Under30CEO » Entrepreneur Interviews http://under30ceo.com Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Under30CEO interviews successful young entrepreneurs to hear about their story and journey while starting their company. These young founders have over a million dollars a year in revenues and have been through many ups and downs to get there. These stories are meant to inspire, educate and motivate more young people to take a leap and do what they are passionate about. Under30CEO clean Under30CEO jared@under30ceo.com jared@under30ceo.com (Under30CEO) Under30CEO Interviews with Young Entrepreneurs on Starting Businesses entrepreneur, business, interview, young entrepreneur, business advice, startup advice, founder interview, ceo Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/u30logo300x250.png http://under30ceo.com/category/entrepreneurship-2/under30ceo-interviews/ Entrecelebrity: Interview with SpiritHoods Founder Alexander Mendeluk http://under30ceo.com/entrecelebrity-interview-spirithoods-founder-alexander-mendeluk/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=entrecelebrity-interview-spirithoods-founder-alexander-mendeluk http://under30ceo.com/entrecelebrity-interview-spirithoods-founder-alexander-mendeluk/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:00:49 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=40224 Alexander Mendeluk always saw himself being in the spotlight, but as an actor, not as an entrepreneur. As the child of a Hollywood movie director, Alexander grew up on television and movie sets. “That whole world helped me explore my imagination.” That imagination fueled his passion and interest in storytelling, which led him into acting. […]

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SpiritHoods 4

Alexander Mendeluk always saw himself being in the spotlight, but as an actor, not as an entrepreneur. As the child of a Hollywood movie director, Alexander grew up on television and movie sets. “That whole world helped me explore my imagination.” That imagination fueled his passion and interest in storytelling, which led him into acting.

After graduating from film school he moved to Los Angeles and became a professional actor (Alexander Mendeluk’s IMDB page). His breakout role was soon to come, but it wouldn’t be on a movie set. “Out of nowhere, literally, came SpiritHoods.” SpiritHoods are faux fur animal inspired hoods, “embracing the inner animal inside that we all have.”  The company started with accessories, and is now moving into apparel as well.

After a couple of years of working as a professional actor and an entrepreneur at the same time, Alexander was faced with a tough decision. “You’ve got to make a choice. You can be a jack of all trades and a master of none, and that’s not really what I was interested in doing.” So why choose being an entrepreneur over being a Hollywood actor? “As SpiritHoods matured and I matured, I realized that there was more opportunity and a better route as an entrepreneur than an actor.  It came down to being able to control your own destiny. You have a lot more control with your world as an entrepreneur than you do as an actor.” It was a great choice.

SpiritHoods 3

Two years after their launch, SpiritHoods started to become a celebrity of its own. The product has become a symbol of music and festival culture and appeared in countless magazines and on the heads of many celebrities. Celebrities spotted wearing a SpiritHood include Venessa Hudgens, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Jon Hamm, Kesha, Justin Bieber, and Conan O’brien. The publicity and praise the company received in the media helped SpiritHoods achieve a celebrity-like status. The company even made an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, where they turned down an offer from Daymond John.

A sharp rise in demand and popularity doesn’t always translate to sustained success.  In response to avoiding becoming a fading fad, Alexander replied, “Most trends that come and go, go pretty quick.” SpiritHoods is now in their 5th year after seeing an initial explosion in demand and exposure for their brand.

What separates SpiritHoods from the numerous fashion trends and fads that have quickly disappeared?

“What has kept us alive is our community.” The brand built behind the fashionable hoods is stronger than any fad.  SpiritHoods has been able to build a strong community with their partnerships, giving back, innovating, and telling and sharing stories. The company donates 10% of net profits to 5 nonprofit organizations that helps endangered animals. They have also been awarded the PETA Libby award for the best cruelty-free accessory. The hoods have brought music fans together, given hope and pride to customers, raised awareness for endangered species, and given back to many of the animals that were the inspiration for their products. SpiritHoods makes an nearly impossible not to route for them.

Would you rather be the superhero lead in a blockbuster movie or build SpiritHoods to have an evaluation of $250 million?

“$250 Million hands down, woooo!”

What about at $50 million? “I’d choose the $50 million. When you’re an actor, you’re a cog in the wheel.” Alexander explains that with SpiritHoods he has the ability create a change in the world that would not occur with being a superhero in a blockbuster film.

Get the full story! Listen to the complete interview with Alexander Mendeluk below!

Interview Highlights

-        Career/life goal: “I wanted to get to a position where I could influence positive change. I thought I could do that through acting, but you can do the same thing with your company, if not more.”

-        Advice on thriving in a partnership.

-        “We’re currently in an entrepreneurial renaissance.  The Barriers to entry have never been lower. The ability to influence the masses has never been easier and the tools that are available for us to create are endless. Right now is the best time, the best ecosystem in our history to begin.”

-        How SpiritHoods have helped create long lasting memories for many fans.

-        “If you are going to get in a partnership, make sure that your roles are clearly defined from the beginning.”

-        “If you believe in an idea, just run with it.”

-        “Entrepreneurship can give you the freedom to do whatever you want.” “You can create the world as you want it.”

-        Watch SpiritHoods’ appearance on Shark Tank!

-        What’s next for spirit hoods? A fall line of faux fur jackets. They are also working on wearable tech including LED lights and a super-secret line extension that will be released in 2015.

Quick-Fire Questions

How many hours a week do you spend on SpiritHoods? “Maybe 27 technical, 9-5 hours, but always on call. We used to do a lot of in-office work. Right now we have custom-tailored the business to more of a remote type of operation, which allows us the freedom to be on the go.  SpiritHoods is always a phone call away.”

How much sleep do you get a night? 8 Hours.

What is the weirdest idea you’ve ever received for a SpiritHood? “We’ve got a list of SpiritHoods that goes on for days. Fish, crocodile, pink monkeys, zebra wombat squirrels, hybrid animals that you couldn’t even think of, glow in the dark animals, you name it. The weirdest hood we just created was a lemur.”

If you could add one entrepreneur or entertainer in the world to SpiritHoods, who would it be and why? “I’d bring Richard Branson on for sure. That man is the epitome of visionary in my opinion. He’s putting people in space, and I think that’s pretty cool. Maybe we could have SpiritHoods in space.”

If you could star in a movie opposite one Hollywood actor, who would it be and why? “Maybe Brad Pitt. He’s always been copying my style. It would be cool to finally get on screen together and rock it out.”

Who would be the director of the film if it couldn’t be your dad? “I’d direct it!”

 *Alexander Mendeluk is a member of the YEC and is also launching The Disruptive. Thank you to the Young Entrepreneurs’ Council for the introduction to Alexander. For more information on the YEC, visit YEC.co

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Investing in Service: Interview with Regal Wings Founder Eli Ostreicher http://under30ceo.com/investing-service-interview-regal-wings-founder-eli-ostreicher/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=investing-service-interview-regal-wings-founder-eli-ostreicher http://under30ceo.com/investing-service-interview-regal-wings-founder-eli-ostreicher/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:00:47 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=40100 Every business requires investments, but not all investments are monetary. When Eli Ostreicher started New York City based boutique travel agency Regal Wings, startup capital was not the most important investment made in the company. “It wasn’t so much about investing financially, but investing effort and everything that I could give to it.” Regal Wings […]

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Eli Regal WingsEvery business requires investments, but not all investments are monetary. When Eli Ostreicher started New York City based boutique travel agency Regal Wings, startup capital was not the most important investment made in the company. “It wasn’t so much about investing financially, but investing effort and everything that I could give to it.” Regal Wings acts as both a travel consolidator and business travel management provider.

