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Solay will find and keep that perfect spot on the beach just for you!


Amanda is a travel aficionado who loves visiting resorts and beaches around the world. She has cherished every vacation during her nearly two decade career as a corporate transactional attorney working on technology and data licensing and regulatory compliance for start-up companies in the life sciences field. Amanda was born and raised in the Philadelphia area but now enjoys 365 days of vacation weather in San Diego with her family and rescue dogs.

Tell us about Solay.


Solay was born out of the pain of waking up early on vacation to try and save a spot at the pool or get in line for beach seating, wasting precious time. It’s a contactless solution for guests and hotels alike, allowing mobile and web-based reservations of lounge chairs and cabanas in advance or in real-time. Solay arranges all seating to use the space efficiently. The hotel interface has constant status updates and complete control over inventory and offerings. Solay’s white label product allows the hotel to maintain its brand identity. In life, we make reservations for experiences that matter to us. Solay brings reserved seating to your next resort or cruise vacation.



Your app solves a problem that doesn’t feel like a problem - until it’s a problem! Who needs this app this year? (Make a case for the traveler and the hotel)


Travelers returning to resorts and cruises this year have expectations of not only safety but an experience that shows management is going out of its way to cater to their needs and desires. Maneuvering for pool and beach seating has long been a major guest dis-satisfier and is therefore a great opportunity for hospitality management to show the advances it has made to its technology-supported guest experience, not to mention to facilitate safety and maximum amenity usability for its guests. Furthermore, hotels are having a hard time staffing their properties currently. With Solay’s mobile food and beverage tie-in, less poolside staff are needed yet more revenue is possible with efficient ordering and payment procedures.



A lot of our readers are world travelers. What’s the user experience like for the vacationer?


The guest can make a reservation in advance or in real-time, using their mobile device or on the web. A few taps and they’re done. When their reservation time arrives, they simply check-in on the web or mobile app and are shown to their reserved seats or cabanas. Using Google, the web app translates into any language for ease of use by international guests.



What’s the user experience like for the hotel?


On the hotel side, a profile is set up and maintained through their dashboard. This gives management complete control over quantity and placement of reserved seating and cabanas, as well as pricing and any special features like day passes, cabana amenities, or mobile food and beverage. Solay’s white label solution provides a custom URL that hotels can deploy in all guest communications, on their website, etc., all while honoring the integrity of the hotel brand.



You are a crazy successful attorney in San Diego. What made you want to give up that sweet life to startup a tech company?


The creativity involved in a start-up is contagious and I found a love for it while supporting start-ups as an attorney. Years of problem-solving for my clients has been instrumental in my ability to tackle the complicated issues around managing poolside and beach seating in hospitality venues. You may not be surprised to learn that given the workload I was used to as an attorney, cutting back on my practice a couple years ago actually resulted in an exponential increase in my available energy and focus for this new venture.



Female founders are grossly underfunded? What have been your experiences pitching to male investors?


Anecdotally I’m aware that a “boys’ club” mentality continues in funding. Young male in a hoodie zooming in from Silicon Valley fits the mold while middle-aged mother in suburbia does not. There is a ton of splashy rhetoric around funding women and minorities, but numbers don’t lie. Having an “in” (gaslight term = “champion”) still seems to be the determining factor. I get it - nobody wants to take a risk with their money on an unproven founder. Given the relatively small percent of funds going to women and minority owned businesses, it seems there is still an additional percent missing from the equation that could be used to give a leg up to innovative female founders with strong professional success prior to becoming a founder, rather than for mold-fitting stereotypes who have less barriers to cultivating “champions.”


Vaccinations are going to let us get out and see the world again? Where is the first place you’ll be booking your chairs?


Honestly, I am no longer interested in staying at a resort that takes no interest in attending to crowd management in the common areas. Nor do I want to be told upon check-in that my family must sign up for a 1-2 hour time slot at the pool per day, or set an alarm for the night before or the morning of my pool day to log on and attempt to digitally beat the rush for sign ups. These are some of the “solutions” I am hearing about in the industry, but this is not the way to satisfy returning guests. That’s the beauty of Solay - more data for the hotel of incoming guest reservations in

advance allows them to plan their space accordingly and ultimately accommodate more guests. Assuming I could reserve a spot for my family, my next spot would be in Kona - the big island is the only one we haven’t been to!




What was your biggest “a-ha moment” being a non-technical founder?


Probably never to assume that even the smallest detail will be obvious or inherent in the development of a software solution. Everything must be specified, never assumed. I have been surprised by the custom coding required to create a nimble solution that can handle a wide variety of use cases. And striking the delicate balance of creating a viable product that is sophisticated enough to launch but not over-engineered.



How have The Startup Ladies helped you grow?


Pitching opportunities and feedback have been terrific. Having a supportive community interested in your success is essential for female founders. Access to study hall information and tools as an ongoing resource has been super useful.


What’s next for you?


Currently I’m focused on promoting Solay’s white label solution which launched in March. Collaborating with mobile food and beverage and virtual concierge providers is high on my priority list. And I can’t wait to share and highlight success stories of happier guests and hotels with more revenue and less burdened staff.


Learn more about Solay or book your chair at https://www.solayapp.com/

 



























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