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Koalafi Announces Winner of 2nd Annual Start-up Competition

June 5, 2023

2 min read

Koalafi congratulates Ann Marie Guzzi, Director of Product Management, on winning its 2nd-annual start-up competition. Her company will provide fractional operations to tech start-ups, from business set-up all the way through helping them bring on their first full-time operational hire. As a result, start-ups will be able to focus on building their vision, not their back office.

One of Koalafi’s goals is to be a company where top talent goes to experience the most valuable professional growth experience of their lives. For those on our team who are interested in starting their own company, this means getting exposure to all facets of Koalafi’s business and observing first-hand how a company navigates rapid growth and new challenges. Alongside observing internal growth, Koalafi also brings in monthly entrepreneurial-minded speakers, including founders and investors, to share their stories.

Last year, Koalafi launched a new program to create a springboard for employees to go out on their own - the Koalafi Start-Up Competition. The winner of this competition gets 3 months to incubate their business as a Koalafi employee, allowing them to refine their business plan while still having access to all of Koalafi’s resources and the security of a salary.

“I’ve really been building things my whole life,” Ann Marie shares, “from a lemonade stand outside my childhood home, to an apparel business in college, to building out Koalafi’s Home Improvement vertical and our Growth team. I’m excited to explore building something new and am grateful for the opportunity to get started with Koalafi’s support.”

Last year’s winner, Eduoard Asmar, saw enough promise in his idea over the three months that he left Koalafi to focus on his new company full-time. His company, Hansa, helps small businesses take control of their data and connects them with financial institutions that can best serve them.

“I had an incredible experience starting my business as part of the Koalafi start-up competition.” Edouard tells us, “The feedback and support I received during those first three months helped me take Hansa from a business plan to something real enough to feel confident about pursuing full time.”

Hansa recently raised a pre-seed round, has five full-time employees, launched in beta with hundreds of small business owners, and is partnered with several local small business organizations. You can learn more at Hansa.

If you’re interested in working in an entrepreneurial environment, we’re hiring! See open positions at Koalafi Careers.

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Koalafi offers Lease-To-Own and Lending solutions. Loans issued by The Bank of Missouri, serviced by Koalafi