From CodeLaunch to $20M Exit: ProsRent’s Startup Funding Journey 

In the world of startups, the journey from a humble beginning to a lucrative exit is often a winding path fraught with obstacles and challenges. That journey is often made possible through strategic startup funding, a crucial aspect of any venture’s growth and success. This story of such triumph is embodied in the rise of ProsRent, a unique startup that grew from its initial presentation on the CodeLaunch IV stage in 2016 to a $20M exit in 2023. 

During a recent We Code, You Launch podcast episode, CodeLaunch Founder, Jason W. Taylor, sat down with Nick Powell, CEO, and Pearson Brock, CRO, of ProsRent to discuss their startup’s journey from CodeLaunch to exit. Check out Episode 42 of We Code, You Launch in its entirety using the inline player below. 

The Crucial Role of CodeLaunch in Startup Funding 

CodeLaunch Founder Jason W. Taylor with ProsRent Founder John Clark at the 2016 CodeLaunch competition.

In 2016, ProsRent was an embryonic-stage startup with a vision of becoming the ‘Airbnb’ for heavy equipment rentals in the commercial construction industry. At the time, “everything” was managed through Google Sheets, which was a daunting and time-consuming process for their team. In order to scale their venture, the ProsRent stakeholders knew they needed a more efficient solution and they received their first taste of seed funding through the support of CodeLaunch – a significant milestone that would set the trajectory for the success of ProsRent. 

ProsRent CEO, Nick Powell, credits a substantial part of the company’s startup funding journey to their CodeLaunch experience. ProsRent Founder, John Clark, introduced Powell to the transformative power of startup competitions like CodeLaunch in providing initial funding for early-stage ventures. 

Ironically, the decision to apply for CodeLaunch was not initially on their radar. In fact, 30 days prior to making their pitch, ProsRent was still just an idea. Clark had called Taylor to discuss possible ideas for website development when the topic of entering CodeLaunch was brought up. 

“Had it not been for CodeLaunch, ProsRent would simply not exist,” said Clark. He views his experience as ‘one huge, valuable focus group,’ and CodeLaunch provided ProsRent with the exposure and feedback they needed to validate that their concept fulfilled a real need in the marketplace.  

ProsRent’s strong business model, pitch deck, and relentless involvement propelled them into the Finalists round of the competition, where they were paired with a professional software development team to build out an MVP of their solution. You can read more about ProsRent’s CodeLaunch experience here

The CodeLaunch event not only served as a springboard for ProsRent’s success but also allowed the team to redefine their product roadmap. CodeLaunch, operating as a startup incubator, contributed to the initial phases of building the complex technology ProsRent needed to escalate their business model. 

Understanding the Need for Pivot: A Crucial Lesson in Startup Funding

The ProsRent team soon discovered the necessity for pivots in their startup journey. The original plan was to integrate with other companies for rapid product delivery. However, the team quickly realized that these companies were not open to sharing information, a hurdle many startups face when seeking funding. 

In response to this challenge, ProsRent adapted in 2019, opting to build the tech themselves. This pivot was not only a strategic decision but also a critical component of their startup funding journey, as it demonstrated to investors their capability to adapt and innovate in the face of obstacles. 

In the words of Pearson Brock, CRO of ProsRent, “We held each other accountable and came as a team to launch new ideas that became solutions for our client base.” This mentality not only served to keep the team cohesive but also appealed to potential investors, who are always on the lookout for resilient teams when considering offering funding to startups. 

Decoding the Complex Dance of Startup Fundraising

Fundraising is a crucial part of securing startup funding, and for ProsRent, this was no different. The team had to navigate the complex process of attracting investors. By 2021, ProsRent realized they needed to identify strategic investors to align with their vision and growth plans. 

“Fundraising is about more than just seeking funds. It involves educating investors about your company, its ROI, and the timeline of your startup. Having a clear structure for investor meetings is key,” advises Nick Powell. Powell also cautions startups against giving away too much equity to investors early on, a valuable lesson for any startup on the lookout for funding. 

Acquisition: The Ultimate Startup Funding Milestone

As ProsRent’s journey evolved, so did its competition. A major player in the market, Big Rentz, was always a large competitor. However, in a strategic turn of events, the ProsRent board identified a merger/acquisition scenario with Big Rentz as a viable strategy for growth. 

The acquisition process began in May 2022 and was structured to retain and build upon the ProsRent book of business. The acquisition, being a significant milestone in the startup funding journey, promised the stakeholders at ProsRent a return of 3x-5x their original investment. 

Giving Back to the Startup Community

Despite their remarkable growth, ProsRent has remained loyal to its roots. They have continued to support CodeLaunch over the years, recognizing the integral role it played in their journey.  

ProsRent regularly sets up a booth at CodeLaunch expos, contributing to the community that once served as their startup funding lifeline. 

In conclusion, the story of ProsRent is a testament to the power of strategic startup funding. Their journey from the CodeLaunch stage to a $20M exit serves as a beacon of hope and a roadmap to success for budding startups around the globe. 

Do you have a vision for a startup like ProsRent? CodeLaunch is heading to Guadalajara, Mexico in August, and applications are now open! Don’t miss the deadline on June 16th. Apply here for your chance to kickstart your own startup funding journey. 


Next Startup Event: CODELAUNCH CANADA (AUGUST 28TH, 2024)