Monthly Archives: August 2022


Featured Founder: Greg Sack of PINCH

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Greg Sack of PINCH, On Demand Cleaning App that quickly connects the best local house cleaners with home owners, commercial businesses, real estate agents, and property managers without price negotiations.

What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

I was fortunate to have a life changing moment in 2014 when I successfully exited my business to FedEx.  After co-founding Bongo International, we became the first start up, non-asset based company, FedEx ever acquired.  After the transaction with FedEx, I started to invest in real estate here in Tampa.  We quickly looked at property management solutions and it was apparent that there were no options that suited our specific investment needs.  After a few bad experiences, my business partner and I decided to start our own. I learned that managing vendors was the most time consuming and frustrating part of our business.  Specifically, working with cleaning companies coincidentally was one of our greatest challenges.  We found ourselves struggling to find companies that could offer us flexibility in their schedules, yet provide us commercially viable pricing.  The cleaning industry as a whole is broken and is ripe for innovation.   One of my old business partners at Bongo serendipitously was asked to help and get started at Pinch.  PINCH’s initial concept was started as an on demand lawn care service that quickly morphed and focused on cleaning only.  Through my former partners and my experience at Bongo, we quickly saw the market opportunity to use technology and traditional marketing approaches to tackle a market that is rife with large margins and in-efficient access to labor.

What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

PINCH solves two problems. 1) Cleaner access to markets.  Cleaners find marketing themselves extremely expensive and inefficient.  Additionally, traditional single family home cleaners have no access to commercial markets unless they work for a commercial cleaning company.  2) Availability to labor continues to be an overall market problem.  PINCH gives users access to huge pools of cleaners, instantly.  This large pool naturally drives the cost of the cleaning down because it brings instant competition to the job.  Additionally, cleaners find the service to be a perk as well because they are provided with paying jobs and not just a lead.  All of this gets me excited.  I am a natural competitor and I love to win.  We are disrupting an industry.  The old process of calling a cleaner, getting a quote, negotiating, and finding ways to pay the cleaner(s) are gone.

Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

At first, our biggest challenge was acquiring cleaners that would buy into the concept of working for an app.  We struggled with this at first, but we quickly realized the value that a solution like this brings to cleaners that are looking for new clients to market to.  There is no better way to prove your capabilities than to be given an opportunity to clean someone's house or office.  Do a great job and you get asked to come back.  Once we got our messaging right, the cleaners started to come into the app in droves.

Where do you see your company headed next?

We plan to really focus our efforts on expanding our services into the commercial space.  Commercial cleaning companies experience 200-400% turnover annually.  This creates a tremendous opportunity for us.  Not only can we offer commercial cleaning services at highly discounted rates, but we can also assist commercial cleaning services and maid services with labor to fulfill their own jobs.  The total cleaning market is roughly $450 billion dollars and the commercial component of that is ~$400 billion - a market that is completely shut out for the Gig work pool of cleaners.

Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.

Start out with a clear vision and focus on things that are working.  Be ready to change directions when the data is pointing you that way.  From there, don't try to be everything to everyone.  We quickly realized that lawn care was much harder to manage, significantly lower AOV, and the service providers didn't communicate as well as the cleaners.  Therefore, we removed the service and decided to become super focused.  That same focus is what has gotten us into the commercial cleaning space, which we believe will be a huge game changer.

Why Tampa Bay?

I moved here in 2005 from NYC.  I love it here and truly call Tampa my home.  I have watched Tampa grow and change over the past 17 years and it has been exciting to watch.  In early 2022, Tampa was ranked 3rd on the top US cities people are looking to move to according to Redfin.  This creates opportunities for apps like ours.  New home owners will need cleaners.  We are here and ready to help each of them find one of the best cleaners in Tampa for their needs.



Featured Founder: Connor Lewis of Class Cash

Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Connor Lewis of Class Cash, a micro-influencer platform that seamlessly integrates brands into the everyday lives of college students.

What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?

