Brittany Alwerud is the 28 year old founder and CEO of her new venture, Handlr, and the owner of a small business called DogZenergy. At age 5 she had her first “startup” creating a chore chart for herself to get her parents to pay her every week. At age 12 she convinced a ceramic paint studio to let her paint for free by washing brushes and ended up working there for six years. She also sold avocados from her parents ranch on the side of the road at 16 and at 18 she sold seashell ornaments by the seashore (only one person bought one, her first failed startup). Brittany dabbled in making a line of leather dog collars and a collection of dog oil paintings, but decided that there was something else calling her name and it just so happened to be app development.
In college Brittany worked her butt off. At 19 with a full course load at UCSD in La Jolla, Brittany worked a restaurant job, worked at a tutoring center, modeled with Jet Set agency, and started her company called, DogZenergy. She started out walking her neighbors dogs for extra cash and it turned into walking a dog on every single street in La Jolla (literally). At one point, she was squeezing 12 dogs into a Toyota Camry and taking them to the dog park and was making $200/hour. Some days she would walk 25-30 in one day on her own. That’s when she decided to bring on employees, purchase a dog mobile and hired her first employee- her mom, Karen. From there, Brittany developed systems and management operations that made DogZenergy into a simple one-woman-show side gig to a full fledged business with 10 employees and 100% growth year after year.
Brittany and Karen have tried all kinds of ways to make more money. They opened a Dog Day Care Center right in the middle of La Jolla and Brittany invested every single cent of her life savings into it. They worked so hard to make it work. Brittany even bought a dog mascot costume and danced in it on the side of the road twirling a sign to bring in new customers. Unfortunately, the City came knocking after lots of noise complaints and she was forced to shut it down because it was “illegal”. So they brought on more employees, bought another dog mobile and decided to ramp up their dog walking services. Always looking to improve, grow and succeed, and never one to give up in failure, Brittany is constantly looking for ways to grow DogZenergy. Which is where Handlr comes into play.
Brittany, met Matt Brown her junior year of college when they were only 19 and 20. They’ve been together for 8.5 years and they got engaged a year and half ago on the beach in La Jolla with their two dogs running and playing during sunset. Matt is a surfer, snowboarder, mountain biker, and genius. He works for a private equity fund called HandsOn Ventures and travels the world making big deals. He is the most amazing fiancé. He’s always making her dreams come true, literally. Last Valentine’s Day, Brittany was up in Silicon Valley and came home to saddlebags packed with wine and a picnic and flowers. They went on a moonlit ride on their horses in the Santa Monica Mountains. He’s always doing the most thoughtful things, and most importantly he whole heartedly believes in Handlr and is putting every single cent of his life savings into Brittany’s big dream.
Unlike most other girls who dream of weddings and babies, at the moment, Brittany dreams of apps that make running a small business easier. Instead of spending money on a wedding they’ve decided to launch their new company Handlr, much to the dismay of their parents who really want grand babies. Brittany’s baby is Handlr and they have to make it successful in order to have a big wedding. They’re hoping to get married in 2015 if all goes well with launching Handlr. Maybe they’ll Kickstart their wedding if Handlr fails.
Brittany didn’t even know about “startup” culture or Silicon Beach until she started researching how to get her software developed for her business. Matt had to move to LA to work in an office in Silicon Beach and that’s when it all started. She decided it was a perfect time to develop the business management platform that she’s been dreaming of for the last 8 years. With her mom, Karen still running the day-to-day operations in La Jolla, Brittany is working full-time on making Handlr a reality- not just for DogZenergy, but for other small businesses that also need a simpler way to grow and scale their businesses.
If she’s not riding her horses, playing with her dogs on the beach, working, dabbling in yoga, playing tennis or going out with friends, Brittany is out networking. She goes to networking events almost every week in Santa Monica and is starting to learn about all of the key players- the investors and the founders. It’s quite entertaining. It’s also extremely annoying how she’s always one of the only girls. It’s a strange power struggle and show that’s put on in Silicon Beach. You either have money and you’re looking to throw it at someone, or you’re a startup founder begging for cash. It’s crazy how many people have such ludicrous ideas and how they don’t make any revenue whatsoever. It’s even crazier how a lot of these ideas end up getting valuations in the millions or billions of dollars. It’s a strange new world in Silicon Beach. One that Brittany is very happy to have stumbled upon.
Handlr is just a big idea that’s starting to become more and more real. Brittany dreams of the day when people stumble upon a big headache, like having no childcare in a pinch or no one to walk their dog while they’re stuck at work, and someone comes along and says, “Just handle it.” Brittany wants to connect business owners who want to grow and scale, with customers who need something handled right away. With modern mobile technology, getting things done simply and quickly is only a few taps away. Gone are the days of invoicing, chasing people for hard-earned cash, spending money on wasted advertising and marketing efforts, spending hours scheduling and playing phone tag with customers. The way we do business and handle our lives is changing. Handlr is making this happen. Of course this all unicorn farts, until we actually have a product that actually works. We’ll see! Join Brittany as she documents her journey into the Cloud.