The 4A's Transformation Startup Showdown, sponsored by TechCrunch, was a chance for some smaller, newer businesses to get in front of big agencies and other marketing professionals and show off just what they could do. We encountered some amazing young innovators there and were able to spend a few minutes with some of the best and brightest minds in the industry to discuss their current success and how they got there. We asked three of the standout stars of the Showdown the five things that helped them get where they are today. Here's the who and the how.
Jonathan Lacoste – jebbit.com
At the tender age of 21, Jonathan is already the co-foun der and Chief Operating Officer of the Boston-based advertising technology company, Jebbit. Recently recognized as the #1 startup at SXSW, Jebbit is changing the way people engage online.
How did he get here?
- Finding inspiration in the time spent with his two younger brothers.
- Gaining a memorable and impactful experience at Boston College.
- Learning how to become the best—in the hockey rink and in life.
- Taking an internship in China under the influence of a great CEO mentor.
- Sacrificing sleep and telling people he’s 21—when he WAS actually only 20 (it sure helps when you may have been at the bar with him).
Nanxi Liu – enplug.com
Nanxi’s impressive career began in college, when she founded Nanoly, a biotechnology company that later received the Dell Social Innovation Award and accolades from NASA. Today, she’s the co-founder of Enplug—a tech company specializing in real-time digital ads designed for physical social spaces.
How did she get here?
- Surrounding herself with people smarter and more successful than herself and learning from them.
- Working (and living!) with a great team.
- Slacking off in college* and focusing on her true and many passions. (*not that she's promoting slacking off in school, by the way.)
- Taking risks and always willing to try new experiences.
- FAILING – and learning what not to do by starting lots of companies—some successful, some not.
Robert Graham – branderapp.com
A watch-loving tech guy, Robert spent a short time on Season 9 of The Bachelorette. Now, he is the CEO and co-founder of Branderapp.com. Operated by a small team in LA, Brander connects companies with thought leaders to create authentic social engagement—in layman’s terms, word-of-mouth impact—whether you have a huge or small following on social media channels, Brander will pay you to promote a “brand.”
How did he get here?
- Embracing old-fashioned hard work and the support of his family.
- Living in LA, a land of unique opportunities.
- Being able to walk to work and not waste time in crazy LA traffic.
- Always being passionate about what he does.
- Going hard and straight CRUSHING IT.
Our industry is changing on a near daily basis and it was especially inspiring to hear these innovative people speak about their businesses and their newest developments. Seeing our peers commanding a forum like the 4A’s and having their ideas resonate around the room was particularly satisfying. As Chris Weil mentioned in his opening remarks, the future of our industry is bright, in no small part thanks to the abilities and creativity of our fellow millenials who are rapidly creating new ways for us to be more effective, to measure, to create and more.