In 2002, after graduating high school in Columbus, GA, Tyler Jefcoat (BBA ’07, MBA ’13) took an interest in Athens and the University of Georgia for two reasons: its music scene and its business school. While music stayed as a hobby, Tyler thrived in UGA’s Terry College of Business as an undergraduate.
After graduating and working as a retail bank manager, Tyler soon realized that corporate culture didn’t suit him. With encouragement from two key figures in his life, his dad and father-in-law, he returned to UGA and enrolled in an MBA program. It was here where he found his true passion for entrepreneurship.
“I came out of that MBA experience realizing that I just wasn’t a great corporate guy. I needed to build something for myself—so, I did,” Tyler said. “I literally got to present this concept company we built called Care to Continue as my final project in this MBA entrepreneurship class. I got great support from the university and got great support from my classmates.”
Care to Continue was a business that trained and empowered caregivers for in-home senior care. Tyler stayed with Care to Continue for five years. The first year was difficult as they tried to get their name out there and find a loyal client base, but by year two, the company established itself well within the market.
“We were on to something because we understood our customer,” he said. “We didn’t have to be perfect, thankfully. I think we were in a good market. But, yeah, it was hard; it was crazy. And I was grateful that I got to sell my part of that business, because that was a 24/7/365 animal.”
Tyler sold his portion of Care to Continue in 2018 after realizing that the direction the business was heading toward didn’t follow his vision. He helped train the new leadership team for 100 days. While selling his part of the company represented a huge win for him and his family, he still stressed over what his next steps should be.
His wife, Emily (AB ’08)—whom he had met through an undergraduate club at UGA—was by his side the entire time, assuring him of his path while keeping their two daughters in mind.
“I had a bunch of great opportunities. And my wife was like, ‘Tyler, these opportunities all seem to be in Chicago or Atlanta or New York. You need to find something that’s not in Chicago or Atlanta or New York.’ And so, we started looking for ideas.”
Not wanting to uproot his family’s life for a career in a big city, Tyler found a niche back in Athens. While having a coffee with one of his friends, Tyler began looking into a new idea: e-commerce. He found that there was a need he could fill in bookkeeping for smaller scale entrepreneurs.
“I go to my wife—like I did in when I started Care to Continue—and was like, ‘I’m thinking about starting a company in another industry we’ve never worked in or had any business with… What do you say?’” he laughed. “And thankfully—just like she did last time—she was like, ‘I think… I think we should do it.’”
In 2018, Tyler launched Seller Accountant, an accounting firm that provides e-commerce sellers on Amazon with bookkeeping and fractional CFO (financial coaching) services. The business works with sellers personally, creating and implementing customized accounting plans for each unique circumstance.
Using the experience and knowledge he gained from his first company, Seller Accountant quickly became one of the top accounting businesses in the Amazon marketplace.
Tyler always felt that his passion came from his desire to help others, and with his new business, he can utilize his background in business and finance to directly assist small sellers.
“Leading and encouraging small business owners to be successful is really what makes me feel most alive,” he said. “It just gets me so excited.”
His drive to help others led him back to UGA, where another friend encouraged him to rent a space in the up-and-coming Delta Innovation Hub in the Innovation District.
The Innovation District is a place that connects bright minds from around UGA and beyond. Located across multiple buildings in North Campus and downtown Athens, the Innovation District promotes a connection between students, faculty, alumni and local businesses.
“As he really shared the vision of what this place does—attaching faculty and alumni ideas to reality and helping them come into fruition—I was like, ‘Man, that’s kinda where I am right now in this company, Seller Accountant.’”
Tyler immediately connected with the Innovation District’s vision and moved his business into the Delta Innovation Hub in 2021. Now, Tyler and Seller Accountant find inspiration within the Hub while working alongside UGA’s graduate accounting program to help UGA students and alumni.
“We have really been making it our mission to empower these students, and what’s really cool is that we’re seeing results,” he said. “Like graduate assistantships for the graduate accounting program: two years in a row now, one of our few students has gotten that spot. We’re already seeing some kind of anecdotal evidence that they’re getting more salary coming out of the accounting program.”
Knowing what it’s like to be an uncertain graduate, Tyler wants to foster an environment where a student can succeed in finding the career most suited to them, be that as an employee in Seller Accountant or entrepreneur forging their own path.
“Could I, you know, be a part of someone’s story or the beginning of their career and actually get a lot of benefit from it? Absolutely. And there’s no better place to be than right on campus for that to happen.”