Persistence lands MailHaven’s Kela Ivonye a spot on prestigious ‘This Week in Startups’

Kela Ivonye | Photo courtesy of Kela Ivonye

MailHaven CEO Kela Ivonye was introduced as “the person who would not stop DM-ing me” by host and angel investor Jason Calacanis. This was during Ivonye’s recent appearance on a “Syndicate” episode of “This Week in Startups,” a prestigious, online video series where Calacanis interviews stars of the entrepreneurial world. “Syndicate” episodes feature pitches from six entrepreneurs in front of an audience of 20 investors.

Calacanis made much of Ivonye’s persistence about getting on the show. He said that the more he looked at the product — a secure mailbox for package delivery plus an app — “I thought, well I want to buy it, but I’m not sure about it, but I want to buy it… I don’t know who you are, where you’re from… you’re not from Silicon Valley.” But eventually, he relented.

After Ivonye said that he was from Louisville and originally from Nigeria, he told a story of how he used to sit in on classes at the University of Louisville without paying tuition and eventually someone took notice of him, admired his drive and gave him a scholarship.

“It’s all making sense now,” said Calacanis, laughing. “I’m definitely investing in this company.”

The presentation went off without a hitch, although Ivonye was clearly nervous. After the pitch, he took questions from four investors, including “Super” investor Ed Roman.

The episode was filmed a little more than a week ago in San Francisco, Ivonye told Insider on Tuesday. No sooner than he got home, he got news that will bring him and his partner back to San Francisco this Sunday for an extended period of time.

It’s pretty big news, but we’re sworn to secrecy for a little while.

Ivonye spent the early part of 2017 at Highway1, a hardware startup accelerator in San Francisco.

Watch Ivonye’s entire presentation below (it’s cued up to the beginning).