What’s in a Pitchfest Entrepreneur? Meet the Finalists
— Pace Match —
Behind every great idea is an inspired leader and a story—one that speaks of unique experiences, backgrounds, and paths. As Pitchfest 2018 nears, we’re diving in with our finalists to learn what drives them and what has shaped each of their journeys. This week, we spoke with Becky Jaimes, founder of Pace Match, to hear about her vision of generating new opportunities for women in the outdoors by connecting them with others who share their outdoor preferences and abilities.
Founder: Becky Jaimes
Company: Pace Match
Location: Marin Headlands, CA
What was the inspiration for starting your company, and how has it evolved?
Pace Match was a personal project built to help my friend who relocated to the San Francisco Bay area find runners that were fast enough to keep up with him. The platform aggregates data from fitness trackers and then uses an algorithm to help athletes find the ideal training partner. To date, almost 20,000 people from around the world have signed up for Pace Match. With help from the community, we expanded the platform from running to cycling and added features like the ability to organize group runs and rides.
Through Pitchfest, we’ve taken a closer look at our 20,000 users. One thing that stood out immediately was the gender imbalance among Pace Match users. We had way more men than women. Either women weren’t signing up for Pace Match, or they weren’t getting outside—or both. I coded Pace Match myself and was excited to share it with the other active women in my life, so that imbalance didn’t sit right with me. Using the groundwork of Pace Match we are developing a new platform, www.womensadventure.org, a more impactful version of Pace Match focused on getting more women outside. Structured as a nonprofit and built for women, by women, the new platform is scheduled to launch by the end of Pitchfest!
What is the mission and vision of your company? What does the future trajectory look like?
Our vision is an outdoors with more women. Our mission is to generate new opportunities for women in the outdoors and support those that are already leading the way. Right now, we are focused on growing the platform and generating more connections between women that share the same outdoor preferences and performance. In the future, we want to expand the platform outside of hiking and running into other activities and grow our geographical footprint to cover the entire United States.
Why did you apply for Pitchfest, and what are you hoping to get out of your experience?
Our current focus is growth, so we’ve been researching new markets and areas of opportunity. Pitchfest is an excellent opportunity to focus, and most importantly, to get invaluable mentorship, guidance, and connections from top leaders in the community while networking with other fantastic founders.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned, thus far, in founding your company?
I learned quickly to focus on building products and features that solve a problem. Even though designing and developing software is hard, the real challenge is to get it into people’s hands and also get them to use it.
But the most important lesson I’ve learned is to keep a sound board of directors and advisors, something I also do on a personal level outside of work.
What did you not see coming, and how did you respond?
In the past few months, due to privacy concerns, social networks tightened access to their user’s data by shutting down a lot of access points that were previously available through their APIs. This was a big deal for Pace Match because the tool was dependent on systematically accessing data from those third parties. We are thankful this happened early and before we built a significant infrastructure on a resource that was out of our control. The most exciting part was that this limitation forced us to look deeper into the market, our product, and user base and inspired us to build a more impactful version of Pace Match, one that could be used to get more women in the outdoors.
What’s your superpower? Multitasking. I have mastered the ability to listen to two different conversations at the same time.
Outdoor adventure of choice for daily release? Surfing and Running.
What book would you recommend? Originals by Adam Grant.
Your number one outdoor hack? Before getting out of my wetsuit, I spray a little oil in my ankles. It helps the suit glide off really easy.
One word that you think of when we say outdoors? Solace.
Pitchfest 2018 will commence on July 22 in Denver, CO at the Silverton Ballroom, Embassy Suites. Register here.
Becky is a mathematician, an ultramarathoner, and a US Air Force Veteran. She works at Heroku, a Salesforce company, managing the launch of data tools used by millions of software developers. Becky loves to travel and spends her spare time climbing big mountains and surfing small waves. She is also a self-taught computer programmer, a future billionaire, and a serial (failed) entrepreneur; aside from Pace Match, some of her favorite personal projects are Women’s Adventure Media, My Stock Registry, and bioDOGradable. Originally from Colombia, Becky lives across the street from the Golden Gate National Recreation area with her two children, husband, and dog, Al Pacino.