Before starting my company, I was working full-time at CDW as an Account Manager selling technology solutions and services to businesses in Florida. In the fall of 2019, we launched a beta test at Auburn University and thousands of students from over 180 universities around the US joined our waitlist. The viral growth on our waitlist and the student testimonial interviews inspired me to transition into Class Cash full-time. (check out our student testimonials)

What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

College students need money and brands need new/creative ways to build lasting one-to-one relationships with the next generation of consumers. I’m excited to build a solution that helps college students make money and focus on their education at the same time. In addition, I’m excited to help brands positively impact students' daily lives, build brand loyalty, and gain exposure in hard-to-reach places on college campuses at scale.

Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge we have faced when launching Class Cash is scaling a double-sided marketplace. We need to convince students to use the app and convince brands to pay for the service, which can be a bit complex. Our solution is to focus on the needs of each side and run tests until we find a happy medium that works for everyone. We started with a beta test that focused on user experience for college students. After figuring that out, we started focusing on advertisers' needs and will launch a pilot this year.

Where do you see your company headed next?

Our next step is to execute a successful pilot with four local businesses at Auburn University. The goal is to prove that Class Cash can create a positive ROI for advertisers. After a successful pilot, we’ll start approaching larger advertisers and investors. The end goal is to scale across as many college campuses as possible.

Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.

If you’re building a tech company, bring the development in-house by partnering with engineering co-founders. Their input and services are essential to success. When times get hard, remember that faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.

Why Tampa Bay?

Tampa is exploding in growth and offers a wide array of resources including mentors, investors, and customers. The community is embracing technology and Tampa is just a great place to live. Access to beaches and great weather never hurts!



Lessons Learned From An Early-Stage Tech Community


I was fresh out of my first year of graduate school when I applied to Embarc Collective a little over a year ago. Like many, remote learning left me craving community, especially after years of working closely with community issues alongside passionate people looking for a challenge and solutions. My desire for community-centered work is what originally drew me to the role of Member Experience Associate. Embarc Collective promised the opportunity to foster a vibrant and growing community, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would come to love every moment I got to spend with it.

Joining the Embarc Collective team was an intimidating idea to me. I didn’t think I knew much about tech and entrepreneurship, but I knew a thing or two about community and had a passion for people, the core building blocks of any startup.

Overall, the greatest (and most fun) lessons I’ve learned center around people, because that’s what we are at the end of the day. We carry our passions, emotions, experiences, mistakes we’ve made, and lessons we’ve learned with us everywhere we go. In my journey of growth with Embarc Collective, here are my takeaways:


Don't dim your sparkle

Your individual “sparkle” makes you unique and provides an incredible amount of value to your community. Don’t be scared to share it! Your sparkle lets you show up fully as your authentic self and is often reciprocated by the people around you. This allows you to provide a diverse perspective, and it helps those in your community hold you accountable for what makes you, you. I was incredibly lucky to find a team and community that—once they recognized my sparkle—doubled down on their commitment to my personal growth.


Take care of yourself

As you contribute to your community and support those around you, you need to take care of yourself. You can’t contribute and be fully present while running on empty. Like many, my passion causes me to get caught up in the “grind” mentality. This has gotten me into some sticky and unhealthy situations where I didn’t have the energy to show up as myself, let alone for myself. In moments like this, it’s important to lean on those around you and take a step back to look at the bigger picture. Those around you are more willing to support you than you think.


What do I say to the community that has given me the most over the past year?

Thank you from the very bottom of my heart! So many of you have shown me an extreme amount of kindness and care that I wasn’t expecting to receive at my first job out of college. You saw me, encouraged my “sparkle,” supported me through hard times, and took an interest in who I am as a person. You were open, vulnerable, and let me tag along for a small part of your journey. You’ve given me countless memories and made them worth holding on to for a lifetime.

From day one, Embarc Collective gave me everything I was looking for and more; a motivated community of thinkers, a team who cared about my personal growth, and countless memories shared.

I’ll say TTYL rather than goodbye. I’m hopeful that wherever our journeys take us, our paths will cross again soon. Know I’ll still be in your corner cheering you on. If you’re curious about my next adventure and want to stay in touch, follow along on Instagram.




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