Casually over lunch, Shane told me that Spenser and him have actually been entrepreneurial partners for a long time, and that UpSeated was only one of the many entrepreneurial ideas the two have taken into action. I then asked them, what about entrepreneurship was so attractive? Both of them answered along the lines of: “Entrepreneurship allows you to change the world.” And it is both Shane and Spenser’s mentality to revolutionize the world as well as to pursue something they are genuinely passionate about that inspires me so much to pursue my own interest in entrepreneurship. Here are two college students who are literally the same age as me already actively creating enterprises to change the world. And it isn’t simply saying that UpSeated is something people will want that is enough for the idea to become a successful venture. Shane and Spencer have already conducted countless customer discovery interviews in order to learn what sports fans and stadiums really need and want, and have even pivoted their business idea as a result of their findings. After asking Shane a couple of questions, I was able to learn more in depth about his current experience through the DTX Launch Detroit program as well as his entrepreneurial background.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in the DTX Launch Detroit program?
"I wanted to advance my business knowledge as well as having the ability to work hands on with real ideas that I felt passionate about. The DTX Launch program provided that for me and enabled me to network and meet other enthusiastic creators in my position."
Q: What have you learned or gained from the program so far?
"The program has been eye opening for me. I have learned so much about what it takes to get the ball rolling from an idea to an actual product. I have learned what it takes to pivot an idea to better fit the market and build a solution that is needed."
Q: Do you have any past entrepreneurial experiences? If so, what are they?
"I have always been an entrepreneur. When I turned 13 I learned photoshop and sold logo designs to my customers online. I then created a Photoshop instructional YouTube channel that I grew specifically to market my business. Since then I have started an online store selling hoverboards all over the country. I was even able to deliver hoverboards to major music artists such as Skrillex and Diplo. I also managed an online food delivery startup that gain traction at campuses across the nation."
Q: Do you see your current entrepreneurial idea becoming a success in the future?
"Yeah, I do see this as a success. I think without the help of the program it wouldn’t be where it is today. But if not this one, I’m positive that what I’ve learned in the DTX Launch program will bring success to a future venture."
Q: What is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome with your current entrepreneurial idea?
"A big hurdle that we have had to jump over is the fact that sports business is a tightly knit group. Each individual has their unique agenda that make it difficult for newcomers."
Q: What is your perception of Detroit? Has it changed over the years?
"I have a personal connection to Detroit. My family has lived here for three generations and it’s a very unique place. Over the years in my lifetime, Detroit has become more cool, safe and fun. I used to only visit to see a Red Wings game but now I find myself hanging downtown quite often."
Q: How do you think Detroit can improve its public image and continue to revitalize its economy?
"I think Detroit can be brought into the national attention by becoming a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Not only will it bring more jobs into the city it will help to improve the economy. Detroit is known for its hustle and showing it off will help."
Q: Who is the coolest DukeEngage intern and why?
"I think that the DukeEngage program needs to step up the admissions with some cooler people… Just kidding. All the DukeEngage interns are great, super hard working and fun. Except for Joe."
So for now Shane, keep on working hard, you got this. And to all my fellow DTX Launch Detroit friends out there, I'm rooting for you!