The Story Exchange, Pam Cooper, BoostervilleYour Name: Pam Cooper

Business Name: Boosterville, a mobile payment and customer loyalty platform

Type of Business: High Tech/Social Enterprise

Business Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Twitter   @boosterville

Reason for starting
My husband is a world-class software engineer/CTO and I’ve been a business owner and civic leader for 20+ years. When we got married 6 years ago, we wanted to find a way to blend our skillsets and work together, so we could spend every moment of our lives together. I have 20 years of volunteer school fundraising; I kept coming home to him saying “there has to be a way to apply technology to school fundraising.” We did some market research and found it’s a $5B/year business, and one in which local community businesses are completely left out.

How do you define success?
We will be successful when we have replaced every company selling crappy wrapping paper and stale nuts with Boosterville — applying technology to the real-world problem of raising money for schools.

Biggest Success
In late January 2013, we were accepted into the Seed Hatchery startup accelerator in Memphis. With 2 weeks’ notice, we found a furnished loft in Memphis, got a pet sitter to move in to our Indianapolis home, and reported for boot camp. It has been a wonderful ride spending all our time together working on our startup baby. We share the focus and vision to think big, and envision a day when our mobile payment platform will replace the Visa/MC/Discover/AmEx monster with funds being raised for schools.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our biggest challenge is bootstrapping until we have revenue. We sold my company in July of 2012 to be prepared with a nest egg to reinvest into our new venture, and to fund our move. At our age, and with 4 kids, a mortgage, and aging parents to look in on, we aren’t quite as footloose as we might have been in our 20’s. But our last child went off to college in August, and we are thrilled to have to opportunity to pursue our dream together — building Boosterville.

Who is your most important role model?
All the women in my family are amazing — literally trail blazers, like my pioneer great-grandmother who moved her young family all over the country chasing dreams. Or my mother, who started our HS’s first softball team so my sister and I could compete, and went on to be one of the first women in the Illinois HS softball coaches’ Hall of Fame. Or my sister, who gave up her teaching career for her most important student — her son Ben, who was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident at age 19.