The relationship blossomed when Easley invited Beard to office hours at his stomping grounds, Ruckus Pizza in Morrisville. The investor then introduced the entrepreneur to a handful of key mentors, and charged him with following up.

In the months to follow, Beard did just that. And he also well-surpassed each of his monthly goals for users and contests. According to Easley, Beard built a ‘wildly different’ company than he had six months prior. Beard sent one of his monthly update emails this morning, announcing a new contest with the American Kennel Club, which would be SnapYeti’s largest client to date, and new pilots with WRAL and ABC 11 of a new photo contest embed feature for news sites and blogs.

Now, $20K might not sound like a lot. But to Beard, who in April entered the Paradoxos Talent Show in hopes of winning $2,500 to fix his broken-down truck, it’s the result of hustle and hard work. It’s an amount he believes will convince other investors to jump in.

“Kindling,” Easley called it as he handed over the signed note for Beard to affix his signature. “I’m pretty confident that he’s going to raise a big round.”

Beard’s response?

“Now you’ve got a Yeti in your portfolio.”

And that, folks, is how a deal gets done.