Ternary Developments Wins Sixth Startup Showdown
We’re pleased to announce that Ternary Developments is the winner of our sixth Startup Showdown pitch competition designed to showcase and fund early-stage tech companies.
It was our second, fully hybrid event, broadcast globally from the Venture135 conference in Charlotte, N.C.
Ternary, which securely integrates websites, Discord, and Stripe to manage online communities’ subscription memberships on a single platform, has received a $120,000 investment prize.
To learn more about Ternary and its experience in the pitch competition, we interviewed Lauren Marturano, the company’s COO:
Congratulations on winning our sixth Startup Showdown competition, Lauren. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
LM: I’m originally from the small town of Elkhorn, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a marketing degree. From there, I spent a little over five years at Microsoft and then two years at Salesforce and focused on enterprise software sales.
It was during my time at Salesforce that I first had the opportunity to work with Jason Lee, Ternary’s founder and CEO. He was on the engineering side at Salesforce, and I was on the sales side, but we found that we worked together very well. So, after he left Salesforce to try his hand at entrepreneurism—he’s successfully founded two companies so far—he called me up and asked me to partner with him to build and grow Ternary Developments.
Can you tell us more about the Ternary platform and what it does?
LM: Ternary means “composed of three.” It integrates your website, Stripe, and private Discord community to enable you to easily sell memberships directly on your website, collect payments, and securely and automatically authenticate or remove members within Discord in just seconds. Ternary turns unknown subscribers into known users, enabling enterprise communities to offer a more personalized experience while using Discord as a marketing tool.
Jason realized the need for Ternary when he started his first community, OptionsSwing, which teaches over 2,000 people each month about stock market investing and trading options. When he was trying to set up Discord for OptionsSwing, he realized there were a lot of point solutions that handled certain aspects of community subscription management, but there was no single platform that did everything.
So, while he originally developed the platform for OptionsSwing, when it hit $1.7 million in ARR, he quickly realized that this was something others could use to manage their communities and customers, and Ternary was born. There are currently 63 companies using our platform.
Is there another CRM aspect to Ternary?
LM: There are a huge number of enterprises that are moving to Discord, which is a VoIP, instant messaging, and digital-distribution platform. But Discord also has a level of anonymity to it where each member uses an avatar and username, so it can be harder to learn about your customers. For this reason, we’re further developing Ternary to help enterprises better understand who their subscribers are, what they most care about, and how they’re interacting within their communities. This will enable enterprises to serve those within their communities better and market to them more effectively.
How did Ternary find out about the Startup Showdown pitch competition?
LM: We were able to actually meet Panoramic at Venture Atlanta last month—we’ve known about them for a while and are big fans. They told us about Startup Showdown at the conference and encouraged us to apply, which we did.
What did you feel were the most beneficial aspects of Startup Showdown?
LM: Coming from the corporate world, I always had a big network of co-workers that provided a strong support system. Stepping out into the entrepreneurial world can be a little lonely and difficult in comparison. So, I think the most beneficial aspect of the competition for me was just being able to connect with other entrepreneurs in my area who are going through the same challenges of growing a business. While Ternary is technically based in Miami, we have a distributed work team—I’m based in Charlotte, so I represented us in the competition here.
The other big benefit is becoming part of the Panoramic family as a Startup Showdown winner. Ternary is very passionate about partnering with Panoramic due to its reputation and the fact that several of its team members have significant Discord experience.
What does Ternary plan to do with the investment prize?
LM: The capital will go toward fulfilling our plan to expand our leadership team in 2022. We intend to hire another developer as well as a sales and marketing specialist and the investment will help in funding those efforts.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who are considering applying to pitch at a future Startup Showdown?
LM: I’d say don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, fail fast and get back to business. I also like to say, “don’t be a know it all—be a learn it all.” I truly believe you can learn something useful from every single person you meet no matter where you are on your journey.
Be open to feedback and you’ll have a rewarding experience, even if you don’t end up the winner.
Thanks, Lauren, and congratulations again!
Startup Showdown is held monthly, with five finalists competing to win $120,000 investment prize. Apply to pitch at an upcoming Startup Showdown.