The idea for FoundersCard came from my own experience as an entrepreneur.
In 1998, I started a company called VarsityBooks.com. The idea was to revolutionize the old-fashioned textbook industry by bringing it online. We raised over $40 million in venture capital, hired over 200 employees and went public – all in less than two years. Then, as quickly as that happened, it all changed even faster. Weeks after our IPO, the market crashed and within months, we were de-listed. But, we refused to give up. We completely changed the business model away from a consumer-facing dot com that required significant marketing costs and deep discounts to becoming an outsourced solutions provider for schools and colleges. Schools and colleges that did not want to operate their own bookstores could use our service to run their bookstores on our online platform. This approach allowed us to virtually eliminate marketing expenses and the heavy acquisition costs that doomed so many early dot coms. We built the business back up and in about two years got re-listed on the NASDAQ and eventually sold the company several years later.
Throughout my experience, which had more than its fair share of challenges to which any entrepreneur can uniquely relate, it always seemed strange to me that it was the top executives at large companies and investment banks that enjoyed incredible access and privileges and not the entrepreneurs. I remember thinking that it should be the entrepreneurs, the true value-creators that most deserves these benefits. As I thought of my next venture, I realized that I really wanted to create an amazing community around networking and benefits specifically for entrepreneurs.
With the launch of FoundersCard, we aimed to create a community that would specifically benefit and reward entrepreneurs while re-inventing the membership model in the process. Unlike so many membership organizations that become tired and stale, we set out to create a dynamic community centered on our members. This is why our members contribute benefit suggestions, share insights on their experiences with benefits, and even create insider deals for fellow FoundersCard members.
There are two primary components to membership that go hand in hand to creating the FoundersCard experience. One, an ongoing series of events that allow members to meet, share, and connect in person and two, an amazing collection of member benefits. The goal of each benefit is to provide our members with a one-of-a-kind, best-in-kind value with elite access. With over 15,000 members and growing, FoundersCard is now a thriving member-centric community. We’re excited to continue our mission.