Just days after Christmas,Jody Porowski, the entrepreneur notorious for selling her house to fund her company packed up her car and trekked the 500 miles from Raleigh to New York City.

There, she’d share an apartment with friends and commute back and forth each month between her co-founder, development and marketing team in the Triangle and her growing base of partners and advisors in the Big Apple. 

In 2014, the founder of Avelist took the advice of successful Triangle entrepreneurs and mentors and cast her net far beyond the region to grow users and awareness for her site that lets people organize their lives using lists and share them with others.

By doing so, she met investors who helped close her $450,000 round in December and a Charlotte design agency that has begun work on a rebrand and redesign of the site. She grew users above 50,000 and joined New York City networking groups that led to media industry contacts and now, pending partnerships with niche wedding, home decor, parenting and careers publishers willing to use Avelist to distribute content on their sites. 

She also discovered an enterprise opportunity for Avelist—an option for companies, academic institutions and social groups to create and share private lists among their employees, clients, students or members. Pilots of the freemium model will begin in January.

It was all that travel to the big city that made it apparent that Avelist needed to do more to compete with the major social media plays around. 

“You don’t know how hard it is to get users. You don’t know how hard it is to raise money,” she says. “We’re very fortunate that we have gotten users and it’s enabled us to raise money, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We think if we’re able to take a little more control over our own destiny, that’s always a good thing.”

For the full interview, read at ExitEvent: http://exitevent.com/article/avelist-closes-450k-tackles-the-big-apple-150107

Note: ExitEvent is a news partner of WRAL TechWire.