By Melanie Cane
Emer D’Alton had just reached the 25-mile mark in the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, when the bomb went off at the finish line. Brendan Walsh, whom she had been dating for seven years, was a block away cheering her on. Neither one was hurt, but Brendan’s ensuing panic when he could not find her compelled him to propose to her two weeks later. “It was a nudge from the universe to make our relationship official.”
They married in 2014 and lived in New York City, where they both worked in finance. Brendan was Director of MBS Trading with Tradeweb Markets, and Emer worked as an Executive Director at UBS.
In 2016, “seeking a challenge and gearing up for a career change”, Brendan entered the MBA program at NYU, graduating in 2019. “Being a bond broker was exciting at first. I had a front-row seat to electronic trading, but I was concerned about the long-term trajectory. Also, I was ready for a new opportunity.”
They moved to Rye in 2017, several months before their first child was born. They now also have a toddler.
Soon after becoming a homeowner, Brendan found the process of maintaining a home to be much too time-consuming trying to communicate with professionals, playing phone tag. “There had to be an easier way! I wanted a product that would enable me to chat with, manage, and organize my service contracts,” he said.
In 2019, after earning his MBA, with a leap of faith and the full support of his wife, who is still with UBS, Brendan left his job on Wall Street to create a new venture, The Village Ledger (TVL).
“My goal was to create a digital marketplace from which homeowners could order all their home services, as easily as they order groceries, car services, and consumer goods. I envisioned an ecosystem that would make life easier for both the professionals and the homeowners they serve.”
Brendan spent the summer and fall of 2019 interviewing homeowners and home service professionals to determine where the pain points in home management were for both sides. He learned that countless homeowners were looking for trusted professionals, just as professionals wanted better leads; other digital platforms were expensive, and the leads were poor.
For the first six months of 2020, Brendan worked with a pair of mobile app designers on the design phase. He then hired a team of freelance developers to build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
The first versions of The Village Ledger and The Village Ledger PRO were launched in February 2021 and are available for download from the Apple App Store. In addition to the IOS mobile application, Brendan’s team created a web portal for professionals, so they could create and manage their accounts directly from the TVL website on their desktop, tablet, or mobile device.
Since the launch, Brendan’s primary focus has been expansion of the list of local home service providers, and he’s made great strides. TVL has grown its professional user base to 25 businesses which offer 50 kinds of services in and around Rye.
Brendan’s goal for 2022 is to increase homeowner awareness of TVL and ensure more transactions occur.
Enter Alex Kerr, who is married to Rye native Macaulay (Steers). They moved to Rye in 2014 and are the parents of four young children.
Alex, who had been working in private equity for over a decade, most recently at Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe leading investments in the technology sector, began working with Brendan on an informal basis in the summer of 2021. Covid prompted him to reevaluate what he wanted out of his career and life, he decided to leave his job to officially become TVL’s Head of Growth and Co-Founder. (Brendan is CEO and Founder.)
Alex and Brendan met socially, but when Alex became aware of the business Brendan was building, they began a dialogue and soon realized they shared a similar vision of what TVL could and should be. “
Our research and personal experience show that we value referrals from trusted friends and neighbors above all other sources when choosing professionals to work on/in our homes,” said Alex. “However, the existing alternatives in that channel are not automated and there are no supporting tools or workflows to manage subsequent and ongoing business in a cohesive way. TVL provides a product that addresses this need, and we believe it will make for a better experience for both homeowners and professionals. I’m thrilled to partner with Brendan to help TVL realize its full potential.”
Brendan knows he made the right decision leaving his job to create TVL. “I use the lessons I learned in business school every day.” He added: “It helps that I am fascinated by tradespeople and interested in all things home-related. I hope to shine a bright light on all the great home service professionals that work on our homes and keep our community running.”
For more information, go to www.thevillageledger.com. Or Instagram: @thevillageledger