Meet Gardenio’s First Investors: Blanca Lesmes and Michael Barnes
Nobody makes big things happen alone. On every massive journey, you have truly exceptional people who take big bets on you because they think you are truly exceptional. So to that end, we’re excited to welcome our first investors to the Gardenio family: Blanca Lesmes and Michael Barnes.
Blanca Lesmes is the co-founder and CEO of BB Imaging & Consulting where she cultivates relationships with healthcare providers by delivering ultrasound services. She is focused on making healthcare more accessible to women in rural communities nationwide. Ms. Lesmes is Austin-educated, having completed her undergraduate degree at St. Edward’s University and later receiving her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Texas.
Blanca serves on the Board of DivInc, a startup accelerator program, where she met Roman as a mentor. “Roman’s passion for addressing food insufficiency was at the core of what attracted me to Gardenio,” Blanca says. “Although, I am not gifted with a green-thumb, I can relate to Gardenio’s target demographic.”
Michael Barnes is a former teacher, school leader, and CEO and founder of the EdTech startup TeacherTalent (acq. 2018), which is an HR SaaS solution designed to tackle America’s quality teacher shortage. He is a General Partner of the Radical Equity Fund, which advises and invests in diverse and social impact ventures, and is starting a new venture to promote social and financial equity through the full-service property management platform Viva.
Michael has known Roman for several years through their interactions within the Austin startup community, following each other’s journeys through the Austin startup ecosystem, on and offline.
“Roman, beyond being a Latinx CEO and founder, is intentional about building a team that exemplifies diversity,” Michael says. “Gardenio speaks to an existential need for people to reconnect to our societal roots (pun!) through the growing of plants and food. So the founder, team, and mission are all aligned to my thesis as an investor. As well, Roman’s commitment to apply the best of agile and design thinking principles - drawn from his career in tech - to the development and growth of Gardenio, is an inspiration.”