The company was founded in 2006 and started as a single booking made by Eli in the bedroom of a small apartment in Miami. His first customer was his uncle. Word quickly spread among his uncle’s friends and Regal Wings took-off. Eli admits that he started Regal Wings with basically nothing. “I knew no business tools. I didn’t know what payroll meant.” Eli didn’t know much about how to run a business, but he did know how to work hard and how to provide exceptional service to others.

Regal Wings Logo

The effort invested in the company and service has not gone unrecognized by customers. Regal Wings has focused on customer service from the start and it remains their strongest competitive advantage. In my interview with the young entrepreneur (audio below), he told the story of a regular client who flew often from New York to Hong Kong. On one occasion he needed a last minute ticket for the trip. He needed a kosher meal, but due to the last minute booking of the ticket, they couldn’t confirm that a kosher meal would be available on the flight. Eli woke up at 4 am, made several kosher sandwiches and met the customer at the check-in desk before his flight. Their efforts and success in customer service are a clear product of Eli’s passion, hard work, and determination.

Life as an Entrepreneur

Eli on being an entrepreneur: “It’s a choice that a person makes. You can either have a typical life (9-5), or you can do it on a different type of scale. It comes at a price, but it’s rewarding.”

Asked when he first recognized that he had an entrepreneurial spirit, Eli replied, “As a kid, I was called different titles. I was given the name of ADD and ADHD. I was a hyper kid and I always came up with these interesting ideas.” Later in life, Eli conducted his own research and realized that although he had some traits of being a dreamer and hyperactive, there was one big difference between himself and the traditional traits of someone who has ADHD – the ability to complete tasks. Eli lives and breathes with to-do lists and has trouble sleeping if he still has incomplete tasks.

As an adult Eli is just as active as in childhood, but he remains focused and goal oriented. On any given night you may find Regal Wings founder Eli Ostreicher at one of his several offices, on one of his two cell phones, looking at one of his three computer screens.

Harei At Staff Meet-

Working hard and keeping his mind on the business has worked out well for Eli and Regal Wings. Regal Wings was listed on the 2013 Inc. 500 list and was the fastest growing travel company in the US, which Eli said was a “big honor.” After being notified this past week that Regal Wings has once again made the Inc. 500 list, Eli said, “we are exstatic!” 

Perfecting the Niche

Eli’s successful ventures all capitalize on a niche market. In addition to Regal Wings, which focuses on first class and business class travelers, Eli started Harei At, an Orthodox Jewish dating service with tens of thousands of active members. Eli stated that within the community it is a necessity to get married. He built Harei At as an alternative to going to a matchmaker.

Harei At Logo

Eli was told by a smart friend that “every business man knows each company needs a USP – Unique Selling Point. If you want to take it to the next level, work in a niche market.” It’s not always possible to target a niche, but it has worked very well for Eli. He couldn’t share the details, but he did hint at an upcoming launch that will have a much broader focus.

Summary

It’s refreshing to see a young entrepreneur focus on service beyond the popular trend in building tech businesses. Regal Wings’ investment in customer service is paying dividends, and helps to set them apart from larger, less-personal touch based companies and services.

Listen to the full interview with Eli Ostreicher below!

Interview Highlights

  • Why Monday is his favorite day of the week.

  • On something he previously struggled with: letting go of an employee. “When someone doesn’t do their job the right way, do not let the damage continue.”

  • Eli’s best piece of advice for young entrepreneurs: “If you try hard enough, you will succeed.”

  • A discussion about niche businesses and targeting a specific market instead of ‘everyone.’

Quick-Fire Questions

How many hours a week do you work on Regal Wings and other business ventures? “Basically, I work non-stop.”

How much sleep do you get a night? “It depends. I love to sleep. I make up for it when I do sleep in.”

What was your worst business idea? A solution to fix cracks in car tire rims caused by potholes. The more research he did, the more he realized the idea wasn’t feasible.

If you could not be an entrepreneur – if you were banned as an entrepreneur, what would you be? “Ouch, that sounds like a punishment. Thank god that’s not the case. It would probably be something in IT. I’d probably be a really geeky Cisco network administrator somewhere.”

If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to Regal Wings, who would it be and why? “A very wild answer would be Warren Buffet. On a more realistic level I would say Barry Liben, CEO of New York City based travel agency called Tzell. I find him as the most brilliant entrepreneur as well as a friendly nice man.” 

Listen to the full interview here:

*Eli Ostreicher is a member of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Council (YEC). Special thanks to the YEC for the interview. Visit YEC.co for more information. 

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http://under30ceo.com/investing-service-interview-regal-wings-founder-eli-ostreicher/feed/ 1 Eli Ostreicher,entrepreneur interviews,First Class Travel,Harei At,new york,Orthodox Jewish Dating Service,Regal Wings,Travel Agency,young entrepreneur Every business requires investments, but not all investments are monetary. When Eli Ostreicher started New York City based boutique travel agency Regal Wings, startup capital was not the most important investment made in the company. Every business requires investments, but not all investments are monetary. When Eli Ostreicher started New York City based boutique travel agency Regal Wings, startup capital was not the most important investment made in the company. “It wasn't so much... Under30CEO clean
Founded on a Bicycle – Interview with Dashed Founder Phil Dumontet http://under30ceo.com/founded-bicycle-interview-dashed-founder-phil-dumontet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=founded-bicycle-interview-dashed-founder-phil-dumontet http://under30ceo.com/founded-bicycle-interview-dashed-founder-phil-dumontet/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:19 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=40144 My interview with Phil Dumontet was interrupted by a police officer knocking on his window after he pulled over safely to the side of the road. As rare as an interview starting with a police intervention is a company starting with just a CEO and a bicycle. Dashed has grown into the leading restaurant delivery […]

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Phil Dumontet

My interview with Phil Dumontet was interrupted by a police officer knocking on his window after he pulled over safely to the side of the road. As rare as an interview starting with a police intervention is a company starting with just a CEO and a bicycle. Dashed has grown into the leading restaurant delivery service in the Northeast. Dashed delivers for over 600 top rated restaurants in 6 cities who wouldn’t otherwise offer delivery. The company, founded in 2009 now has over 90 employees and was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America in 2013 (#119). Their focus on the speed of delivery while being eco-friendly has set them apart from competitors and made Dashed a favorite among users.

Dashed was co-founder Phil Dumontet’s first job and entrepreneurial endeavor. I guess you could say it was love at first bike. The idea for the company stemmed from a conversation he had with his brother and an opportunity in the market after a would-be competitor in the area went out of business. “The opportunity to do something that is relatively simple (food delivery), but do it better and do it faster than anyone else is what really inspired me to start it.”

Dashed Logo

Phil had just accepted a job offer to work for AT&T and was only weeks away from going to Atlanta for training. Asked if it was a hard decision to leave an attractive job for his own startup, Phil said, “The opportunity seemed like such a clear one to me.” After deciding to start Dashed, the next step was to get out into the streets and start signing on quality restaurants. The quality of the restaurants the company chose to work with was a key component of its growth and success. “I knew that speed would be the #1 driver of my business from the start, but I also knew that if we were delivering for restaurants that people didn’t particularly enjoy or weren’t highly rated, it wouldn’t matter if we were getting the food there faster than anybody else.”

