The Verge team is out in Austin for SXSW and we’re getting excited for the founders panel that we will be covering this Sunday at App Sumo HQ. The panel was hand-selected by a friend of mine, Espree Devora, who has a knack for connecting people and getting things done.

She’s an inspiring person and a go-to for business insights and perspective. Check out what she shared in this recent interview we did:

What do you do?

Espree DevoraMy company Save Business Time is the AAA of Small Business Software. For $135 a year you get a SBT Gold Card that grants you access to exclusive discounts on the best business tools. As a small business owner we only have so many hours in a day and not having enough time can literally take the air right out of our tires, derailing our journey down the road to financial success.  SBT gives us the tools we need to get back on track. We are 100% word of mouth. I wanted to create an offer people were so excited to share they’d run to mountain tops to get the word out.

What excites you?

I get an adrenaline rush from seeing my fellow entrepreneurs succeed. Just for the joy of it I spend a lot of time connecting people who would mutually benefit knowing one another. I can’t begin to express how incredible it feels when a connection I make ends up making someone 100s of 1000s of dollars or other huge gains.  It’s incredibly rewarding. May sound silly, but it feels like I am making a small difference this this world.

You decided to start your own company instead of going to work for someone else. What tipped the scale?

I was born an entrepreneur so it was never a thought to “get a job”. That being said in my journey to be a business owner I’ve been… a yacht stewardess, dish washer at Johnny Rockets, graveyard waitress and a ton of other random jobs. But they were all just stepping stones in order to become a business owner full time.

What is it like being a female leader in what is often perceived as a male-dominated industry?

I LOVE IT. I think it gives me an advantage because being a female in technology I stand out.  When I attend a Ruby on Rails meet up, internet mastermind group or any other “nerd fest” they always are seriously confused when a spunky California beach girl with gems on her face walks through the door ready to take action online.

How do you connect with the people who can really help you build your business?

I ask.  It’s that simple. When I see someone who can benefit me I ask for their help  and then I also make sure to look for a way I can benefit them in return for their time.


This year during SXSW a bunch of successful entrepreneurs got together to produce an unofficial panel called “The Most Important Panel You’ll Ever Attend: How to Get Your First 100 Paying Customers”

Panelists include the founders of Mixergy, AppSumo, Lujure, and Liam Martin (interviewed in the post above). If you’re going to be at SXSW, I highly recommend getting in on this panel (no badge required!)

If you’re not going to be in Austin this weekend, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our Verge media team will be there to livestream all the action for you, simply sign up here and we’ll send you the details for the interactive livestream.

How do you connect at conferences like SXSW?