Two years after becoming a twice-exited startup founder, Matt Watson is back at the helm of a new venture: At Capacity — a smart advertising platform geared toward small business owners who offer home services like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical work.
Serving as co-founder of At Capacity alongside Meg Stapleton, Watson said the company officially launched April 3 and already features a staff of seven who will be ready to work with customers as early as this month. He announced the startup’s launch Aug. 2 on social media.
At 42, Watson — a successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and father of five — is no stranger to the Kansas City startup scene.
The catalyst for At Capacity came in May 2022, when Watson joined Edina, Minnesota-based CAMP Digital as its EVP of Software Development. Over time, while working alongside CEO Kate Donovan (Stapleton’s twin sister) and Stapleton herself, a new idea came about.
“The end goal was to improve the technology that [CAMP Digital] had and to basically spin out of it a new company,” said Watson, who also serves as CEO and CTO of At Capacity. “At first I wasn’t too sure about the idea … but after a while, I really understood the problem and saw the opportunity.”
Most of the initial batch of customers who have enrolled are plumbers — though the service could apply to a wider range of service-based industries including a salon or barbershop, he explained.
“For our type of customer, they have a very set unique set of challenges,” Watson said. “A lot of companies would take as many customers as they can handle. Well, for a plumber … if they sign up three customers today, then they’re at capacity.”
Suppose, he said, someone has a leak in their home. The homeowner searches “plumber in my area” on Google and calls the first local result, who is booked for weeks and can’t take on the job.
“If that first plumber paid for advertising, it was a huge waste of money because they can’t service that customer anyways,” Watson said. “We give them options to change their promotions or service areas, coupons, all that kind of stuff, so that they can drive more leads when they need more leads and then save money when they need to save money.”
Watson’s first major venture began with his co-founding of VinSolutions in 2003, serving as CTO before exiting on a $147 million deal with AutoTrader.com in 2011. He founded Stackify LLC the very next year, serving as its CEO through 2021.
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In March of 2018, Watson co-founded Full Scale opposite KC Tix founder and author Matt DeCoursey. The pair also co-hosts the Startup Hustle Podcast, while the Watson also maintains an influential blog at The Visionary CTO.
This new chapter with At Capacity, however, offers a new kind of challenge, a whole new set of problems to solve. Co-founder Stapleton adds to the equation as a Kansas City-based digital marketing innovator and C-suite experience.
“I love working in marketing technology. It’s a great place to be because companies always spend money on marketing,” Watson said. “They will spend lots of money in marketing, right where they see an ROI in it. There’s big money in marketing and it’s just a great place to be from an agency and technology perspective.”
He’s also learned from his previous experiences, as any great investor should.
“This time around, it’s like we’re trying to solve one problem and solve it for potentially multiple industries,” Watson said. “CAMP Digital has been doing this for five years and they’re literally the only ones that do this … our goal is to take that same technology and bring it to the masses — and we’re really excited about it.”