Three young entrepreneurs with Fox connections named to PBJ 2012 Watch List
Philadelphia continues to rise to prominence as a hotbed for forward-looking businesses. Driving this progress is an assortment of young innovators with entrepreneurial spark. Meet Fox School graduates Matt Mealey and David Gloss, and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management alumnus Shawn Bullard – three of the 12 entrepreneurs Philadelphia Business Journal (PBJ) handpicked for special mention in “Who to Watch in 2012.”
Gloss is leading nonprofits into the world of tech. Bullard is reinvigorating urban neighborhoods. And Mealey is building a powerful brand around a culinary craze. Together, these entrepreneurs – all 30 or younger – are driving Philly forward. And experiences at the Fox School of Business have helped drive them.
Gloss’s Fox School of Business International MBA launched him on a global career path. He spent much of his yearlong graduate program studying in India, China and Japan. After graduation, he managed tech-firm Ryzing’s team of India-based software developers. He was quickly promoted and moved into charity partnership and development.
Experience in software design and nonprofits proved an unlikely match made in heaven. Gloss realized that many charities need to go digital but don’t know how.
He knows exactly how. And he knows how to turn that engagement into nonprofit growth and social betterment. So he founded Here’s My Chance, a Philly-based startup that connects local not-for-profits with online opportunities. Right now he’s teaching nonprofits basic social media and plans to introduce a suite of tools for online interaction and fundraising.
“Though this is only recognition that I have potential, it was your advice, guidance, inspiration and friendship that helped me start on the path,” Gloss wrote in a message to Fox faculty members. “From my first revelation in Chris Starr’s class to the EMC project in Israel to presenting at Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures to my independent study with Professor (Youngjin) Yoo, I knew I was on the right path. I just didn’t realize how quickly I would get started.”
Bullard came to Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) with one mission and no apologies: he wanted to become a millionaire. Pro football was his first plan of action. But a broken femur prompted Bullard to implement plan B: building student housing in neighborhoods surrounding Temple.
“I know what the students want,” Bullard told PBJ. “[And] by being a minority and doing real estate in a predominately black community, [community members] understand me and I understand them.”
Konkrete Investments started small – Bullard bought his first property in 2004 with a $12,000 bank loan. But by 2009 he had a vision for expanding Temple’s off-campus housing stock. He brought it to the Temple Be Your Own Boss Bowl, hosted by the Fox School, and won, adding $50,000 to Konkrete’s capital stock.
Bullard now oversees 11 properties – 12 once he breaks ground on a new $2 million apartment complex.
Mealey was an entrepreneur with a problem. His Fox MBA left him itching to start his own business. But he was already poised to inherit his family’s furniture company.
Now there are two businesses in the Mealey family. When furniture sales went slack, Mealey launched a startup with a product with soaring demand. Kiwi Frozen Yogurt was born.
The frozen yogurt frenzy was born in California in 2005 and was destined to hit Philly. But when Mealey opened his first Cherry Hill location in 2009, no competitors had caught on. In two years, Kiwi Frozen Yogurt expanded to six locations and employed more than 135 people. Mealey plans to open four more branches by year’s end.
“[We had a] window of opportunity to grow and dominate the market for frozen yogurt,” Mealey told PBJ. “We knew competition was coming… [so] we grew quickly, chose successful locations and strove to get better and better. ”
– Carl O’Donnell