Here are some of the projects I’ve worked on in the past. Each venture taught me different skills that have shaped the entrepreneur I am today. Without these learning experiences, I would not be able to do as well as I am at Stark Carpet.
90s Festival – Brooklyn, NY
This year I decided to get back involved with my old business partners from Prime Social Group to organize a nostalgia music festival called 90s Fest.This is for all of us who miss the 90s. I’m excited to see all our hard work come together on September 12th 2015 as a partner, investor, and festival goer.
Thru.im was a web app that enabled you to transact with businesses to place orders, make reservations, and ask questions through text messaging. We were awarded a 12-month tenancy in TechArb, won most dynamic team in TechArb, raised $30k in grant from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and had a BIG paying customer. Ultimetly, we shut it down for 2 reasons: there were too many moving pieces in areas that we (the founders) did not have experience in and we could not find the right CTO to lead our engineering team. I worked on this company for about a year and a half, and shutting it down was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.
Although it didn’t work out, we still got some great recognition for our efforts winning 2 awards at the UMich Ross BPlan competition and the Samuel Valenti Award for Exceptional Entrepreneurial Development. We also got some great press from Ross and the Huffington Post
If you want to learn more about what we did, check out this slide deck.
MGo Bike Blue
I worked closely with the Parking and Transportation Department at the University of Michigan my sophomore year at school to develop a plan for bringing Bike Sharing to campus. Bike Sharing is one of the new forms of public transportation – it is healthy, environmentally friendly, and fun! What is bike sharing?
“Bicycle Sharing is an emerging form of environmentally friendly public transport that fills the gaps for those trips that are too far to walk and too close to drive, for those who wish to bike but cannot or do not want to own a bike. Think “Zip Car” for bikes. The industry is growing at a rapid pace with the number of bike share programs in the world increasing from sixty to nearly one hundred over the course of 2008, and should continue to rise as sustainable development grows around the world. Although first exclusively operated in major European cities, such as Barcelona, Paris, and Milan, these systems now exist across Asia, South America, and North America.” For more info, click here.
I ended up taking a class to get credit for working on bringing Bike Sharing to Michigan, and this was my final deliverable and here is some press we got. We even got the university to sponsor a business trip for me and David Spiro to meet with the largest Biek Share system manufacturer in the world! The venture didn’t work out, but I still believe that all college campuses should have a system like this. For more info on bike sharing, check out the Bike Share Blog
Epic Campus was a promotions and event planning service for club parties, concerts, and fraternity and sorority date partie. We coordinated and produced concerts ranging from 300-7000 people attendance with artists like Kid Cudi and Deadmau5; production costs ranged from $3,000-$100,000. We also coordinated weekly Thursday night dance parties for UM students where I would DJ if we didn’t fly someone in, and we assisted in the digital marketing for events we partnered on at other colleges across the country.
My favorite event we coordinated was a Steve Aoki College Tour where we booked him in 3 college towns in 4 days and got to take a tour bus with him between all of them. After generating significant revenue in our first year, I decided that I wanted to pursue something in technology instead of in event production so we (the founders) went our separate ways. One started a digital marketing company and the other started another promotions and event production company – both are KILLING IT! I am still involved part time in both of those companies.
BIg 10 House Mafia
B10 is an electronic music blog that I started in 2008. It thrived for almost 4 full years before all of our writers graduated from college and became too busy to continue writing. This was definitely one of my most fun ventures to date.
DJ Chad Stark
My love of music has always been hard to contain. In line with starting a music blog and organizing concerts around North America, I figured it would be both cost effective and fun to learn how to DJ. It’s easier to learn how to DJ today than it The tech-nerd I am made the transition to SCRATCH live easy has ever been thanks to technology. I bought 2 basic CDJs, a cheap mixer, and the SCRATCH LIVE software. Hours in my room combined with intuitive software got be up to speed in about 6 months. I quickly learned how to mix at football tailgates across the country, and then perfected his mixing skills by spinning night clubs in New York and Las Vegas, opening for big name DJs like Tiesto and Martin Soulveig, and closing for Djs like Dada Life and Thomas Gold. All of my collegiate business ventures – this included – inspired me to graduate almost a full year early to independently teach himself music production. I reached my goal of producing a great song called, “Stand Clear” that got picked up as its own EP by a record label called Prep School Recording. Take a listen if you ride the NYC subway…I think you’ll get a kick out of my vocal right before the drop 🙂
Rowl – The radio owl
More info coming soon. But this site will change the way you discover and listen to music…
CDS Designs was my attempt in high school of leveraging Stark Carpet to create something cool. I designed 3×5 foot customizable area rugs for college dorm rooms. I had designs for 10 schools and a rep at each of the schools to build demand for the product. However, I lost focus once I got to college. This venture taught me how starting a business is more than just a conceptualizing something. In order to succeed, I learned you need to be “flexibly persistent.” Now that I am at Stark full time, let me know if you want something like this! 🙂
#RichestOnTheWeb was a project I created during the 2011 Hacka2thon. It was a social bidding platform that enables you to become the Richest Person on the Internet. The way it worked was simple. You could “bid” to become #RichestOnTheWeb and have your name displayed at the top of the website so you got social recognition. The biggest system was the cool part. Bids started at $10, and in order to become #RichestOnTheWeb. you had to bid more than the current richest person. However, bids were fixed and you were only able to bid $1 more than the previous leader. Upon becomging #ROTW, you would tweet at the 2nd place person, bragging how much richer you were.
It was a great project and we had over 25 paying customers in our first night. The plan was to evolve the platform into #AnythingOnTheWeb – a socially fund raising platform for charities to raise money through our unique bidding system. Even though we advanced past the first round of the Michigan Busienss Challenge at Ross, our team did not stick together and we shut down the project.
I created the concept for a lounge in Ann Arbor my freshman year in college . Baraaf was a hookah lounge that would double as a place to study and get coffee during the day and a cool hangout spot at night. I was charging full steam ahead until a conversation I had with a Ross professor Len Middleton. This was our conversation:
Len: “Do you want to own hookah lounges after you graduate?”
Chad: “Well, no. I’m just doing this now.”
Len: “Then why are you doing it at all?”
I stopped working on the project that night.