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Seattle startup CEO coins “authentech” to gain a new community-focused business model

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Own Trails co-founders Kt McBratney (left) and Rebekah Bastian. Bastian has proposed a new term to capture a new technology business model called authenticc. (Own Trails photo)

The world of technology loves innovation and creative thinking. Perhaps the exception is when it comes to financing.

When Rebekah Bastian was pitching to funders in recent months, she realized that Seattle-based startups weren’t well suited to the accepted technology business model. OwnTrail is a new platform that allows women to share their careers and personal journeys of life and provide support and connections to each other. None of the funding forms that asked her to check the box describing her venture were a good match.

So Bastian, a former Zillow executive and pun lover, came up with a solution. She proposed a new category for joining the -tech set (edtech, fintech, healthtech, etc.) and called it authentictech. Bastian shared his ideas on Twitter last month and pitched Authentic in a post to Forbes after a wave of positive reactions.

Authentech came out not because the world needs a different technical business model, but because it needs a comprehensive and genuine connection to move forward in this turbulent decade. It’s time for a new way of doing business that is human-centric and turns customers from products to members of the community.

5 / Name this new category #AuthenTech and build @OwnTrail WITH (non-targeted) in an exciting and real women’s community!

Rebekah Bastian (@rebekah_bastian) December 11, 2020

Bastian predicted that many new companies would emerge that are best described by her coined word, and she compiled a list of existing businesses that have adopted the term. They include Pacific Northwest ventures such as Fresh Chalk, a business and product recommendation site. Tribute, mentorship platform. Interview preparation platform WholeStory; Supporti, goal setting app. Intentionalist, a site for finding minority-led companies. Like any other company inside or outside the region.

Classifying companies as authentech creates useful lenses for consumers looking for an alternative to the online status quo, said Liz Pearce, CEO and co-founder of Fresh Chalk.

Authentech overlaps with corporate descriptors such as mission driven and social impact. But the new term captures categories that haven’t been explained yet, Bastian said. It focuses on building communities to build businesses, and those communities help drive which services and products are offered. Authentech companies are still profitable, but they avoid using their customers to make money.

The idea resonates with Naimeesha Murthy, a New York City metropolitan entrepreneur and founder of Products by Women, a platform that supports women working in the technology industry with more than 8,000 members.

Traditionally, companies have seen them build first and later focus on customer acquisition. But it’s probably more effective to first show value, intent, and impact, and then move to the building, Mercy said. This basically means that you have a loyal customer base, even before you define your final product or service.

From left to right: Liz Pearce, Naimeesha Murthy, and John Roach are the big companies they say match the new description of a tech company called authentic.

Dennis Joyce, investment director of the Tacoma Venture Fund, agreed that it can be difficult for start-ups adopting new approaches in uncharted territory to claim to be funders.

Investors are keen on innovation and new approaches, but are also looking for success stories from related ventures to build confidence. These challenges can become more and more common as we pursue the diversity of gender, race, and sexual orientation of funder-backed startup founders.

As Joyce said, as we dive deeper into the more comprehensive investment role, we will find more and more companies that do not follow the industry’s traditional norms. There is excitement and a chance.

More and more companies will not follow the traditional norms of the industry.

Not everyone involved in a mission-led venture is involved. LuniLubes, a longtime leader in the Seattle area of ​​impact investing, is concerned about this concept.

Thank you for how authentech’s terminology seeks to convey the importance of ethical behavior by technology companies. [but] I don’t know why the world is still needed-another word to explain what good corporate baseline behavior should be, Rubes said.

Despite opposition to simple classification, some self-proclaimed authentic startups are funded. OwnTrail raised $ 250,000 in August and Fresh Chalk announced that it has landed a $ 2 million seed round in 2019. Tribute also raised capital last year.

Anyone can join the authenticentech database that currently exists as a spreadsheet. Bastian hopes that organic moves to establish new technology categories will help space companies find each other and share business strategies and success stories that can invigorate the sector. I will.

John Roach, CEO and co-founder of Whole Story, a social purpose company, said he was excited about authentictech as a business category. A platform based in Pasco, WA, helps people prepare for job interviews and learn how to share their soft skills.

He said it would create identities that aspiring businesses could match and would put them in a community with companies that match other values ​​that would lead to a shift to a true stakeholder economy. ..

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