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Jared Wray. (GeekWire Photo)

Sometimes you choose your next career move and sometimes it chooses you. Longtime cloud exec Jared Wray’s next venture falls into that second category.

He’d just left CenturyLink, two years after the telecom giant acquired his cloud computing startup Tier 3 and he was listening to his old friend, Eric Branner complain about the lack of effective software tools for running his guitar lesson business.

Eric Branner. (Fons Photo)

Branner was spending hours and hours each week on billing, scheduling, and collecting late payments for lessons.

“He literally was taking three to four different products and gluing them together to make his business run smoothly,” said Wray.

Wray offered to help. He had a little time on his hands after departing CenturyLink so he investigated software products out there to try to find a solution for his friend. Everything he tested was either too generic or way too complicated.

That’s when the lightbulb went off. This was an opportunity.

Together, Wray and Branner began building Fons, a software solution for instructors who run lesson-based businesses.

“There’s two sides of this customer, right?” Wray said. “There’s the teacher and how they’re running their business and their studio — simplifying that and making it really easy so they don’t have to be an accountant or an MBA grad — and then there’s also the consumer side. Their customers want and expect this new gig economy that is on-demand, easy access, don’t make me think.”

Wray and Branner quietly rolled out Fons about six weeks ago and are officially launching today. They’ve decided to bootstrap the business for now.

“I’ve done a couple startups and I’m pretty notorious with bootstrapping them for a while,” said Wray.

For $40 a month, instructors can use Fons as a one-stop solution for administrative tasks, like scheduling, invoicing, and communicating with customers.

Wray believes this is just the beginning. He says Fons will incorporate machine learning and additional features to expand the market beyond private instructors.

“I believe there’s actually a lot more we can do to just change this entire dynamic in this market,” he said.

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