TiE Tampa Bay Angels Help Elevate Start-up To Global Heights

Tampa, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2016) – Four years ago when he traveled frequently for work, Tomas Diaz’s wallet was frequently stuffed with something technology hadn’t touched yet—paper receipts. In that pile of paper, Diaz saw not just opportunity, but a way to modernize a prosaic, everyday tool. “I knew that data was valuable,” he says. “If we could digitize it, we could help market and capture more information.”

Today, his Orlando-based company, flexReceipts, has 40 major retail clients and is in 10,000 stores nationwide. The company uses a smart email receipts platform to identify and engage with customers with coupons, recommendations and personalized messages.

“You shop and you go home; that’s the last touch-point between customer and store,” says Diaz. “With flexReceipts, the retailer has another opportunity to communicate with you. You can continue that conversation with the client.”

Jumping into entrepreneurship with both feet isn’t for everyone, but it worked for Diaz, who had both the confidence in his idea and savings to leverage. “If you’re going to do something entrepreneurial, go for it all in. Focus on it and go at it with everything you have.”

Laser focus and seed money aside, Diaz had another advantage: his involvement with the angel investor group TiE Tampa Angel Forum.

“TiE was crucial,” says Diaz. “They came on early and were instrumental with funding as well as advice and mentorship.”

As part of the group’s mission to help new entrepreneurs, Diaz was paired with a mentor, an experienced investor and serial entrepreneur who chatted monthly with Diaz to help him navigate issues such as hiring and firing, business strategy, funding and marketing. Diaz said that experience was invaluable to his rapid growth. During that time and subsequent rounds of funding, including $2.5 million from an Austin firm this past summer, flexReceipts is looking at hiring to add to its 10-person team and capture an even larger slice of the market.

“A simple idea well executed can do wonders,” says Diaz.

“TiE Tampa Bay takes great pride in helping and walking alongside game-changing founders in Florida during their entrepreneurial journey, bringing TiE.org’s global network along,” says Ramesh Sambasivan, President of TiE Tampa Bay, “while TiE Tampa Angel Forum serves as their pit-crew fueling them with smart early-stage capital.”

Pairing up early with an experienced mentor with connections could be the ticket to leapfrogging from brilliant idea to successful start-up, and, vice versa, jumping in early can be key to reaping the largest rewards as an investor. The confluence of both is coming up: the next TiEcon Florida 2016, to be held Oct. 15 at the Embassy Suites USF, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa. Look out for keynote “super entrepreneurs” and several discussion panels featuring Tampa Bay entrepreneurs and investors. The all-day conference ends with an evening of entertainment, and dinner — Register at tieconfl.com.

TiE Tampa Bay, headquartered at 2410 Northside Dr., Clearwater, FL 33761, USA, is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization, founded in September 2012 to foster entrepreneurship in Florida through mentoring, networking and education. TiE Tampa Bay’s leadership is comprised of accomplished volunteers with a successful track record in entrepreneurship and an eagerness to pay it forward. TiE Tampa Bay is part of the global TiE.org group, the largest volunteer-led not-for profit entrepreneurship organization in the world. TiE Tampa Angels is an informal group of Charter Members of TiE Tampa Bay who are active as angel investors, providing smart and strategic early-stage startup capital. Learn more at tampa.tie.org.

flexReceipts, the leading enhanced e-receipts solution, offers retailers a post-sale opportunity to communicate with their customers. flexReceipts’ enriched receipts build customer loyalty and drive sales, while allowing retailers to monitor spending habits and shopping trends. The company’s patented software allows retailers to add social media links, videos and customized offers to digital receipts. Learn more at www.flexreceipts.com.

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