Expanding beyond a one bike operation

Phil started off as the only deliverer – personally bringing each order to a customer’s house. Phil was able to make 10-15 deliveries in an evening shift. “Once we hit our cap as far as what each individual cyclist could do in a shift without delivery time increasing, we would know it’s time to hire another cyclist to join us.”

Five years after starting with a plan to deliver food for quality restaurants, the company is now much more than just a restaurant food delivery service. Dashed now delivers alcohol, convenience items, and holiday related items including pumpkins, Valentine’s Day gifts, Christmas trees, and more. “As we continue to grow, I think there’s opportunity in other spaces.” Phil’s ultimate goal with Dashed is “to be the most respected delivery service in the US.”

Advice for your entrepreneurial ride

While a student at Boston College, Phil honed his relationship building skills, becoming a RA and the editor for the school newspaper. “I learned very early on when I started Dashed that it was a relationship business. It was building relationships with local restaurateurs and national chains.” Taking what he learned at Boston College and applying it to Dashed helped him build vital relationships for the business and build a strong team around him to focus on other aspects of the business. “Learn what you do best, do it exceptionally well and delegate the rest.” To build a strong network, going out of your own personal comfort zone is often a necessity. Phil recommends to join a local council or community organization that is related to your business, and to join one that is unrelated. “It’s very easy to get caught up in your own business and working in your business instead of on your business.”

Working on his business with a focus on growth has worked well for Phil, going from a single deliverer to nearly 100 and from delivering just food to pretty much anything. Pretty impressive for a first-time entrepreneur starting with an idea and a bicycle.

Don’t ride away, listen to the full interview with Phil Dumontet below!

Interview Highlights

  • In response to biggest factor of success to date: “Having an incredibly strong and supporting and encouraging family has been the single most important factor for me.”
  • Biggest mistake: Trying to do too much at once. “Real long term growth is only possible with delegating.”
  • Although a foodie, Phil never pictured himself in the “food business” until the opportunity presented itself.
  • “Leap of faith to delegate. Starts with having the right people on board who want to be with you for the long-term. It becomes easier and easier to trust.”
  • 25% of the companies vehicles are bikes or scooters.

Quick-Fire Questions

  • How many hours a week do you work on Dashed? “About 60 hours a week.”
  • How much sleep do you get a night? 7-8 hours a night.
  • What’s the worst business idea you’ve ever had? “In terms of Dashed, overexpansion and trying to take on too many projects at once. Don’t spread yourself too thin.”
  • If you could not be an entrepreneur, what would you be? “I would always be an entrepreneur in some sense. I wouldn’t choose anything else.”
  • If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to Dashed, who would it be and why? On a practical level I would look to add somebody that has a different skill-set than I have. I would look to people like Richard Branson or Jeff Bezos.

Listen to the full interview here:

*Phil Dumontet is a member of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Council. Thank you to the YEC for the introduction.  For more information on the YEC, visit: http://yec.co/

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http://under30ceo.com/founded-bicycle-interview-dashed-founder-phil-dumontet/feed/ 1 Dashed,Dashed Delivery,entrepreneur interviews,founders,Phil Dumontet,Restaurant Delivery,startups My interview with Phil Dumontet was interrupted by a police officer knocking on his window after he pulled over safely to the side of the road. As rare as an interview starting with a police intervention is a company starting with just a CEO and a bicy... My interview with Phil Dumontet was interrupted by a police officer knocking on his window after he pulled over safely to the side of the road. As rare as an interview starting with a police intervention is a company starting with just a CEO and a bicycle. Dashed has grown into the leading restaurant delivery service in the Northeast. Dashed delivers for over 600 top rated restaurants in 6 cities who wouldn't otherwise offer delivery. The company, founded in 2009 now has over 90 employees and was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in America in 2013 (#119). Their focus on the speed of delivery while being eco-friendly has set them apart from competitors and made Dashed a favorite among users. Dashed was co-founder Phil Dumontet's first job and entrepreneurial endeavor. I guess you could say it was love at first bike. The idea for the company stemmed from a conversation he had with his brother and an opportunity in the market after a would-be competitor in the area went out of business. “The opportunity to do something that is relatively simple (food delivery), but do it better and do it faster than anyone else is what really inspired me to start it.” Phil had just accepted a job offer to work for AT&T and was only weeks away from going to Atlanta for training. Asked if it was a hard decision to leave an attractive job for his own startup, Phil said, “The opportunity seemed like such a clear one to me.” After deciding to start Dashed, the next step was to get out into the streets and start signing on quality restaurants. The quality of the restaurants the company chose to work with was a key component of its growth and success. “I knew that speed would be the #1 driver of my business from the start, but I also knew that if we were delivering for restaurants that people didn't particularly enjoy or weren’t highly rated, it wouldn't matter if we were getting the food there faster than anybody else.” Expanding beyond a one bike operation Phil started off as the only deliverer – personally bringing each order to a customer's house. Phil was able to make 10-15 deliveries in an evening shift. “Once we hit our cap as far as what each individual cyclist could do in a shift without delivery time increasing, we would know it's time to hire another cyclist to join us.” Five years after starting with a plan to deliver food for quality restaurants, the company is now much more than just a restaurant food delivery service. Dashed now delivers alcohol, convenience items, and holiday related items including pumpkins, Valentine's Day gifts, Christmas trees, and more. “As we continue to grow, I think there's opportunity in other spaces.” Phil's ultimate goal with Dashed is “to be the most respected delivery service in the US.” Advice for your entrepreneurial ride While a student at Boston College, Phil honed his relationship building skills, becoming a RA and the editor for the school newspaper. “I learned very early on when I started Dashed that it was a relationship business. It was building relationships with local restaurateurs and national chains.” Taking what he learned at Boston College and applying it to Dashed helped him build vital relationships for the business and build a strong team around him to focus on other aspects of the business. “Learn what you do best, do it exceptionally well and delegate the rest.” To build a strong network, going out of your own personal comfort zone is often a necessity. Phil recommends to join a local council or community organization that is related to your business, and to join one that is unrelated. “It's very easy to get caught up in your own business and working in your business instead of on your business.” Working on his business with a focus on growth has worked well for Phil, going from a single deliverer to nearly 100 and from delivering just food to pretty much anything. Pretty impressive for a first-time entrepreneur starting with an idea and a bicycle. Under30CEO clean
From Stuffed Animals to Dating: Interview with Serial Entrepreneur Alex Furmansky http://under30ceo.com/stuffed-animals-dating-interview-serial-entrepreneur-alex-furmansky/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stuffed-animals-dating-interview-serial-entrepreneur-alex-furmansky http://under30ceo.com/stuffed-animals-dating-interview-serial-entrepreneur-alex-furmansky/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:00:18 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=40061 BusinessDictionary.com defines a serial entrepreneur as “an entrepreneur who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses.” Alex Furmansky is a great example of someone who not only comes up with ideas, but turns those ideas into ventures of all shapes and sizes. Young entrepreneur Alex Furmansky was an early teen when he […]

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BusinessDictionary.com defines a serial entrepreneur as “an entrepreneur who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses.” Alex Furmansky is a great example of someone who not only comes up with ideas, but turns those ideas into ventures of all shapes and sizes.

Young entrepreneur Alex Furmansky was an early teen when he turned his first idea into a business. Alex started Lucky Leaf Collectors, a service based company that raked yards in his city. He purchased rakes and supplies, recruited a friend to work with him, and set a price to rake lawns. After a lot of hard work, he landed their first client. That first client turned out to have a yard the size of a football field. He may not have planned out his first venture thouroughly, but although this first yard was the last yard the Lucky Leaf Collectors would rake, this would not be Alex’s last venture.

