Our YEC and FounderSociety communities are made up of exceptional professionals across a range of industries. From one-man shops to offices of hundreds, each member finds success in their own way. To help these passionate young entrepreneurs find the support system and resources most ideal for their level of business, we’ve split YEC and FounderSociety according to certain business financials. As the businesses grow, their needs change -- and it is extremely exciting for us to watch our wonderful community members reach milestones and goals that allow them to graduate from FounderSociety into YEC. We are honored to be a part of each of their journeys, and to help them move into a new community with resources to fit their growing needs. Highlighted below are some of these fantastic entrepreneurs, their companies and their accomplishments.
Nate Andorsky: Partner and Chief Product Officer of Creative Science Labs (Washington, DC)
“Entrepreneurship is often glamorized and is portrayed as; brilliant idea --> build app ---> get rich. In reality, the idea itself is the easiest part of the whole process. The ability to execute, find out what customer really want and deliver is the hard part.”
This is something Nate Andorsky has proved his experience in as he started the design, development and web strategy company Creative Science Labs with Josh Behshad and Will Grana in 2013. Joining FounderSociety in 2015, Nate was looking for new opportunities to expand their knowledge and reach. Citing the “caliber of intelligent people” as a largely important aspect of his membership thus far, Nate is excited to connect with an even broader group of entrepreneurs now that they have surpassed the $1 million revenue mark.
The biggest thing Nate is hoping to bring to other YEC members is his blend of technical and business skills as a self-taught developer. He’s happy to help provide insight on how to take an idea and develop, test and implement a technical solution. One area of expertise? Building nonprofit websites. A recent build of Creative Science Labs, a website for The Case Foundation was ranked as one of the top 20 nonprofit websites.
Brian Chiou: Co-Founder of Orbose and Chief Technology Officer of LeanBox (Boston, MA)
Since joining FounderSociety in 2015, Brian’s company Orbose -- a turnkey retail and marketing automation software solution founded by Brian and his business partner in 2012 -- has made a number of strategic partnerships, which ultimately pushed him to YEC. Their biggest partner is LeanBox, a company that provides fresh food out of kiosks in offices. Brian credits this partnership as the reason he was able to graduate from FounderSociety to Young Entrepreneur Council -- which he’s been thrilled about, stating "I feel as if there is a family of entrepreneurs waiting to answer any difficult questions I may have."
While he’s keeping mum on some big upcoming news, he did provide advice for his fellow entrepreneurs: "Hustle and humility is a recipe for a successful partnership." Brian’s all about problem-solving, and can't wait to help match relevant YEC members with the right products to help them succeed.
Sean Christman: Founder and CEO of Slamdot, Inc. (Knoxville, TN)
Celebrating 10 years in business when he joined FounderSociety in 2015, Sean Christman’s affordable digital marketing service Slamdot, Inc. was gearing up to finish the year strong. Extremely unique in that they have an innovative retail storefront, they also offer bi-weekly SlamCamp workshops for those in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. The company was able to make the move up to YEC by increasing their focus “on the development of monthly services that drive recurring revenue,” says Sean. Specifically, he is focused on beta testing an all-in-one reseller hosting and client management platform for agencies, called Panel, which is the basis of their recurring revenue model.
While he recommends seeking him out if you’re looking for help building a brand, lead generation, customer service, sales and marketing, his nugget of advice for fellow entrepreneurs is to “invest in development of proprietary technology that gives you significant competitive advantage within your industry that's not easily replicated.” His go-to YEC resource is the members-only Facebook forum, as he's happy to learn from others and offer his own advice in active discussions.
Max Coursey: President, Broker and Realtor at Tiger Prop, Inc. (Boise, ID)
“Before I die, I would like to give or save our clients over $1 billion” -- bold words from Tiger Prop Inc. President Max Coursey, but he aims big and tries to make his real estate business an industry changer, having already come within the $1 million range of this saving/giving goal. At just 2.5 years old, his business has grown to 24 agents and an unconventional retail space - it also houses a high-end art and furniture gallery, has a coffee shop being built in and a print shop underway. He credits the company’s explosive sales growth as his catalyst to graduating into YEC.
Max advises that you should use your business to “make the world a better place,” and he's doing that personally by changing the real estate game and giving back to his customers. As for FounderSociety’s role in his business, he says that the numerous media opportunities have helped them to spread the word organically about Tiger Prop and their mission to be different and change an industry.
Nathan Klarer: Founder and CEO of Bridgecrest Medical, Inc. (San Francisco, CA)
After joining FounderSociety in 2015, Nathan Klarer and his company Bridgecrest Medical completed a round of funding in order to accelerate their product launch in September - which also accelerated them into YEC. The company connects wearable and mobile health technology to an analytics platform, with a goal of reducing accidents, improving productivity and reducing insurance costs at heavy industrial companies. Growing steadily at 20 percent month-over-month, they have high hopes for the years to come as the “resources sector begins to emerge from the trough they have been dealing with.”
Nathan notes that “it is extremely important to find a network of mentors that buy into you and your vision. They will help you establish yourself as an entrepreneur and create mutual success.” Armed with that mindset, he looks forward to meeting like-minded entrepreneurs within the YEC community as he continues to grow. He hopes to be able to help his fellow entrepreneurs as well, with his specialty lying in “commercializing unique and valuable intellectual property that create marked improvements for an industry.”
Melinda Nicci: Founder and CEO of Baby2Body (London, England)
Melinda Nicci’s company Baby2Body launched in January of 2015 with just a handful of subscribers - one year later, it had 100,000 users and daily email open rates of 50 percent (and the company is still growing by more than 10,000 subscribers per week). It was this rapid growth and success that enabled Melinda to land a seed investment round and graduate into YEC. Baby2Body focuses on creating a generation of healthier children by helping new and soon-to-be moms live happier and healthier through daily advice and encouragement. The company covers everything from the growth and development of your child to fitness, nutrition and wellbeing. They also add occasional beauty advice and offer daily inspiration.
Melinda is happy to help her fellow entrepreneurs when it comes to guidance with funding, growing a community, doing business in Europe or other general mentoring. Her biggest piece of advice: “Trust your gut and don’t take no for an answer. Persistence and hustle will get you far.” While Baby2Body joins the 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley this summer, Melinda is excited to connect with like-minded people and grow her network across the globe through YEC.
Chris Swenor: Founder and CEO of East Coast Product (Boston, MA)
While his words of advice are that “nobody knows what they are doing, do not be afraid when you realize you don’t either” - it is clear Chris Swenor and his East Coast Product co-founder, Ivan Blazevic, have figured out how to do a thing or two. Started at the end of 2014, they were able to grow consistently month-over-month and ultimately reach $1 million in revenue within their first year. It was this level of growth and accomplishment that graduated the company into YEC. This success was found as the digital product agency works to enhance and assist existing teams with the app development cycle - from strategy to design to user testing to development.
Chris’s go-to member benefit is the monthly Q&As, saying, “it gives me an opportunity to do what East Coast Product does best: offer help.” Ways he wants to offer his fellow YEC community members help are through his years of experience in product and app development, as well as his understanding in managing large teams of 20+ developers with multiple focuses. And his team keeps on growing - they’ve hired five new employees in the last two months alone!