This episode of Bootstrapped features UMD alumna Lauren Foundos ’06, a former Maryland varsity field hockey player, and Founder and CEO of FORTË. After years of working in the finance industry, Foundos left the stability of her well-paying job to start FORTË, a technology company that helps gyms and studios livestream their classes. An entrepreneur ahead of her time, Foundos came up with the idea for FORTË after inviting her clients to her daily gym workouts. As global lifestyles shifted after the COVID-19 outbreak, the FORTË model became an investment win, with demand increasing by the second. Tune in as we discuss raising capital with big-time investors, entering the tech space with no tech experience, and the importance of perseverance amidst a venture’s most troubling moments.
On this episode of Bootstrapped we discuss running a business in a post-COVID world with Oliver Schlake, Clinical Professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. With years of academic and professional research under his belt, Schlake is a dictionary for all things entrepreneurship. We dive deep into the pressing questions of our time, including adapting a venture to our changing economy and planning ahead for life after quarantine. In our conversation, we learn how entrepreneurs can prioritize their business operations and optimize their time to sustain their business in an uncertain future. Join us as Schlake highlights the importance of resilience and capacity for agility in this highly requested Bootstrapped feature.
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we sat down with our Entrepreneur-in-residence Harry Geller ’81, who has over forty years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, investor, and mentor. Geller shares invaluable insights and real-world advice from his experience turning his startup Global Mail into a 60 million dollar success. He also takes us through the startups and investments that followed, including running fine-dining establishments that turned into 10 million dollar businesses. Through his journey as a mentor and angel investor for the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship, he discusses what is needed to scale a venture and run a business through tough times. Tune in now, and grab a pen and paper because you’re going to want to take notes!
This episode of Bootstrapped features the story of University of Maryland alumni entrepreneur Aaron Epstein ’03, founder of Creative Market. From small beginnings in his college dorm room, Epstein started Creative Market by creating a color-matching web-based service during the dot com boom. After graduating from UMD, he became a self-taught developer and designer to turn his website into an app. Through eventual partnerships with his Co-Founder and collaborations with Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, Epstein was able to transform his idea from a website that generated petty cash to a a full-on marketplace for graphic design assets from independent creators around the world. Join us as Epstein shares what he wishes he would have known as a young entrepreneur and how his connections in San Francisco aided him in making strategic decisions for his company.
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we talk PYT -- not the Michael Jackson song, but rather the clean beauty brand. Maryland Smith alumna Mary Schulman ’97 discusses her entrepreneur journey as the founder and CEO of PYT Beauty, a makeup brand that offers beauty without the BS, that is, without the harsh chemicals contained in beauty products that can be toxic to the skin. Prior to PYT, Schulman founded a Natural snack company called Snikiddy Snacks in 2006. The company gained the attention of Utz Quality Foods, which bought the company for their delicious puff products. Utilizing her past experience as a founder and her finance background, Schulman decided to launch PYT Beauty. Listen and learn how her daughter inspired the company’s mission, how she’s using her marketing strategy to stand out in the beauty industry, and how she’s managing a team of people who live in different states.
On this episode of Bootstrapped, we dive into the story of Amanda Nachman ’07, founder and CEO of College Magazine. A QUEST Honors Program alumna and English major, Nachman began her venture with an idea that she submitted for a business project. Nachman envisioned a trusted guide on how to navigate college, an idea that ultimately became College Magazine. In 2007, Nachman launched the print publication at the University of Maryland and structured her company through an ad-revenue model. She went on to win Kevin Plank’s Cupid’s Cup student business competition, and today the company reaches over nine million readers. Tune in to learn how Nachman built her online platform, designed fully integrated marketing campaigns, and ultimately inspires young professionals to unapologetically pursue their passions.
This episode of Bootstrapped follows the story of QUEST alumnus Sahil Rahman ’12, co-Founder of RASA, an Indian Fast Casual restaurant located in Washington, D.C. Equipped with a bachelor’s degree in Operations and Supply Chain Management, Rahman launched his career as a Business Analyst for Deloitte. Then, in 2014, he and his childhood best friend, fellow UMD Alum, Rahul Vinod ’11, followed the footsteps of their restaurateur fathers and started RASA. The duos vision for delivering traditional Indian food through the lens of a trendy, fast-casual restaurant has attracted tremendous attention and numerous accolades. In fact, the company is planning a major area expansion alongside NFL Redskins star Vernon Davis. Listen now to learn about building customer loyalty, attracting angel investors and climbing the ladder of the culinary industry.