Meet the founder playing matchmaker with vendors and venues

After leaving a career in the military, Air Force veteran April Caldwelldove into the world of small business with the launch of his own gourmet popcorn business.

Part of the recipe for making such a business work, of course, is showing up to the right customers. “Being a home popcorn [company], I fell into cottage food laws… which meant I couldn’t sell my popcorn on store shelves and I couldn’t ship it if someone bought it online. So I was very limited in the types of places and things I could do to sell popcorn. It really left me like the options of farmers markets and local events,” Caldwell told Hypepotamus.

She quickly jumped into the events circuit and tried to learn from other salespeople where the next opportunity to settle would be.

“I was talking to the vendors next to me and asking them: what’s the next cool event? Where How can I register? And they sort of squinted at me because it didn’t exist. You just have to know the right people…you have to figure it out and make a living by being in the system long enough. And I thought that was going to break me as a small business owner.

Small traders and artisans not only have to create their products; they need to find locations with good foot traffic and the right potential customers. Caldwell took matters into her own hands and started asking breweries and cider houses if she could set up a table outside (because who doesn’t love a good beer with popcorn?!).

“I thought there had to be a matchmaking system for salespeople to find their ideal customers, no matter what you’re selling, whether it’s popcorn or jewelry or beauty products. ”

Such a system did not exist, so Caldwell decided to bring it to life.

The result was FayVena startup idea born in Austin but scaled in Tampa, where Caldwell now lives.

The fayVen website serves as a two-sided marketplace for vendors looking for space and places to host. Vendors or artisans sign up and locations create events that those vendors can apply to attend. In an Airbnb-like model, fayVen ultimately facilitates the rental of temporary commercial space. The goal is to streamline the entire event process, from finding space to securing payment.

The plan is to fully launch the site in April, Caldwell said.

The platform can also help vendors enter new geographies, test new site concepts, or develop co-branding opportunities. “It’s also very helpful in the military community,” Caldwell added. “We have a lot of people who are married to servicemen and they have to move with the serviceman. So if they own a business, they want to go out and meet people in person in the [new] community, and we want to make it easier for those people.

Although seeded to date, Caldwell has recently made her way into the Florida startup competition circuit. She’s also plugged into Tampa’s tech scene to help grow the tech side of the market.

She said entrepreneurship programs at Hillsborough Community College, Embarc Collective, Tampa Bay Wave, Florida Polytechnic, Florida Gulf Coast University and other organizations for military veteran founders have been instrumental in the company to date.

The team is focused on growth in Central Florida, with plans nationwide. “Our request right now is if you are an event planner or own a venue and want to rent out either a corner of your store… or the sidewalk in front of your store, or even if you have parking for a vendor pop-up event… we want you to sign up.

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