"Over this past year, MSBDC Boston Regional Director Mark Allio has been an objective, experienced resource for our firm," notes John Penrose [right], President of Pearl’s Premium, a Wayland-based developer and marketer of low-maintenance, sustainable lawn seed. Developed by founder and fellow business partner Jackson Madnick [left], the company’s patented lawn seed mixtures grow 12-inch roots after one year and grow slowly – as little as the rate of traditional bluegrass lawns. That minimizes watering, mowing, and the need for chemical treatments of one’s lawn. The upshot is dramatically less lawn maintenance and a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
Since meeting Madnick at a Newton-Needham Chamber event, Allio has served as a sounding board for the partners on business strategy, fundraising, sales and marketing, and their overall efforts to gain business traction. “As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get mired in the details—down in the weeds, if you will—of day-to-day business," observes Penrose. “Mark has always helped us to stand back—to view our business from a strategic perspective."
In October, Pearl’s Premium was a $50K winner in MassChallenge, a prestigious annual competition in Boston for early-stage businesses that seek mentorship, funding, and other business resources. Funded by businesses, philanthropists, and state agencies, the competition attracts a broad brush of science, technology, and retail firms, including many with sustainable products and services like Pearl’s Premium. “For the competition, Mark reviewed and critiqued our presentation," remarks Penrose. “It was a definite factor in our success."
"Mark also periodically reviews our financial model and investment
package," Penrose continues. “And he’s sat in on some of our planning
sessions and in focus groups where entrepreneurs evaluate our proposals
to banks and other sources of capital." No less important, adds Madnick,
Allio has helped the partners to expand their market options. Pearl’s
Premium may be a growing presence in residential markets (consumers can
buy their grass seed at Whole Foods Markets and online), but those
markets are competitively saturated. “With that in mind, Mark has helped
us to expand our horizons to include commercial real estate and
government-related properties, like airports and parks," notes Madnick.
"We’ve discovered that the MSBDC Network and other public resources
offer a whole range of services that make dealing with the state and
federal government less daunting." That’s a good thing because Pearl’s
Premium can save thousands of dollars per acre in annual maintenance
costs…talk about a budget deficit closer!