Alex Furmansky Image

Alex has come a long way since his early leaf collecting days, but he’s retained the passion and enthusiasm for venture creation that he displayed at a young age. “Don’t do it for the glory at the end, do it for the fun of the process.” Alex is still enjoying the process many businesses later. Alex’s ventures include a niche dating website, a car lovers website, a custom stuffed toy company, a community for finding contractors, and a conference call service.

Alex focuses most of his time and energy on Sparkology and Budsies. Both companies started with an idea that was too good to pass up for Alex, and are now both growing quickly.

Sparkology

Dating is not what it used to be. As many as one-third of all married Americans have met their spouse online. As the popularity of mass dating sites has risen, the ability to find relevant matches and sift through the madness of online dating has become difficult. Alex compares the mass market popular sites as the online equivalent to what you would find in clubs and bars, which is usually what you want to avoid when trying online dating. Alex realized this growing problem and spoke with his friends, both males and females who had tried online dating. His female friends were bombarded with inappropriate requests and a mass amount of messages from people who didn’t match what they were looking for, and men had a hard time finding women who were interested in lasting relationships and serious about finding a long-term partner. Alex decided to create Sparkology.

Sparkology is an invite only dating site designed for the “modern gentleman and modern lady.” Instead of a free for all messaging format, men pay to start conversations, which gets rid of spam that is rampant on other sites. They also offer concierges that will help write profiles and help in anyway a user needs. Feedback is taken seriously – leading to the expulsion of wayward members if needed.

Sparkology Invitations

Sparkology invitations

Alex started planning for Sparkology by writing a 60 page business plan, hiring a research analyst and raised a seed round of funding. “When I quit my past job, all of the ducks were in a row and the plan was there. Sticking to the plan was a different story.” If he could go back, Alex would’ve taken a lean startup approach, which he now uses when starting new ventures.

Since their October, 2011 launch, Sparkology has led to engagements and weddings. As of May 2014, Sparkology included over 15,000 members, even while having a selective invite-only approach to membership.

Budsies

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby, then comes Budsies. Alex got the idea for custom toy making company Budsies from his artistic younger sister. She put a lot of time and thought into her artwork, but after being posted on the fridge for a couple weeks, the artwork would be forgotten. Alex wanted to create a way to bring the artwork to life, “something she can hug and tuck into bed at night.” After creating a stuffed animal for his sister based on a drawing, the idea caught on and parents and friends of children were approaching Alex to bring their artwork to life.

 Alex Furmansky Budsies

Anything from a picture of a colorful flower to a mythical beast can be turned into a high-quality stuffed animal in 3-4 weeks. Although margins are tough for one-off products, Budsies has a lot of potential to offer additional accessories in the future, like framed pictures of the artwork, embroidered stuffed animals, and other add-ons to the stuffed toys.

Summary

In our interview, Alex stated, “don’t view entrepreneurship as a goal. Think of entrepreneurship as a lifestyle choice.” Alex has fully embraced the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, and while it may have it’s challenges, there’s nothing he would rather be doing.

Be a bud and get your entrepreneurial spark for the day. Listen to the full audio interview below!

Interview Highlights

  • The best out of context quote from the interview: “Here’s a picture of my privates.” Find out what Alex was talking about in the audio below.
  • Why Sparkology is “not here to please everyone.”
  • Why apps and websites like Tinder help Sparkology in the long-term.
  • Two mistakes made when starting Sparkology: Hiring a web development company that didn’t deliver and hiring a PR firm as a startup. Alex says looking back he could’ve started up with half of the funds it took to launch Sparkology, if not less.

Quick-Fire Questions

  • How many hours do you spend a week working on your ventures or other entrepreneurship related projects? “I’d say all except for maybe 8. Even if you’re not directly working on them, you’re always thinking about them.”
  • How much sleep do you get a night? Alex places a lot of importance on sleep and makes sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night.
  • What do you do in your free time to relax? On Saturdays you will often find Alex relaxing and sailing.
  • What is the worst business idea you’ve ever had? “I made Autopin – allowing you to quickly create a page for your car. It was one of those weekend things that looks really cool and works really well…but never went anywhere. That’s a lesson of if you build it, they won’t come.”

Listen to the full interview here:

Sources

NY Daily News

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http://under30ceo.com/stuffed-animals-dating-interview-serial-entrepreneur-alex-furmansky/feed/ 7 Alex Furmansky,Budsies,entrepreneur,entrepreneur interviews,Online Dating,Serial Entrepreneur,Sparkology,Stuffed Animals BusinessDictionary.com defines a serial entrepreneur as “an entrepreneur who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses.” Alex Furmansky is a great example of someone who not only comes up with ideas, BusinessDictionary.com defines a serial entrepreneur as “an entrepreneur who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses.” Alex Furmansky is a great example of someone who not only comes up with ideas, but turns those ideas into vent... Under30CEO clean
7 Ways to Use University Career Centers to Find Your Next Star Employee http://under30ceo.com/7-ways-use-university-career-centers-find-next-star-employee/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-ways-use-university-career-centers-find-next-star-employee http://under30ceo.com/7-ways-use-university-career-centers-find-next-star-employee/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:00:39 +0000 theyec http://under30ceo.com/?p=39873 How can founders best utilize university career centers to find potential hires as graduation approaches? The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of […]

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careercenter2

How can founders best utilize university career centers to find potential hires as graduation approaches?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Introduce Yourself to Freshmen and Sophomores

Everyone wants the attention of the seniors, but you will stand out if you ask to be introduced to some of their more promising younger students. You will likely find interns for the summer, but even better, you will develop strong relationships with students over time, influencing their training and coursework so they are prepared to work for you full time when they graduate.
- Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

2. Speak at Events

If possible, volunteer to speak in a class or to student groups. This gives students an opportunity to learn more about you and get a feel for you as a person. It can help start the exposure process before other companies begin and it gives you a leg up in terms of connecting with potential hires.
- Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies, Inc.

3. Be a Squeaky Wheel

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. University careers centers are contacted by many businesses. So to stand out, you must make a concentrated effort to show you’re serious and committed to their university and students. Reach out and petition them to act on your behalf. Put the ball in their court and ask about options for employers, such as an online job posting system or on-campus interviews.
- Luke Skurman, Niche.com

4. Build Relationships

Form impactful relationships with the staff of the career centers at the universities where you want to recruit. These folks are often privy to information about candidates you couldn’t get elsewhere. They can help steer interesting applicants your way when they come into the career center for guidance. Also, offer to help create a startup program for the career center.
- Brewster Stanislaw, Inside Social

5. Talk to the Career Counselors

First, identify the schools that have the students you’d like to have as employees. For instance, as a young startup with a need for marketing leadership, I would likely look at Kellogg and Babson, among others. After identifying the best matches, formulate a very specific job description for your startup. Then talk to the career center itself. They are often willing to feature startups.
- Alec Bowers, Abraxas Dynamics

6. Inquire About Internships

Career centers have more people willing to work than there are jobs. Use this to find some of the best interns out there. Talk to the counselors to post up flyers. You’re helping them find their students good opportunities.
- John Rampton, Adogy

7. Hold Workshops

Organize a workshop with the career center so you have an opportunity to interact face to face with any potential hires and get a feel for what they could provide for your business. Attending the workshop wouldn’t guarantee anyone a job, but those who attended would likely be more driven, desirable employees.
- Nathaniel Victor, Sonic Electronix, Inc.

