UNF alumni close $1.5M seed round for tech startup

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Yac co-founders Jordan Walker and Hunter McKinley

February 6, 2020

(Courtesy: Jacksonville Business Journal)

The tech startup Yac, co-founded by University of North Florida alumni Jordan Walker and Hunter McKinley, has closed a $1.5 million seed round. The company is based in Orlando, though two of its 10 employees work from Jacksonville.

The pair, who met at UNF, previously discussed the genesis of Yac, a voice collaboration tool somewhere between a conference call and a walkie-talkie, in an interview with the Business Journal.

The $1.5 million round was led by San Antonio-based investment firm Active Capital. Betaworks Ventures, a venture capital firm that has invested in Tumblr, Giphy, Kickstarter and others, also invested in the round. Betaworks previously backed Anchor and Gimlet Media, which were acquired by Spotify for $340 million last year.

“Startups are booming outside of the valley,” Yac CEO and co-founder Justin Mitchell said in a statement. “States such as Texas and Florida are leading the way with many companies building towards the future of work.” says CEO and Cofounder Justin Mitchell, “We couldn’t be happier to have top tier investors from all over the US participate in our round.”

The investors were impressed with Yac’s asynchronous audio strategy, in which users can send voice memos rather than schedule conference calls. Yac has lauded this method of workplace communication as a faster, more easily understood way to communicate since speakers can convey tone and keep updates more conversational.

​“The future of meetings will be asynchronous, in your ears, and hands free,” Active Capital CEO Pat Matthews said in a statement. “Just look at any city and you’ll see people are no longer working in cubicles, they’re on the move, in coffee shops, and multitasking. That’s the power of building for remote first instead of office workers.”

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