Tenney 110 Spotlight Series: Donal Warde, Entrepreneur in Residence

Delighted to speak about my experience at Tenney 110. A full copy of my interview, which was initially published on Medium (link).


Tenney 110 Spotlight Series: Donal Warde, Entrepreneur in Residence

Welcome to Tenney 110 Spotlight Series, where we uncover the extraordinary individuals shaping the future of innovation. Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Donal, a multi-talented entrepreneur with an international background and a profound passion for PropTech. Join us as we delve into his unique journey, his choice to build within Tenney 110, and the venture he’s creating — Barkably, the apartment marketplace for dog parents.

Tenney 110: Could you share the journey that led you to Tenney 110?

Donal: My journey has been quite a ride. It all began with my college experience in Ireland and then my move to France during my final years of college. After learning French and immersing myself in the culture, I stumbled upon an unexpected career path as a real estate agent. Those five years in France taught me valuable lessons, from mastering the art of selling to understanding the intricacies of the real estate industry.

Driven by a desire for growth, I pursued a Masters in Finance and ultimately found myself in New York City, working for a private equity real estate company. Over the course of nine years, I engrossed myself in finance, investments, and various aspects of the business. These experiences shaped my perspective on the importance of relationships, integrity, and long-term thinking.

Following my MBA at Columbia University, I ventured into PropTech, where I led a computer vision company for around 18 months before its successful sale. This endeavor taught me the importance of alignment among the various stakeholders, the criticality of a strong leadership team, and the immense value strategic investors can bring to a startup.

I then embarked on a fitness startup using computer vision, which faced its fair share of challenges. However, this experience reinforced the significance of building a capable team, leveraging domain expertise, and validating customer demand before diving headfirst into development.

Finally, in 2022, I found my way to Tenney. Venture studios caught my attention as an ideal place to build a startup. The resources surrounding me, the stability of cash flow, and the delegated authority provided a conducive environment for entrepreneurial success.

Tenney 110: What motivated you to choose Tenney 110 as the foundation for building what is now Barkably?

Donal: Several factors influenced my decision to build within Tenney 110. Firstly, the risk-return profile resonated with my entrepreneurial spirit. The abundance of resources available within the Tenney ecosystem meant I wouldn’t be embarking on this venture alone. Collaborating with like-minded individuals and accessing the expertise of the Tenney team has proven invaluable.

Moreover, Tenney’s focus on proptech perfectly aligned with my passion and expertise in the field. This alignment provided a strong foundation for Barkably’s growth. The availability of insurance company resources, including balance sheet capital, adds to the long-term potential of Barkably’s data and customer relationships. Founders, by nature, are ambitious and want to build everything yesterday. The structured process ensures that this energy is channeled into the most important activities for each stage of the venture cycle

Tenney 110: Could you provide a brief overview of what you’re building?

Donal: Barkably is an apartment marketplace for dog parents. Our platform tackles two significant challenges faced by dog parent renters. For dog parent renters, we address the questions of “where can I rent?” and “where should I rent?”. On the owner side, we focus on multifamily buildings across the country, helping owners navigate valuable customers down the sales funnel.

Our searchable database includes comprehensive information on rental properties, including pet restrictions, allowing dog owners to find suitable homes effortlessly. Additionally, we provide pet scores, offering insights into the dog-friendliness of various neighborhoods. By combining these features, we empower dog parent renters to make informed decisions and find their perfect homes.

Tenney 110: Reflecting on your time at Tenney 110, what has been the most beneficial aspect of building your startup within this environment? Has anything surprised you along the way?

Donal: The most beneficial aspects of building with Tenney 110 are the process, the team, the funding model, and the remote work opportunities. The structured process keeps me disciplined and on track, ensuring I make the most of my time and resources. Being able to handpick my team allows me to surround myself with talented individuals who share my vision and drive. The funding model provides stability and eliminates the need for time-consuming fundraising roadshows.

As for surprises, I must admit that Tenney’s vast operation and the sheer number of entrepreneurial-in-residence (EIR) projects, concepts, and funding opportunities continues to surprise me and everyone who hears about our work. Despite the magnitude of the operation, I’ve noticed that Tenney’s name recognition doesn’t match its influence and impact within the startup ecosystem. It’s a hidden gem that deserves more recognition.

Stay updated on all of Donal’s exciting endeavors by following his blog, where he shares insightful content and updates.

Interested in joining Tenney 110? We’re hiring for roles similar to Donal’s. Click here to begin your own Tenney 110 journey.

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