This is my IQ: Rebecca Alexander
Sometimes, the most impactful innovations come from the inspiration to combine existing solutions in new and different ways. Such is the case with Rebecca Alexander’s entrepreneurial journey in the Portland IQ, where she’s building a startup that addresses her personal need—and the needs of millions of other people.
“My whole life, I’ve been too big. Too big for sports uniforms. Too big for roller coasters. Too big for cute cars,” she said. “It used to bother me, but then I realized something: I’m not alone. There are tens of millions of people just like me. And we deserve to fit.”
Enter AllGo, a review site where fat people—and the people who love them—rate the comfort and accessibility of public spaces, like restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, among others.
“95% of plus-size people experience anxiety when going somewhere new,” she said. “We’re worried because we don’t know if we’re literally going to fit. So I built AllGo, a review app, where people can exchange information like whether chairs have arms or whether tables in booths move. From restaurants to theaters and gyms to airlines, our users can finally know the answer to the question, ‘Can we all go?’”
And the market for that kind of solution? It’s growing, every day.
“I've been most surprised by how little people think about plus size people,” said Rebecca. “For as visible as we are, people really don't pay attention to us. Most estimate the ‘plus size market’ is $21B, but this only accounts for plus-size women's apparel. As a plus size person, I know that most of my purchasing decisions are driven--at least in part--to my body size. What furniture I buy, what cars I rent, what restaurants I frequent. If people in these industries want to maximize their profits, I highly recommend they start courting plus size people like me.”
Like any entrepreneurial pursuit, it’s a struggle. Even in a collaborative and supportive region like the Portland IQ. Where there are still problems to be solved. Like access to capital.
“Despite having a product in market, being featured in The New York Times, and acquiring over 7,500 without spending a single dollar on marketing, other ‘early stage’ funds in Portland aren't ready to invest in AllGo,” she said. “It's clear to me know that I need to start looking out of town.”
But addressing a market need also has its benefits. Like hearing how your solution—your creation—is making people’s lives better.
“I love the people I've met through this effort,” she said. “From AllGo's users and customers, to the founders and mentors I've met through PIE, to the randos I've connected with via various Slack channels and Twitter threads, I am blown away by people's generosity and drive to leave the world better than they found it. My life will never be the same because of them.”
And that support and collaboration is a hallmark of Portland IQ.
“I lived in Oregon my whole life and for the last 10 years, I've been in Portland,” said Rebecca. “My favorite people are here. And when I started talking about making AllGo a reality, my community rallied around me. AllGo will create tremendous wealth for our earliest investors and employees. I'm doing everything I can to make sure those people are Portlanders.”
For more on Rebecca and the company she’s building, visit AllGo.