Meet Summer 2020 Class of INCLT Mentees

There’s a story behind every startup. 

The highs and lows each founder experiences has a tremendous impact on their vision and, ultimately, their success. At Innovate Charlotte, we see that firsthand, in the startups that enroll in our mentorship program.

Now, during one of the most challenging times in recent history, we’re welcoming a new class of mentees to the program, which connects startup founders with mentors to guide them through the early stages of their businesses. And we’re introducing them to Charlotte’s startup ecosystem here, with a look at their journeys so far and how this community can support their evolution and growth. 

Summer 2020 INCLT Mentees

You can learn more about our new class below.

  1. Lawpods ( helps law firms create engaging, professional podcast content that speaks directly to potential clients in a friendly and informative way.
  2. Plush Lifestyle Management  provides luxury high-rises with 24/7 luxury front desk concierge services.
  3. Genisys Renewable Energy helps solar developers have prime land that is ready to be leased and is permitted.
  4. Treehab ( offers a convenient way to access medical marijuana in your local area.

    If you’re interested in becoming part of the program — either as a mentor or mentee — you can find more information

Robert Ingalls, founder of Lawpods

Robert Ingalls wanted to be a dad, and he knew long hours as a lawyer weren’t going to cut it. So, he started reading money management books. Soon, he progressed to podcasts and fell in love with the medium. 

“A month later, I owned $1,000 worth of podcast gear,” Ingalls said. “Thankfully, it worked because I didn’t have to go sell that stuff on Craiglist like most people do.” 

He started his own podcast out of his law firm in June 2016, right before he found out he was going to be a father. Podcasting took off for him, and he soon launched Lawpods, a podcast production company dedicated to working with law firms that want to position themselves as thought leaders. 

“We wanted to make sure we could build a company that was sustainable,” Ingalls said. “It was going to be easier for me to build and defend that niche when the time came. That strategy has already helped us get in the door, and some of the biggest law firms in the world are on our client list.”

Through the INCLT mentorship program, Ingalls is looking to learn about business development and marketing from seasoned mentors. 

“The mentors that have stepped up and chosen to work with me all have a solid background in those areas, so I’m really excited,” Ingalls said. 

Alex Pascal, founder of Plush

Alex Pascal has had a hustle going for most of his life. He grew up in Brooklyn and started bagging groceries with his brothers at the age of 10 until one day when he broke someone’s pickles.

 “I was so embarrassed that I never went back,” Pascal said. “Still, that was my first taste of entrepreneurship.” 

Since then, Pascal has made a career out of it. He managed a smoke shop, opened an Internet café and eventually started his own dog walking company. Then, he was approached by a high-rise building that needed black car service. Pascal didn’t have a black car, so he bought one, and Plush, a luxury transportation service, was born. Now, he has three drivers working with him.

“The car smells new every time you get in it, and that’s what my clients like,” Pascal said. 

Pascal is looking to his INCLT mentors to help combine his natural business instincts with formal knowledge. He wants to grow into a lifestyle management brand with front-desk concierge service. 

“The best room to be in is with people who are smarter than you, people who have been there, done that and have wisdom and guidance,” Pascal said. “I come from the school of hard knocks.”

Daniel Rusu, founder of Genisys Renewable Energy

With renewables coming into their own, the 2020s look to be a landmark shift for the energy sector, and Daniel Rusu has been planning for that reality.
Rusu has worked in land acquisition for seven years. His speciality has been land leasing for both oil and gas and renewables such as wind and solar. It was through this work that he came across an opportunity for his own venture. 

“I worked for a developer, and we had a tough time leasing land,” Rusu said. “A lot of the renewable energy incentives would get lost because it would take time to make an acquisition or to close a deal. So, I saw that opening.”

He began working on the concept in 2018 and ultimately launched Genisys Renewable Energy in late 2019. The company offers land brokerage for wind and solar developers. Rusu specializes in the Southeast, and he has been working on a database of tracts well-suited for development. 

Now, Rusu is looking to INCLT for help with business development. He believes the company is at a pivotal point.  

“If I can get some professional advice from successful entrepreneurs, I think that would help me a lot on how to get that first contract,” Rusu said. 


Brandon Terrell, founder of Treehab

For Brandon Terrell, the road to a startup began with helping a relative.
Terrell, a marketer by trade, had a family member who was looking to find physicians willing to discuss alternative medicine. It took several months to find the support they needed, but Terrell didn’t stop learning about the industry. 

“I was very fortunate that I was able to travel the country and go to markets such as California and Colorado, where I had firsthand experience about the blossoming cannabis industry,” Terrell said. “I began to identify individuals who had the same problem that my family experienced with finding a doctor.” 

To fill that need, Terrell found Treehab in 2017. Treehab is a network of experienced physicians, mainly in the Georgia market, that advertises to consumers who may be interested in learning about medical marijuana. The company launched a new website this year, and it has experienced an uptick in demand during the pandemic. 

“Last month, we had over 10,000 inquiries from individuals who wanted to request an appointment to meet with a doctor,” Terrell said. “That was a milestone we are very proud of.”

Terrell understands the value that outside input can bring, and he looks forward to hearing the insights of INCLT mentors.  

“I’m really looking for mentors who can help identify the next phase of development, and it may come from something outside of my wheelhouse, which is marketing,” Terrell said. 

When businesses like INCLT’s new recruits get the opportunity to grow, the entire Charlotte community benefits. Olga Muller, director of operations for local software development company Kepler Team, has seen that firsthand, both as part of a startup and as a member of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in Charlotte. “No business or founder can succeed in isolation. Success requires a collaborative approach and help from those who have been there and done that when it comes starting and building companies.”  

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