Jody Porowski Headshot 2014

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This is the third in a series of profiles about the women-led companies in the SoarTriangle mentorship program. The women were selected from a pool of 25 companies based on the merit of idea, the strength and coach-ability of the team, and whether Soar organizers believed they could help the company reach its fundraising goals. To be considered, companies had to be planning to raise capital in the next six to 12 months. Read the first two stories here.

Earlier this year, Jody Porowski closed a round of friends and family funding and set on a journey to New York City. She wanted to take advantage of the connections she'd spent months making in the Big Apple for her social list-making startup Avelist. She'd balance her time between there and an office at American Underground in Durham.

Avelist Landing Page

In the months since that decision, Porowski has worked with a Charlotte branding agency to redesign and rebrand Avelist in a modern, minimalist, "high fashion" way that better appeals to its key 18-35 female demographic. She's forged partnerships with major media companies—in coming weeks they'll begin to publish their own lists via Avelist and their websites. She's beta tested an enterprise offering with eight pilot customers. And this week, Avelist launches a "Care Package" offering (pictured below), providing useful list-oriented guides on topics like pregnancy, job hunting, wedding planning and more.

A huge marketing push this summer is intended to bring in large numbers of users—about 50,000 were using the site as of January 2015.

Avelist Care Package example

But soon it will be time for a larger round of funding.

That's where SoarTriangle comes in. 

Though Porowski has been successful in raising $450,000 (including selling her Raleigh home to fund the company) in the two years since she left SAS to start her company, she applied for the program because of "its rich network of industry experts and investors, and its national recognition," she says. 

She expects her planned marketing efforts to earn enough user growth to warrant an institutional round of funding in the fall. That would help grow both the free for consumer and the paid business-to-business offerings. SoarTriangle will help with pitch preparation as well as connections to investors interested in media-oriented startups.

Says SoarTriangle mentor and leader Lauren Whitehurst: "Jody is doing all the right things to grow her business but where we felt we could help her was around her next fundraise. She needs to hone her pitch to show traction and prove she is gaining ground in both the B2C and B2B sides of the business."