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Hidden Gems: Meet Tara Nesbitt of Harmonee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Nesbitt.

Tara, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
The road has not been a traditional path, but I always had an idea of where I wanted to end up which has served as my own North Star on this journey.

The non-traditional path started when I went away to university following high school because that was the expected next step on the journey that is instilled in your head from a young age. My brief time at university only lasted two years and it was there the non-traditional path started. If I wasn’t going to go to school, my parents made it clear that I was going to get a job. I worked in retail sales for small local companies for a few years as a way to support myself and explore different opportunities.

I would then go on to join a creative agency which is where I was first exposed to the power of design and how design and business intersect to create meaningful outcomes for brands. During my time there, I was fortunate to have a mentor in the Founder/Creative Director, who guided me and exposed me to the larger design community. He gave me space to try and do things that sometimes did not fit into the role that I was hired to do, but those experiences provided so many valuable life lessons and great exposure. After almost six years under his mentorship, it was time to continue my professional growth.

This professional growth led me to join a new local model consulting firm in St. Louis and it was there that I was exposed to new ways of thinking and expanded my network into new circles of connections and corporations. Then the pandemic hit and after three and half years, I felt the need to continue the journey towards my North Star. I had never imagined leaving St. Louis, but in May 2020, I joined a San Francisco-based tech company with the understanding that I would eventually move west after the world opened back up. As we all know, the world is just starting to open up and I never made that move to San Francisco, but these past two years have afforded me the opportunity to learn so much about a fast-growth tech startup. Each of these professional milestones on the journey was a part of the bigger plan on my way to my North Star – starting my own company that would bring together my passion for creativity, business, and technology.

At the same time, I was joining that tech startup in San Francisco, a design friend who I had met through my work as Co-Chair of St. Louis Design Week, had reached out to catch up. I remember us bouncing ideas off each other about some of the projects he was working on at the time and me sharing my passion for investing and eventually one day starting my own business. It was in that conversation, he shared that he wanted my opinion on an idea that he was working through in his head. We spent three months meeting once a week to discuss the idea in more detail, dreaming about what could be possible with this idea and somewhere in there realizing that we had the blueprint for something special and unique to bring to the market. We then connected with our third co-founder, whose skillset was the perfect complement to ours and we were off to race as the founding team of Harmonee.

In the Spring of 2021, we decided to pitch our idea to be a part of the 2021 Arch Grants cohort. It was our acceptance into the cohort that helped us to further validate that what we were working towards had potential value. Fast forward six months and hundreds of hours spent with developers building our beta product, we are excited to have Harmonee out in the market in March.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the biggest challenges in starting Harmonee has been pulling in the appropriate expertise and knowledge as we are creating a new space to create funding for nonprofits. Fortunately, St. Louis is a community that comes together to help one another, it just takes asking for help. My immediate network of professionals has been clutch as we have had different roadblocks along the way in this journey. In addition, being a part of the Arch Grants family has afforded us access to critical business resources to help us navigate the unknowns of launching a startup.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Harmonee is a simple app bringing communities together around a common purpose. Relationships between businesses and consumers are currently failing to fulfill either’s most important motivations. Harmonee realigns the relationship around shared values by matching both sides to the nonprofits they have in common. In the app, a business posts a question to a specific group of people and pledges a donation to a nonprofit that the group supports. People answer the question, giving the business insight and easily supporting the nonprofit they care about. Nonprofits collect donations and in return, provide meaningful value to the community. In this cyclical model, businesses build strong relationships with their customers by listening well and sharing ownership. Nonprofits earn passive income and build deep support systems. People get to easily fund work they care about and help everyone come together to achieve their goals.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We are excited to work with businesses in St. Louis that are looking for a new way to connect with their audience. In addition, the biggest challenge facing nonprofits is funding, so we are looking to partner with local nonprofits to provide a new source of stable, passive income to help fund their mission. Also, we want to get all St. Louisans on the platform that wants to support businesses and nonprofits in an easy manner from their phone in their spare moments, because we know that spare moments add up to big change.

We will be launching our beta app with a small group of businesses and nonprofits in March, sign up here to join the Harmonee community today!

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