I owe a ton of my early success to Temple University. The entrepreneurship program was my first glimpse into understanding what it takes to structure an idea into a tangible reality.
Hobby: Outside of building my organization, I enjoy spending time with my family, especially with my 1 year-old nephew. I also enjoy reading a new book, traveling around the country looking for the best hiking spots, and watching the Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite Food: I do my best to live a healthy lifestyle…but I cannot resist a good batch of buffalo wings.
Hometown: Warminster, PA
Year Graduated from Temple and Degree: 2013, Advertising & Account Management major, Entrepreneurship minor
What inspired you to start your own company?
When it all started in 2012, I never thought it was the beginning of starting a company. I was simply connecting a problem I was facing (getting my friends booked for shows in Philadelphia) with the resources available to me (a fraternity basement). After about a year of coordinating shows with my friends in basements & local bars…I realized we had something bigger on our hands. It was an opportunity to create impactful experiences for creative people all over Philadelphia, and hopefully soon – all over the world.
The inspiration that struck me to make this into an actual company was the people around me. Creative entrepreneurs around me believed in the mission and wanted to help collaborate in producing the shows.
Describe your entrepreneurial journey.
The entrepreneurial experience is all about the journey. It’s being able to be persistent enough to endure all of the challenges, pivots, and “failures” along the way. From 2012-2014, I started my first company called the Broad Street Music Group. After producing hundreds of shows in Philadelphia, my team decided we had an opportunity to make a bigger impact. That’s why in 2014, we made the biggest pivot to date and launched REC Philly.
During this journey, it has been the ability to keep an open-mind and being ready for any opportunity that has made the difference. Over and over again, from 2012 to 2016, we had doors slam in our face, plans fail, and much more. But with every failure came a new opportunity, a new perspective, and another day to start fresh.
What has been your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge in this journey has been related to funding. The music industry is not very attractive to investors, nor is it obvious on where you can build a sustainable business. In order to build our organization, it was always on the strength of the people involved in the mission. Considering our lack of funding, paying our most passionate team members has always been a challenge. How do you keep team members motivated to keep working & grinding without consistent pay? Thankfully, our mission and vision of the company has always been apparent and our team members were happy enough just being a part of this journey & gaining the experience.
Who is your mentor and why?
My mentors have always been my parents. My father, who is also an entrepreneur, has instilled in me a sense of independence and grit that I take with me to my work everyday. My mother is where I get my will to chance my dreams. She gives off the type of energy that makes you want to live the best life possible, and that is what I think about when I wake up every morning.
What’s next for you and your business?
REC is in the process of opening up a new music venue in Philadelphia – while at the same time opening a new Creative Community Center called The REC Room. Both projects are meant to provide unmatched resources to our creative community. We see these spaces taking our organization to the next level. We are also continuing to grow our REC Membership Program.
Coming up in 2017, I will be at South By South West (SXSW), a music, film and tech festival in Austin, Texas. Last year, REC Philly recruited the entertainment programming and staged a sold-out concert headlined by Philadelphians DJ Jazzy Jeff and Lil Dicky.
I also created a Philadelphia pavilion at SXSW in conjunction with Fox alum Yuval Yarden, program director at Philly Start Up Leaders. Together we staged an Amplify Philly booth, complete with a “LOVE” statue replica and eight smaller booths for Philly-based startups. (Read more about David’s SXSW experience in Temple Magazine, p. 48.)
How have Temple’s entrepreneurship program and/or the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute contributed to your entrepreneurial journey?
I owe a ton of my early success to Temple University. The entrepreneurship program was my first glimpse into understanding what it takes to structure an idea into a tangible reality. From their business competitions to their guest-speaking programs, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the country.
What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?
I could go on and on with small bits of advice, as I’ve learned so much from my own trial and error, but here are a few noteworthy gems:
- Smile. Everything you do, do it with a smile. When you’re meeting new people, planning with your group, or just working alone…always remind yourself to do it with a smile.
- Persistence. Don’t be discouraged because someone didn’t answer your email…follow up. And follow up again. Check back in with that important person in your network…ask how they are doing. Just keep on going no matter what obstacles you run into.
- The people closest to you are the most important factor in your success. It’s all about energy, and the people around you will influence that energy. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals, and a similar work ethic, and a great attitude.
- If you want something done, and done right…you’ll do it yourself. It’s that simple.