Image Credit: careerblog.positionu4college.com

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12 Business Questions You Should Ask Yourself Today http://under30ceo.com/12-business-questions-ask-today/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=12-business-questions-ask-today http://under30ceo.com/12-business-questions-ask-today/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 19:00:03 +0000 theyec http://under30ceo.com/?p=39875   What single business-related question should every young founder ask themselves tomorrow and why? The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs […]

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 entrepreneur

What single business-related question should every young founder ask themselves tomorrow and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. What Is That One Thing?

As a founder, you’re likely doing dozens of things at once. A good way to get yourself to focus is to ask yourself, “What is that one thing we can do to move the needle?” Then be sure to prioritize that “thing” within the company.
- Jeff Epstein, Ambassador

2. Have My Employees Signed Invention Assignment Agreements?

Investors often primarily invest in the intellectual property of a company. They will insist that anyone who has done work for the company has signed an invention assignment agreement, making it clear that the work product belongs to the company. For most startups, it’s the top legal priority.
- Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

3. What’s My Exit Strategy?

It may sound odd to ask about how you’ll exit the business you’re thinking about founding, but it’s absolutely critical. It determines how you need to grow your business. If you expect to be out in five years, you’ll need to do things quite differently than if you expect to be in that business for 20 years. Begin with the end in mind so you don’t end up with no good end in sight.
- Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

4. Are We Systematizing?

In startup mode, it’s easy to go with the flow. But if you’re going to achieve consistent results, you’ll need to systematize and document your processes. Otherwise you won’t know what worked and why.
- Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

5. Am I Focussed?

The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is maintaining focus. It is so easy to get caught up in more and more exciting ideas, from small features to entirely new products. However, if you can’t focus on achieving your mission better than anyone else, then you’ll never achieve your goals. Everything your startup does should follow a focussed mission and work towards those goals.
- James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

6. Where Do I Want to Be in 10 Years?

If you can start to visualize where you want to be ten years down the road, you can start to build backwards. You can build a straight line of tasks and projects that will guide you towards that goal. You’ll have more clarity because you’ll always be doing the tasks that lead to your long term goal. This provides great peace of mind and focus on what really matters to you.
- Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

7. Would My Business Survive Without Me?

If you weren’t around tomorrow, would the business survive? It’s important to build a company that is sustainable beyond your involvement. This is freeing to both you and your employees, and you will not grow as large as possible until it happens.
- Joseph P. DeWoody, Clear Fork Royalty

8. What’s My One-Sentence Mission?

If you can’t answer this, you’re going to lose a lot of potential gains to a lack of focus.
- Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

9. Do I Enjoy My Work?

If you are not enjoying what you’re doing, now is the time to start something else — while you are young!
- Ioannis Verdelis, Fleksy

10. Do People Need My Product/Service?

There are a shockingly high number of businesses and products we can all live without. Ask yourself if what you are creating solves a real need in the marketplace, or if it’s just a flash in the pan that people might like in the short term. Starting a business is one thing, but staying in business is quite another.
- Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

11. What Is My Definition of Success?

It can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day operational tasks. Make sure you have a bigger picture of where your company is headed so you don’t get bogged down solving problems that might not matter in the long run.
- Elton Rivas, One Spark

12. Are My Prices High Enough?

A lot of young founders don’t realize what their products or services are worth, and they’ll never know if they don’t push the envelope a little. I’ve seen some great startups under-price themselves for years before realizing it.
- Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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From Basement to Center Stage – Interview with Glamour Kills Founder Mark Capicotto http://under30ceo.com/basement-center-stage-interview-glamour-kills-founder-mark-capicotto/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=basement-center-stage-interview-glamour-kills-founder-mark-capicotto http://under30ceo.com/basement-center-stage-interview-glamour-kills-founder-mark-capicotto/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:18 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=39973 Glamour Kills embraces the spirit of the underdog, from their flying pig logo to the humble beginnings of the brand. Nearly a decade after their start, this alternative fashion brand has gone from the basement to the center stage. Mark Capicotto started doing freelance art designs of CD covers, t-shirts, and logos for friends’ bands […]

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Glamour Kills LogoGlamour Kills embraces the spirit of the underdog, from their flying pig logo to the humble beginnings of the brand. Nearly a decade after their start, this alternative fashion brand has gone from the basement to the center stage.

Mark Capicotto started doing freelance art designs of CD covers, t-shirts, and logos for friends’ bands while in High School. In his parents basement in New York with a grand sum of $300, Mark Capicotto started Glamour Kills. He was working as a pizza delivery boy and had no background in business. He had little to lose and dedicated all of his free-time and energy intro the brand. Mark admits that there wasn’t a conscious decision to turn in into an actual business. The brand wasn’t formed as an LLC until several years after initial work had begun on designs. “The first couple of years was just figuring things out.”

The clothing company was founded on Mark’s love and passion for music. The company started by working with bands he had relationships with. Glamour Kills continues to work with bands today by sponsoring bands, concerts, festivals and tours. “It just made sense that if I was going to start a brand and if it was going to stand for something, why not incorporate something that I know and love?” Musical artists who were friends with Mark were happy to show off Glamour Kills apparel on tour and it became a “badge of honor” to wear.

Mark Capicotto Resized

When Kills Started Killing It

Although Glamour Kills is now a multi-million dollar company, it didn’t happen overnight. The brand grew organically until it exploded several years after it’s humble start. The third year, 2008, marked an exciting and surreal year for Mark and Glamour Kills. It started with an email from one of the buyers at the home office of national retail chain Zumiez – they wanted Glamour Kills in their stores. Previously, the startup’s sales were made online and in a few local mom and pop shops. But with this opportunity came a significant challenge from all angles.

Instead of producing a line of 100 shirts, they had to produce 2,000-3,000. Capital had to be freed up to produce these expanded lines and Mark had to figure out how to draw customers into Zumiez stores to buy his clothes. The brand released exclusive designs and promotions that people could only get at Zumiez, which strengthened their relationship with the retailer and helped make sure that their clothes would be featured in the chain for years to come.

The other significant early event that Mark calls “the most shockingly cool experience of my professional career,” happened at the 2008 Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey. Mark and Glamour Kills employees brought clothes to sell at the festival. When the doors opened, kids came rushing to their tent solely to buy Glamour Kills apparel. Every piece of clothing sold out and by the end of the event, several employees had literally sold clothes off of their back to fans. “I was shaking.” They have done many events since, but this occasion marked a transition. Mark equated these situations to a baseball player who was being called up to the major league.

Keeping Their Style

Glamour Kills takes pride in being considered the underdog. But as any underdog, when you start winning, it’s hard to be considered an underdog anymore. Mark admitted that it does get harder as time goes by, but they are not changing their style or message just because they are a growing company.

As you get bigger it becomes very easy to look at dollars and cents. As you grow you have salaries, people, and it’s more of a business. I make sure that the integrity of everything from the first day I was designing a T-shirt myself to now managing a whole design team is still showing through the same core ethos and aesthetic. The same grassroots feel we had 9 years ago.”

Glamour Kills is coming up on their 10 year anniversary, which Mark referred to as “super crazy.” They plan on celebrating in several ways, including a commemorative collection, an exclusive concert with his favorite bands, some “really cool events” and something “big and fun.” Congratulations on the 10 years Mark, you’re killing it!

The best 30 minutes you’ll spend today! Listen to the full interview with Glamour Kills’ Mark Capicotto below.

