Featured Founder: JD Leclair of Skegaroo
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 JD Leclair of Skedgaroo, a gig economy, marketplace app that allows service providers and their clients to better communicate and book available time slots.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
I’ve been working in sales and sales management roles for technology startups for the majority of my career. The idea for Skedgaroo hit me many years ago and I dreamed of making it a reality while working on the dreams of others.
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
Skedgaroo is a platform that allows service providers and clients of any kind to easily share and book appointments for jobs, with a unique feature called Make Me Work. Make Me Work is essentially an auction feature for time slots. A client or service provider can push notify their roster of contacts that they are looking to fill a particular time slot for a service, and their contacts can accept the booking from there. I truly believe we have found a technology gap in the market. I’ve watched service providers and their clients struggle to communicate effectively, with loads of disparate scheduling methods, many across different verticals, leveraging highly iterative and manual processes to schedule services. In our own lives in the Leclair household, we have hair stylists, personal trainers, babysitters, manicurists, pedicurists, and others with whom we need to communicate, book and pay regularly. Skedgaroo allows us to do that easily and helps our service providers manage their businesses more effectively, especially those that are independent contractors. All of this gets me excited to go to work. We can help address a large problem with which entrepreneurs are struggling, helping them to work more effectively and ultimately earn more money. Watching the look on a user's face change as they register the value of what we’ll be able to do for their day-to-day engagements is priceless and keeps us motivated.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Where to start? There are new challenges every day, and every one of them can feel insurmountable. I guess the biggest early challenge was learning that no one cares about your idea, least of all the investor community. I knew this from years in the startup world including a prior business I launched when I was much younger, but I didn’t understand it as fully as I did once I started pitching Skedgaroo.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We have a fine collection of service providers and clients lined up to become early adopters. We’ll be driving hard to onboard our first one hundred customers in the months following our first release, generating the revenue that should attract a solid investment partner.
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.
You’ll have to build and prove your concept in the market. Get those early customers and show some revenue. From there, you have a real shot at making it happen.
Why Tampa Bay?
The Tampa Bay Area is the nation’s best-kept secret, or at least it once was. (I think the secret is out now!) I am here by dumb luck having moved from Colorado for a technology startup job and to be closer to family. For my first two and a half years here, I wanted to move back every single day. One day, I suddenly "got it" about Florida and finally connected with the area. I’m so glad I kept at it and didn't move away. Tampa is a wonderful place to live and do business. It’s difficult to imagine living anywhere else.