The co-founder and first CEO of EvoApp, a fledgling business software company that burned brightly but then flamed out, is back in the startup business.
Joe Davy, 23, has been quietly working for the past few months as CEO of BuyStand, a Durham company whose brash goal is to revolutionize online shopping.
“I was captivated by the idea that there hasn’t been a transformative change in e-commerce since e-commerce was invented,” said Davy.
BuyStand, which is initially focusing on the sporting-goods market, has about a dozen employees and is working to enable consumers to enjoy “make-an-offer shopping.” That involves matching consumers who say they’re willing to pay a specified price for, say, a certain model of skis, with retailers who stock that model. The first retailer who accepts the offer gets the sale.
BuyStand already has signed up more than 100 retailers to participate, said Davy, but the company isn’t at liberty to say who they are.
“We have many heavy hitters out there,” said Bill Brown, co-founder and principal of 8 Rivers Capital, a technology commercialization firm. “We have to defer to them before we can use their name.”
Durham-based 8 Rivers has invested an undisclosed amount in BuyStand, which was conceived by one of its principals – Ted Kraus – who also acted as the company’s first CEO.
Brown has known Davy for a couple of years and recruited him to be CEO. He said that EvoApp’s demise prompted him to “do my homework” before offering Davy the job, but that ended up convincing him that Davy was the right choice.
“He’s an excellent person for bringing technology together and inspiring people,” Brown said. “He’s a fantastic leader.”
EvoApp attracted considerable attention locally for raising money from a blue-chip group of investors that included the likes of Tom Darden, founder and CEO of investment firm Cherokee; Timothy Buckley, former chief operating officer at Red Hat; and Christy Shaffer, former CEO of Inspire Pharmaceuticals. It also was considered a coup when EvoApp attracted serial entrepreneur Kip Frey, who replaced Davy as CEO.
But in July, EvoApp shut down its operations and laid off its 16 employees. Frey said at the time that the three-year-old company’s customer base was eroding because its technology was outflanked by much larger competitors.
EvoApp was founded by Davy and Alexey Melnichenko, alumni of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics in Durham. Davy said that Melnichenko also has joined BuyStand – he’s working on the software engineering team.
Davy, who has a proven he can get funding from outside investors, may soon be putting that talent to work.