Re-post from Buffalo Business First
Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant may have seemed like an unlikely match for Buffalo. And it may have seemed like the trajectory of their company, Squire Technologies, would succumb to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the duo continues to make an important mark in Western New York – most recently as the first Buffalo-based entrepreneurs onboarded through the Endeavor Western York onto the Endeavor Global network.
They will gain access to the international program’s markets, mentors, customers and funding opportunities.
But more importantly, from the perspective of the Buffalo community, is that Squire Technologies remains a high-growth startup with deepening roots here.
“We’re the first ones in our family lines creating generational wealth through entrepreneurship,” LaRon said. “To the extent that we do that and help others do that, and Endeavor can be a vehicle to empower us to do that more, that’s something I want to be a part of.”
Added Salvant: “Not many people who reach this level are Black. We can serve as a lighthouse for other entrepreneurs who are thinking about starting companies but couldn’t point to any success stories. I’m fully aware of that responsibility we have.”
Squire Technologies, which offers a software suite to help independent barber shops manage their business, came to Buffalo in 2018 after winning $650,000 in the 43North competition. Buffalo remains its biggest office, though Squire also has employee clusters in New York City and San Francisco. LaRon and Salvant maintain residences here but live full-time in other cities.
Despite challenges barbershops face during the pandemic, the company closed on $34 million in venture capital this summer, by far the biggest round this year by a local tech company.
Endeavor has offices around the world, but its local chapter publicly debuted earlier this year. It is run by managing director John Gavigan and entrepreneur selection and growth account manager Alan Rosenhoch, and supported by a $2 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation (the grant was made in 2018), with additional funding from HSBC Bank USA, Wegmans Food Markets and the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.
Founded in 1997, Endeavor runs a highly selective program that seeks startups led by high-impact entrepreneurs, then connects them to business opportunities, funding and mentorship.
Gavigan said Squire’s selection was a moment not just to celebrate what the company has done here so far, but to imagine what it could represent in the future.
The Squire selection is also noteworthy for the participation of Yancey Spruill, who was part of the selection panel. Spruill is a graduate of Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo who went on to become a successful tech executive, now serving as CEO of fast-growing Digital Ocean.
“As someone who is proud of my Buffalo heritage, I’m confident that these remarkable founders will create an incredible business resulting in the creation of jobs and wealth across Western New York that will have a profound effect on the culture and direction of Buffalo for years to come,” Spruill said.