By John Brennan
Partner, Rough Draft Ventures
I’m thrilled to announce that Rough Draft Ventures is investing $20,000 in Balbus, Inc.
This is exciting for us not only because it is our first investment but because the founder, Jack McDermott, is exactly the kind of ambitious student-entrepreneur we set out to support when we launched Rough Draft Ventures last December. Despite his full course load as a junior at Tufts University and his commitment as an athlete on the varsity men’s lacrosse team, Jack has built the foundation of what we believe will be a successful, high impact technology company in the field of special education.
As someone who’s had a stutter for his entire life, you’d be hard pressed to find a founder more entrenched in his product and target market than Jack. While Balbus is growing into its broader vision as a next generation special education platform, it started out to alleviate Jacks specific frustration with his own speech therapy experience. He saw the increasing popularity of smartphones and the emergence of the app economy as an opportunity to put his own speech therapy in his pocket, and he did just that. Since he started Balbus in the fall of 2011, his two iOS apps, Speech4Good and Fluently, have been purchased by thousands of customers trying to find their voice just like him.
Moving forward, we couldn’t be more excited to work closely with Jack and introduce him to the advisors and mentors in our network who can be helpful to him and his company. The $20,000 we’re investing in Balbus will allow Jack to build out his team and run the company full-time when he’s not in class or on the lacrosse field. This is something he’s been unable to do in the past—especially during the summer—as he’s always had to take internships to bootstrap his company on nights and weekends.
Jack has shown a tremendous commitment to solving a very real problem and we’re eager to support his venture as well as other student founders who share an equally relentless passion for their product here in Boston.
Read more about Balbus and what this investment means to Jack on his personal blog.
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