Interview Highlights

- “If you feel like you have an idea and you’re driven, go for it…what’s the worse that could happen, you fail? Failure is always an option. Be Fearless and go for it.”

- “Anybody can come up with a great design or a great idea, but it has to stem from something that’s real and honest.”

- Find out about the severe mistake that was avoided. “It probably would’ve killed the brand.”

- In reference to personal goals and entrepreneurial dreams: “Don’t subscribe to what everyone else is telling you.”

Quick-Fire Questions

How many hours do you spend a week working on Glamour Kills? 40-50 hours a week. Mark used to spend 70 hours a week (at least) during the early days of Glamour Kills, but can now leave work at work and finds himself more productive by staying fresh and well rested.

What’s the craziest concert you’ve ever been to? Glamour Kills is involved every year with the Vans Warped Tour, which Mark says is “always crazy.”

What’s the worst idea for a t-shirt you’ve ever had? Glamour Kills did a mini collection of “cute/nerdy” comic sans t-shirts with cats. “It bombed,” but Mark was sure it would work.

How much sleep do you get a night? Early on it was 4-5 hours, now it’s 7-8 hours a night so he can operate at 100%.

If you could add one person in the world to Glamour Kills as an employee, who would it be and why? Mark Echo. Although their styles are different, both started in a similar way and Echo was able to build a brand organically. Mark says that Mark (Echo) would be an “asset to have in (his) corner.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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http://under30ceo.com/basement-center-stage-interview-glamour-kills-founder-mark-capicotto/feed/ 2 Alternative Fashion,entrepreneur,entrepreneur interviews,fashion,Glamour Kills,GLMR KLLS,Mark Capicotto,Music,nyc,Vans Warped Tour,young entrepreneurs,Zumiez Glamour Kills embraces the spirit of the underdog, from their flying pig logo to the humble beginnings of the brand. Nearly a decade after their start, this alternative fashion brand has gone from the basement to the center stage. Glamour Kills embraces the spirit of the underdog, from their flying pig logo to the humble beginnings of the brand. Nearly a decade after their start, this alternative fashion brand has gone from the basement to the center stage. Mark Capicotto started doing freelance art designs of CD covers, t-shirts, and logos for friends' bands while in High School. In his parents basement in New York with a grand sum of $300, Mark Capicotto started Glamour Kills. He was working as a pizza delivery boy and had no background in business. He had little to lose and dedicated all of his free-time and energy intro the brand. Mark admits that there wasn't a conscious decision to turn in into an actual business. The brand wasn't formed as an LLC until several years after initial work had begun on designs. “The first couple of years was just figuring things out.” The clothing company was founded on Mark's love and passion for music. The company started by working with bands he had relationships with. Glamour Kills continues to work with bands today by sponsoring bands, concerts, festivals and tours. “It just made sense that if I was going to start a brand and if it was going to stand for something, why not incorporate something that I know and love?” Musical artists who were friends with Mark were happy to show off Glamour Kills apparel on tour and it became a “badge of honor” to wear. When Kills Started Killing It Although Glamour Kills is now a multi-million dollar company, it didn't happen overnight. The brand grew organically until it exploded several years after it's humble start. The third year, 2008, marked an exciting and surreal year for Mark and Glamour Kills. It started with an email from one of the buyers at the home office of national retail chain Zumiez – they wanted Glamour Kills in their stores. Previously, the startup's sales were made online and in a few local mom and pop shops. But with this opportunity came a significant challenge from all angles. Instead of producing a line of 100 shirts, they had to produce 2,000-3,000. Capital had to be freed up to produce these expanded lines and Mark had to figure out how to draw customers into Zumiez stores to buy his clothes. The brand released exclusive designs and promotions that people could only get at Zumiez, which strengthened their relationship with the retailer and helped make sure that their clothes would be featured in the chain for years to come. The other significant early event that Mark calls “the most shockingly cool experience of my professional career,” happened at the 2008 Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey. Mark and Glamour Kills employees brought clothes to sell at the festival. When the doors opened, kids came rushing to their tent solely to buy Glamour Kills apparel. Every piece of clothing sold out and by the end of the event, several employees had literally sold clothes off of their back to fans. “I was shaking.” They have done many events since, but this occasion marked a transition. Mark equated these situations to a baseball player who was being called up to the major league. Keeping Their Style Glamour Kills takes pride in being considered the underdog. But as any underdog, when you start winning, it's hard to be considered an underdog anymore. Mark admitted that it does get harder as time goes by, but they are not changing their style or message just because they are a growing company. “As you get bigger it becomes very easy to look at dollars and cents. As you grow you have salaries, people, and it's more of a business. I make sure that the integrity of everything from the first day I was designing a T-shirt myself to now managing a whole design team is still showing through the same core ethos and aesthetic. The same grassroots feel we had 9 years ago.” Glamour Kills is coming up on their 10 year anniversary, which Mark referred to as “super crazy.” They plan on celebrating in several ways, including a commemorative collection, Under30CEO clean
The E-Life with Ulife: Interview with Abe Choe http://under30ceo.com/e-life-ulife-interview-abe-choe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=e-life-ulife-interview-abe-choe http://under30ceo.com/e-life-ulife-interview-abe-choe/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=39643 Ulife founder Abe Choe had a simple request after receiving a new laptop – he wanted a University of Oregon laptop cover. Seems like a simple enough request, but after a couple frustrating searches for a laptop cover without any success, Abe decided to create his own. Several years and thousands of orders later, Ulife […]

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Ulife pictureUlife founder Abe Choe had a simple request after receiving a new laptop – he wanted a University of Oregon laptop cover. Seems like a simple enough request, but after a couple frustrating searches for a laptop cover without any success, Abe decided to create his own.

Several years and thousands of orders later, Ulife is a collegiate merchandise brand that makes licensed products including laptop sleeves, iPhone cases, memory foam pillows, Cyclone cups and more. The company has been fully embraced by the university and students, and offers students and recent graduates internships. Although Abe is just in the early stages of his entrepreneurial life and career, he embraces following his passion as an entrepreneur and it shows through his work with Ulife.

Q: In your career so far as an entrepreneur, what has been your most rewarding experience?

A: “Being able to look into any persons eyes and say that I am following my dream.”

How Did Abe Start Ulife?

After deciding that he wanted to create his own University of Oregon laptop sleeves, there was a lot of work ahead of him. The first step was getting the rights to use the official school logo on his products. Abe went to the trademark office to fill out an application. Receiving the rights to use a trademarked logo can be very difficult and this obstacle could have stopped Ulife before it ever got started.

While nearly 200 universities outsource their trademark licensing operations to the Collegiate Licensing Company, the University of Oregon controls their own trademark. This was vital to Ulife as Abe and his company could approach the university directly instead of having to go through a third party. Trademark licenses remain a hurdle when trying to expand Ulife to other universities, but it hasn’t stopped the company from growing and carving out a strong niche on the University of Oregon campus.

After applying for the trademark, he then approached friends and family to raise funding and get help with several aspects of the company. Abe flew to China to find a reliable manufacturer and an estimated $12,000 later, the first Ulife laptop sleeves were available for sale.

Pre-Ulife

Successful entrepreneurs often exhibit signs of their passion for entrepreneurship at an early age. Abe Choe, Founder of Ulife first displayed entrepreneurial prowess at the age of 9 while helping his grandma. Abe’s grandma lived in Orange County, California and had an orange groove. The oranges could be shaken from the trees and Abe and his brother would receive money for the oranges they collected off of the ground. Abe’s grandma would then cut the oranges in half and squeeze them into natural orange juice. Abe instantly saw an opportunity to complete the full process of collecting and turning the oranges into orange juice to increase the amount he would receive from grandma. The plan worked well and the entrepreneurial spark was lit.

