Party planning firm launches second capital raise

Occasion Genius is using some of the raised funds to offer additional services on its website. (Courtesy Occasion Genius)

OccasionGenius is using some of the raised funds to offer additional services on its website. (Courtesy OccasionGenius)

A Richmond party planning startup is finding more reasons to do some celebrating of its own.

OccasionGenius kicked off its second capital raise Monday with initial pledges totaling $250,000 from seven investors.

The campaign will continue for 90 days with no set fundraising target, said founder and CEO Nathan Marcus. The initial $250,000 is being raised as convertible notes – short-term loans in which investors receive equity in the company.

One of the seven investors is Arnold Kim, the locally based founder and editorial director of online Apple forum MacRumors. Marcus said the six other investors asked to remain anonymous.

Marcus said the money will help expand operations into other cities, as well as the company’s web-based offerings. The company expanded to Charlotte, North Carolina, last year, aided by an initial capital raise of $150,000, and Marcus said he’s preparing to operate in Raleigh, as well as Nashville, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas.

“Our goal is to be a national marketplace as soon as possible. We’re shooting to be in 10 markets at a minimum by the end of the year,” Marcus said.

Nathan Marcus launched the OccasionGenius website (formerly PartyRVA) in August 2014.

Nathan Marcus founded OccasionGenius (formerly PartyRVA) in January 2015.

Formerly known as PartyRVA, OccasionGenius is an online party planning platform that connects event planners with businesses that host or supply them.

In addition to last year’s initial raise, the 2-year-old company picked up $20,000 from local business accelerator Lighthouse Labs and $10,000 after co-winning ChamberRVA’s i.e. Startup Competition in 2015.

In its first year, OccasionGenius had profits over $58,000, Marcus said. He declined to disclose financials for 2016.

Marcus said the new money also will help add options for businesses that use OccasionGenius’s site. The company lists businesses that offer activities or event spaces, but Marcus said it’s adding different business categories, such as food trucks, catering and transportation.

Marcus said it’s likely he’ll double the full-time staff from four to eight after the fundraising campaign. Though it’s expanding to other markets, Marcus said the company won’t add offices to them.

It operates out of The Annex, a business incubator at 27 N. 17th St. It hosts its website through Ameronix, a local web development firm.

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