Breaking the Bounds of Startups and Entrepreneurship

Breaking the Bounds of Startups and Entrepreneurship

By Tyrese Thomas


From its evocation of tenacity to its incitement of creativity, I am passionate about entrepreneurship.

In my eyes, all entrepreneurs do one thing: discover a problem and dare to solve it. We think of our current technologies and knowledge bases as the best they have ever been, but with the curiosity of entrepreneurs who identify a flaw or lapse in efficiency in our routines or inequity in society, we continue to innovate and create solutions.

Understanding this concept at the start of my Freshman year, taught me how to think like an entrepreneur, but I still had no idea where to start. “What problem(s) of interest should I and can I solve?” “Who can I recruit for a team?” “What is my vision for my venture’s impact on society at large?” These are the questions I asked myself in an endeavor to spark an idea and/or finally begin transforming my thoughts and questions into reality. However, I soon learned that I needed to gain experience from current entrepreneurs who are bringing their own ideas to fruition. This was my impetus for joining BrandVerge.

Bringing the fun back into Media Partnerships.

BrandVerge is a media-technology company which has created a platform to facilitate high-touch media partnerships between media companies and advertisers to subvert the arduous RFP process and re-introduce efficiency and creativity into media partnerships. This endeavor to subvert an archaic narrative captivated me from the start. So, once I stepped foot into their office in mid-february, I wondered how BrandVerge operated and sought to discover how BrandVerge intended to shift the routine of the entire media industry.

“More Meetings, More Business”

Is what Mollie Kehoe, one of BrandVerge’s co-founders, would say each day and is the slogan by which I would characterize my BrandVerge experience. From dawn until dusk, the BrandVerge team was on the move. From virtual coffee chats to in-person meetings, Ben Gold and Scott Marino, Director of Publisher Development and Director of Marketplace Partnerships respectively, bounded from company to company around New York City pitching decks and booking partnerships deals. Marc Devens, Director of Product, analyzed platform data, troubleshooted, and optimized the platform to provide the best experience for our clients. Mollie and Lynn Browne, BrandVerge’s co-founders, did it all.

I was thrown right into the furrow. Rather than completing futile tasks, I was trusted to do tangible work that shaped BrandVerge. By updating demo decks, conducting data analytics and market research, assessing consumer experience trends, event planning  and contacting valued stakeholders and investors, I was able to become apart of the BrandVerge team and become immersed in the fast-paced startup environment.

Communication and Collaboration are not a cliche

Furthermore, I discovered that communication and collaboration are not just some cliche characteristics you read in a “Relationships 101” help book. In fact, these traits are crucial in the team building and success of any startup. BrandVerge’s routine team debriefs and meetings to hear from the sales and product facets of the business were pivotal in ensuring an understanding of each person's progress and providing a venue to engage in provocative discourse and finding solutions to our problems. A startup’s success is likely not due to the works of an individual. Instead, it is collective action and ideation that gives rise to tremendous successes.

Yes, startups and entrepreneurship can be an ad-hoc environment where you never know what’s coming next.  However, what BrandVerge taught me is, with tenacity, adaptability and collaboration, you can overcome these challenges. This is the very reason why I see BrandVerge as the future of brand partnerships. They will have unimaginable success. I may not yet have that salient problem I’m teeming to solve  or quite know how I seek to leave an impactful mark on the world, but I do know that whether its in social entrepreneurship, fashion, e-commerce, law or all of the above, BrandVerge has endowed me the grit to flip the script. In my journey as a leader, innovator, and entrepreneur, I will draw from BrandVerge’s successes to similarly subvert narratives and lead change and innovation.

 

Tyrese Thomas is First-Year student at Columbia University intent on majoring in Sociology and Business Management. Among other things, he is intrigued by venture capital, fashion business, entrepreneurship, policy, and promoting diversity and inclusion for Black and LGBTQ+ communities. Throughout his college career, he seeks to further his thought-leadership and impact. He aspires to figure of leadership and tenacity in New York City and beyond.

Lynn Browne