Akron-Based, Female-Owned Komae Completes Fundraising Round

An Akron-based, self-described “female-founded tech startup” company says it has secured $500,000 in a “pre-seed investment round.”

It did it by turning to female investors in the area — 20 of whom ponied up the cash to back Komae Inc., which aims to develop new software for the sharing economy.

“We live in a time when the news is flooded with negative stories of sexual harassment and degradation of women. We are happy to share a story of women supporting women,” said Audrey Wallace, co-founder and CEO of Komae.

The all-female ad-hoc angel group contributed $100,000, or 20% of the round’s total investment.

“This is the second female-founded company in which the group has invested. … There are so many amazing female entrepreneurs in our region who can benefit from small amounts of pre-seed funding; who better to support these female entrepreneurs than other professional women?” said JumpStart co-founder and former chief investment officer Lynn-Ann Gries, who helped facilitate the group’s investment. JumpStart is a local nonprofit that works with entrepreneurs.

Komae was founded by Wallace and Amy Husted. The company describes them as “two millennial moms who were dealing with the child care struggles every parent faces.”

The two came up with an app, also called Komae, that allows parents to swap baby-sitting services using a points-based system. The app currently has more than 8,000 users, according to Komae.

Prior to the fundraising round, the two were relying on small investments and their winnings from pitch competitions to fund their work. Among their funders to date are Akron’s NEO Student Venture Fund, Cleveland-based FlashStarts, JumpStart, Elyria-based Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, and Akron’s Bit Factory.

“They were working to reach their $500,000 goal when they met Gries at the FlashStarts annual meeting. Gries pulled together her network for a private pitch event allowing the co-founders to meet potential investors,” the company said in announcing its new investments.

In Greek, Komae means “village.” For parents, it means free time. Komae is headquartered in Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub.

This story originally appeared on Crain’s Cleveland Business.