Abe credits his success to the team at Ulife. “We have a great team that is working really hard.” Among plans for expansion and growth in the upcoming months, Ulife is working with an all-natural soap company to release a line of collegiate soaps.

What’s Next for Abe Choe and Ulife? Don’t drop out! listen to the full interview with Abe Choe below!

Interview Highlights

  • Why Ulife utilizes and benefits from a four day work week.
  • “Start something you love. The only way to get through all of the obstacles is if you love it and know there’s a purpose.”
  • “Fail quick, pivot and try again. You only need one good idea to succeed.”

Quick-Fire Questions

  • How many hours do you spend a week working on your ventures or other entrepreneurship related projects? “It’s literally every moment I’m awake.”
  • How much sleep do you get a night? “5-6 hours on the weekdays.”
  • What do you do in your free time to relax? “I read articles … listen to business podcasts … and I love watching football, playing football, and managing my fantasy football league. I’m a football junkie.”
  • What is the worst business idea you’ve ever had? “I’ve had a lot of bad ideas. Maybe the worst one was buying high-end used cars and then shipping and selling them in South Korea. The reason it was such a bad idea is because I had no way of selling these cars, I didn’t think of distribution.”
  • If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to your team at Ulife, who would it be and why? “Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church.” Abe was recently at the OC Business Summit and heard Pastor Rick Warren along with many other great speakers. Abe’s dad used to always say that the best business partner to have is God. “By partnering up with Rick Warren, I could live a purpose driven life and take it from there.”

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Law School Dropout – Interview with LawKick’s Aaron George http://under30ceo.com/law-school-dropout-interview-lawkicks-aaron-george/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=law-school-dropout-interview-lawkicks-aaron-george http://under30ceo.com/law-school-dropout-interview-lawkicks-aaron-george/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=39293 Dropout is such a negative word. Young entrepreneurs all across the country and world are ‘dropping out’ of school, but not because they are failing.  Aaron George may have dropped out of law school, but it wasn’t to take a  job or because he couldn’t handle it. He left law school to focus on something […]

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LawKick Founders

Lawkick Founders Michael Chasin and Aaron George

Dropout is such a negative word. Young entrepreneurs all across the country and world are ‘dropping out’ of school, but not because they are failing.  Aaron George may have dropped out of law school, but it wasn’t to take a  job or because he couldn’t handle it. He left law school to focus on something he was truly passionate about – lawyers. But why work with lawyers if you don’t want to be one?

Find a problem that you’re really passionate about solving. Once you find that, the pieces fall into place and your able to make it happen if you really care about it.”

Aaron may not have wanted to become a lawyer himself, but after experiencing the problems that both lawyers and people who needed legal services faced in the current market, he found his calling to offer a solution to both sides of the equation. Aaron is co-founder of LawKick, which he describes as “an online marketplace aiming to revolutionize the legal industry by making it easier and more affordable to get legal help.”

Lawkick Logo

LawKick allows users to post what they are looking for from an attorney. Attorneys who are qualified and vetted can then view the information posted and respond with a quote. The app helps people find reliable and affordable attorneys while giving those attorneys increased visibility and the ability to compete for jobs. Gap, meet bridge.

The company was founded by Aaron George and Michael Chasin in October of 2012 and has raised over $200,000 to date.

Aaron says that he’s “always been creative and a problem solver,” but he never considered it as a possible career route. He started a few blogs and websites while in college, but it wasn’t until apps started taking off when he got hooked. Aaron founded AppVentorous, which he still works on today alongside LawKick, which is his primary focus. AppVentorous created apps include Bloody Knuckles, Shadow Quiz, Sound Pop Quiz, and Word Play Games.

Asked what the most rewarding experience of being an entrepreneur has been so far, Aaron replied, “it’s rewarding to see something that I created out there in the world and see other people using and benefiting from it.”

Although he may have dropped out of law school, there’s no giving up for Aaron George – only passion and dedication. Kudos to Aaron for recognizing that his academic path wasn’t getting him closer to who and what he wanted to be, but stopping him from getting there. If everyone could dropout from what they hate to pursue something they love, the world would be a much better place.

Get your kicks by listening to the full interview below!

Interview Highlights

  • How the co-founders went from the idea stage to launching the business.
  • An unexpected customer acquisition hurdle the company faced and how they dealt with it.
  • How LawKick is acquiring end users through providing quality content.
  • In response to the end goals with LawKick: “Of course every entrepreneur wants that exit, but it can’t really be all about the money. It’s gotta be the passion, solving the problem, and making the world a better place.”
  • Career as an entrepreneur: “ It’s a journey, not a destination. It’s all been rewarding. A lot of ups and downs.” “The entire process of being an entrepreneur is rewarding in itself.”

