Barbershops have worked the same way for generations — walk in, wait for a barber, get a haircut, and pay in cash. But when Obi Omile, Jr. founded his mobile app theCut, he knew the traditionally cash-based barbershop industry was overdue for a transition to digital accessibility. theCut’s mobile platform allows barbers to schedule appointments, process payments, and maintain their calendars, while customers can discover barbers and book them directly through the app. “When most people come across our business they think we’re just a booking company,” said Omile, “But what we’re building is much bigger than that.” Since their iOS launch in May of 2016, theCut’s services have spread across the United States, with the most active barber on the app seeing almost 500 clients a month.

While searching F6S for events specifically geared towards minorities, Omile stumbled upon Startup Runway and decided to apply. Although he’s no stranger to pitch competitions, Startup Runway provided theCut with a much more in-depth experience than the other events they’ve been a part of. “I connected with a lot of other entrepreneurs who we could possibly work with in the future, so, in terms of networking, it was amazing,” said Omile.

One of the key aspects of Startup Runway, however, is our comprehensive and personalized Mock Board Meetings. These meetings allow startup founders to discuss specific issues and challenges they’re facing with seasoned investors and advisors who are familiar with their industry. “Whereas most competitions are just ‘Come up, give your pitch, go home’, the mock board meeting was something else we could take from the event even though we didn’t win,” said Omile. And for underserved communities of female and minority entrepreneurs, meetings like this can be hard to come by.

Omile, and co-founder Kush Patel, sat down with representatives from Connetic Ventures, Bull City Ventures, and other financial advisors to work through the problems or roadblocks that have come up thus far. And for theCut, this discussion focused on one challenge in particular; digital payment. “Incorporating the payment processing aspect of our business into a traditionally cash industry has definitely been a challenge for us,” said Omile. “And our mock board walked us through the nuances of that landscape.”

Startup Runway provides a platform for female and minority founding teams to pitch their business to professional investors. We are proud to help diverse founding teams across the Southeast raise money and separate themselves from the competition.

Applications are now open for the 2018 Spring and Fall Showcases on May 2nd and November 1st.

Is your startup ready to fly? Apply today!