D’ontra Hughes started Spare CS, Inc. in 2013. SPARE a mobile platform app that gives regular businesses the ability to dispense cash from their cash registers, directly into the hands of consumers. SPARE can turn any cash register into an ATM; eliminating the need for a debit card. Unlike their competitors, they focus on empowering the merchants.
Spare’s website states that the mobile atm offers; “new paradigms and software to provide unique financial services.” Spare received a $50,000 investment from cannabis-first investment firm ArcView Group. According to a release from Arcview, the cash injection into the “mobile ATM” was the prize for being named the first victor of ArcView’s “Winners Fund”––seed funding put up by Arcview’s venture capitalist membership hoping to cash in on legal weed.
Although SPARE was started in 2013, they are still undergoing rigorous testing to make sure they are releasing the best service tool to the market. Through technology incompatibilities, missed deadlines, IP infringements, and other setbacks he learned how to be a successful entrepreneur.
The company is located in California with 16 employees. They have received several accolades and have made $500,000 to date. If the market keeps doing well, they will continue to expand their brand.
Even though Hughes has the perfect team now, getting the right team was difficult for him in the beginning. Finding the correct people that can not only help build the company but can also add value and grow within the company is not easy. He claims now he has the dream team and it has been nothing but rewarding.
Hughes sees the future of the cannabis industry is a pivotal industry where regulation can either hurt or accelerate business growth within the industry. He still believes that this industry has created huge opportunities and will continue to do so regardless of legal and widespread adoption.
He understands that there will always be a divide with how people feel about cannabis. He thinks it’s not necessary for everyone to agree but there does need to be an environment where others respect other peoples’ decisions. Cannabis has been giving a bad reputation with faulty studies, the war on drugs, and more so with correct and scientifically proven information people may come around but there always will be that divide.
What is D’ontra Hughes doing when he’s not focusing on SPARE?
He’s traveling, hiking, and playing with his dog. He used to be an avid motorcyclist but hasn’t been able to ride as he’s been so busy. Once things slow down a little, he hopes to start riding again.
Things won’t be slowing down too soon for him as he does have plans on opening more businesses/services that empower merchants and consumers and fix some of the major issues in any market where he sees an opportunity.
“The toughest reality is that the CEO is the loneliest position of the company. You will spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what the proper course of the company should be and honestly, you are the only person who can make that decision. Get yourself some advisors that are outside of the company but have been a CEO a few times. They will be the best people to speak to when things feel like they are going sideways. Know the difference between confidence in what you have created and confidence in if that creation has a place in reality. There are a lot of shitty ideas out there. You don’t want yours to be one of them.” – D’ontra Hughes