Quick-Fire Questions

  • How many hours do you spend a week working on your ventures or other entrepreneurship related projects? “At least 60-80 hours. Definitely the majority of my time.”
  • How much sleep do you get a night? “Probably 6 or 7 hours every night.”
  • What do you do in your free time to relax? “In the little free time that I do have, I enjoy snowboarding a lot. Hanging out with girlfriend , friends, beach, relaxing, sports.”
  • What is the worst business idea you’ve ever had? A ‘Hot or Not’ like mobile app. Aaron came up with the idea and started to push forward as fast as possible to get it going. Apple rejected the app. After changes and a lot of additional time and money invested in the app, it was still rejected. Aaron “found out there is no get rich quick scheme in entrepreneurship.”
  • If you could add one entrepreneur n the world to your team at LawKick, who would it be and why? “Elon Musk would be my #1 guy. He is someone who tackles these huge problems. He is an inspiration to me.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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http://under30ceo.com/law-school-dropout-interview-lawkicks-aaron-george/feed/ 0 Aaron George,ceo,entrepreneur interviews,fundraising,LawKick,Lawyers,Legal Assistance,Legal Help,Michael Chasin,startups Dropout is such a negative word. Young entrepreneurs all across the country and world are 'dropping out' of school, but not because they are failing.  Aaron George may have dropped out of law school, but it wasn't to take a  job or because he couldn't ... Dropout is such a negative word. Young entrepreneurs all across the country and world are 'dropping out' of school, but not because they are failing.  Aaron George may have dropped out of law school, but it wasn't to take a  job or because he couldn't handle it. He left law school to focus on something he was truly passionate about – lawyers. But why work with lawyers if you don't want to be one? “Find a problem that you're really passionate about solving. Once you find that, the pieces fall into place and your able to make it happen if you really care about it.” Aaron may not have wanted to become a lawyer himself, but after experiencing the problems that both lawyers and people who needed legal services faced in the current market, he found his calling to offer a solution to both sides of the equation. Aaron is co-founder of LawKick, which he describes as “an online marketplace aiming to revolutionize the legal industry by making it easier and more affordable to get legal help.” LawKick allows users to post what they are looking for from an attorney. Attorneys who are qualified and vetted can then view the information posted and respond with a quote. The app helps people find reliable and affordable attorneys while giving those attorneys increased visibility and the ability to compete for jobs. Gap, meet bridge. The company was founded by Aaron George and Michael Chasin in October of 2012 and has raised over $200,000 to date. Aaron says that he's “always been creative and a problem solver,” but he never considered it as a possible career route. He started a few blogs and websites while in college, but it wasn't until apps started taking off when he got hooked. Aaron founded AppVentorous, which he still works on today alongside LawKick, which is his primary focus. AppVentorous created apps include Bloody Knuckles, Shadow Quiz, Sound Pop Quiz, and Word Play Games. Asked what the most rewarding experience of being an entrepreneur has been so far, Aaron replied, “it's rewarding to see something that I created out there in the world and see other people using and benefiting from it.” Although he may have dropped out of law school, there's no giving up for Aaron George - only passion and dedication. Kudos to Aaron for recognizing that his academic path wasn't getting him closer to who and what he wanted to be, but stopping him from getting there. If everyone could dropout from what they hate to pursue something they love, the world would be a much better place. Get your kicks by listening to the full interview below! Interview Highlights How the co-founders went from the idea stage to launching the business. An unexpected customer acquisition hurdle the company faced and how they dealt with it. How LawKick is acquiring end users through providing quality content. In response to the end goals with LawKick: “Of course every entrepreneur wants that exit, but it can't really be all about the money. It's gotta be the passion, solving the problem, and making the world a better place.” Career as an entrepreneur: “ It's a journey, not a destination. It's all been rewarding. A lot of ups and downs.” “The entire process of being an entrepreneur is rewarding in itself.” Quick-Fire Questions How many hours do you spend a week working on your ventures or other entrepreneurship related projects? “At least 60-80 hours. Definitely the majority of my time.” How much sleep do you get a night? “Probably 6 or 7 hours every night.” What do you do in your free time to relax? “In the little free time that I do have, I enjoy snowboarding a lot. Hanging out with girlfriend , friends, beach, relaxing, sports.” What is the worst business idea you’ve ever had? A 'Hot or Not' like mobile app. Aaron came up with the idea and started to push forward as fast as possible to get it going. Apple rejected the app. After changes and a lot of additional time and money invested in the app, it was still rejected. Under30CEO clean
This Bus Runs on Passion – Interview with Ricky Berrin of SalesBus http://under30ceo.com/bus-runs-passion-interview-ricky-berrin-salesbus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bus-runs-passion-interview-ricky-berrin-salesbus http://under30ceo.com/bus-runs-passion-interview-ricky-berrin-salesbus/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 15:00:43 +0000 Michael Luchies http://under30ceo.com/?p=39152 SalesBus Founders Rickey Berrin (left) and Seth Murphy (right) Entrepreneurs are often fueled by passion. When asked what’s important in vetting an idea to pursue as an entrepreneur, Ricky Berrin responded, “Make sure it’s something you are passionate about because you’re going to be spending a lot of time on it. The second part is […]

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RickyandSethNYUEF

SalesBus Founders Rickey Berrin (left) and Seth Murphy (right)

Entrepreneurs are often fueled by passion. When asked what’s important in vetting an idea to pursue as an entrepreneur, Ricky Berrin responded, “Make sure it’s something you are passionate about because you’re going to be spending a lot of time on it. The second part is making sure what you’re building is something people actually care about and want.”

Ricky is a passionate entrepreneur who started his entrepreneurial ride at a young age selling mangos on the street with his sister. In 2012, Ricky and his team SeeMore Technology took home a share of $75,000 in NYU’s Technology Venture Competition. Since the competition, he has also been involved in the Dorm Room Fund, served as the co-president of the NYU Entrepreneurs Network, and worked in business development at The Fancy.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs?

A: “Make it happen. Go for it!”

It’s been a crazy past few years for Ricky, but so is the life of a young entrepreneur. “You may have a lot of obstacles and it’s going to be tough. You have to recognize that going in, but for me it’s been extremely rewarding and the challenges are really exciting. I think it’s probably better than any job you could get.”

SalesBus

Ricky describes what they are doing with SalesBus as “empowering individuals to become sales people for their favorite products.” The startup has created a platform where companies can post their products, which will then be sold offline in a direct selling style method by a young sales force. After running a successful a pilot program at Rutgers University last semester, the company is now launching a campus representative program on multiple campuses in the Northeast.

Ricky was working at The Fancy when he realized the strong relationship that people have with products they love through websites like The Fancy and Pinterest. Being in love with tech products and cool new toys is nothing new, but the ability to share with friends and the world has never been stronger thanks to technology and resources to do so. The power and influence of a friends’ recommendation fuels billions of dollars of purchases each year. The emergence of direct selling and multi-level marketing is a product of the effectiveness of referrals and selling to your inner circle. SalesBus is matching up direct selling with products chosen by the seller, allowing the seller to promote what they are passionate about.

We all are passionate about something. Ricky has clearly found his passion with entrepreneurship and is counting on the passion of others to share what they love to fuel SalesBus.

Jump on the bus and stay a while! Listen to the full interview with Ricky Berrin below.

Sources

Direct Selling Association

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http://under30ceo.com/bus-runs-passion-interview-ricky-berrin-salesbus/feed/ 1 Chicago Startups,entrepreneur interviews,Ricky Berrin,SalesBus,Seth Murphy,startups SalesBus Founders Rickey Berrin (left) and Seth Murphy (right) Entrepreneurs are often fueled by passion. When asked what's important in vetting an idea to pursue as an entrepreneur, Ricky Berrin responded, SalesBus Founders Rickey Berrin (left) and Seth Murphy (right) Entrepreneurs are often fueled by passion. When asked what's important in vetting an idea to pursue as an entrepreneur, Ricky Berrin responded, “Make sure it's something you are passionate about because you're going to be spending a lot of time on it. The second part is making sure what you're building is something people actually care about and want.” Ricky is a passionate entrepreneur who started his entrepreneurial ride at a young age selling mangos on the street with his sister. In 2012, Ricky and his team SeeMore Technology took home a share of $75,000 in NYU's Technology Venture Competition. Since the competition, he has also been involved in the Dorm Room Fund, served as the co-president of the NYU Entrepreneurs Network, and worked in business development at The Fancy. Q: What’s your best piece of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs? A: “Make it happen. Go for it!” It's been a crazy past few years for Ricky, but so is the life of a young entrepreneur. “You may have a lot of obstacles and it's going to be tough. You have to recognize that going in, but for me it's been extremely rewarding and the challenges are really exciting. I think it's probably better than any job you could get.” SalesBus Ricky describes what they are doing with SalesBus as “empowering individuals to become sales people for their favorite products.” The startup has created a platform where companies can post their products, which will then be sold offline in a direct selling style method by a young sales force. After running a successful a pilot program at Rutgers University last semester, the company is now launching a campus representative program on multiple campuses in the Northeast. Ricky was working at The Fancy when he realized the strong relationship that people have with products they love through websites like The Fancy and Pinterest. Being in love with tech products and cool new toys is nothing new, but the ability to share with friends and the world has never been stronger thanks to technology and resources to do so. The power and influence of a friends’ recommendation fuels billions of dollars of purchases each year. The emergence of direct selling and multi-level marketing is a product of the effectiveness of referrals and selling to your inner circle. SalesBus is matching up direct selling with products chosen by the seller, allowing the seller to promote what they are passionate about. We all are passionate about something. Ricky has clearly found his passion with entrepreneurship and is counting on the passion of others to share what they love to fuel SalesBus. Jump on the bus and stay a while! Listen to the full interview with Ricky Berrin below. You can contact Ricky at Ricky@SalesBus.com Sources Direct Selling Association Under30CEO clean