms space owed tens of thousands or numerous thousands of dollars in ago child support. The ache points are so high through our market that the is not difficult to find them. Because I was a mother who had actually this problem numerous years back and consulted top top this matter for over twenty years with moms from every state in the country, I have a an excellent founder-market fit. Mine team and also I understand who our customer is and also the battles she go through. We know the messaging that resonates with her, we recognize where to find and also how to discover her. Through over 7 million moms in the U.S. Who space owed back child support, the sad reality is that is not hard to discover our customers.


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Juetten: How did previous projects and/or experience assist with this brand-new project?

Spence: when I look at back, every little thing I did in the past twenty-five years has actually been top me to where I am this day with Don"t gain Mad obtain Paid. I spent twenty-two years structure the IP for this company. This no a 3-year play, the a 25-year play. Like plenty of mission-driven companies, our story is personal. Working v moms from all over gave me the expertise base to have the ability to productize a methodology that ns had created with an 87% success rate and also deliver it in a means that is extremely scalable for a high-growth technology company.


Juetten: Who is on her team?

Spence: It’s claimed that a CEO demands to do three things and do them well in order to construct a high-growth tech company:

1. Have a strong vision and strategy and communicate it to your team and also stakeholders. If the CEO is the kool-aid maker, you have actually to acquire your team and stakeholders to drink the kool-aid. This is an excellent for me since I have actually been one entrepreneur all of my life. When I to be a 6-year old son living in the Bronx with my family, ns literally marketed kool-aid ~ above the corner for 10 cents a cup for extra money.

2. Never operation out of money. the one is easy if you space a startup founder. We have actually all heard the mantra “always be raising.” If you space not proactively raising a round, you room talking to investor in-between ring for partnership building.

3. Recruit, hire, and retain the ideal talent for the company. I have actually an remarkable team, from Scott who is our an innovative Director, Anne who is Head of Ops, Lisa and Katelyn who space in client Success and Michael ours developer, to our strategic growth advisor Soso Sazesh, who helped to gain companies favor Gusto, Instacart, and Betterment to scale, and Josh King, the former CLO the AVVO who is an advisory board member.

Juetten: Did you raise money?

Spence: Yes, we simply closed a funding round and also will be increasing a new round next year.

Juetten: Startups space an adventure — what"s her favorite startup story?

Spence: I love stories about Steve Jobs. Among my favorite is as soon as he assisted his father build a fence about their household home. His dad told him to make the back of the fence as good-looking as the former of the fence even though nobody will see it. He defined that also though nobody else will view it the will know what it looks like and also that will present his dedication come making miscellaneous perfect. Is there any kind of reason the Apple has constantly made beautiful products? the less about impressing other people and instead about holding yourself accountable because that the top quality of her work. The a startup story in a roundabout way.

Juetten: How carry out you measure success and what is your favorite success story?

Spence: very first thing — do every little thing with focus and involvement, as if the is the last thing you would do. If you do that day-to-day you can’t help but it is in successful. That is my measurement. How have I made a difference on now in mine life and in the resides of others? My favorite success stories space of mine children. I have three children all of whom are extremely kind, warm, and also empathic people. Not only that however they space all passionate about what they love and also can conjugate verbs! What an ext can a parental want? That right there is a success.

Juetten: Any advice to include for early-stage founders?

Spence: Be relentless. That is all.

Juetten: And of course, any IP fear stories come share (they can be anonymous)?

Juetten: What"s the irreversible vision for her company?

Spence: ns can’t precisely tell you every one of our secrets due to the fact that that wouldn’t be fun! I deserve to say that addressing this significant pain point that ours customers have actually is priority number one and we are growing a company to execute that. However there definitely are other methods out over there for us if we desire to go that route. We’re a fintech firm looking come do large things because that a market that has actually been underserved for far too long.

Thank you come Simone because that taking part time come talk v me. I love your perseverance! kid support is something that plenty of probably don’t consider to be an issue, but it’s plainly an concern for countless Americans. #onwards.

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I to be the founder and also CEO of Traklight, the only self-guided software program platform that creates your custom pundit property (IP) strategy and also assesses service risk. I dedicated my more-than-30-year career to helping businesses achieve and safeguard their success, specializing in shift or start-up phases and also helping companies create sustainable gaue won growth. I want entrepreneurs to have Fortune 500 style software solutions. I cover IP issues and also business risks to stop horror stories and assist businesses succeed. In 2015, ns co-founded Evolve regulation to accelerate the fostering of an innovation within the legitimate industry and in addition, i am a LegalShield accessibility Advocate. I have a Bachelor of business degree native McGill and also a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State and also my US and also Canadian windy accountant certifications. Ns am an international writer, speaker, and also mentor, and sit on the ABA group Legal solutions Association board. I formerly represented businessman on the board of the Crowdfunding invest Regulatory Advocates and also the license Executive culture (LES) arising Enterprises committee. Ns am the major attorney at Juetten Law and also is the Counsel to Nimbus Legal. I am the writer of The service of Legal: The Data-Driven legislation Practice.