Whop: How Gen Z graduate Steven Schwartz built a $250 million market for digital entrepreneurs

Steven Schwartz was only 13 years old when he started his first business. Like many teenagers his age, he wanted a pair of sneakers—kind of Nike Kobe 7 Easter shoes to be exact – but his parents didn’t pay for them.

Instead of stomping his feet in protest, he found a like-minded teenager. FacebookCameron Zoub, to help him build a bot that can buy limited edition sneakers for people before they sell out.

“We basically spent the next eight years building a lot of different products,” Schwartz said Luck. “We built marketplaces, we built consumer apps, we built games, we built social networks, we built SAS companies, staffing agencies, and we did pretty well.”

Now in their mid-20s—and at least 22 side jobs later—Schwartz, Zoub and third co-founder Jack Sharkey are running Whop, a marketplace for digital entrepreneurs. Think Etsy meeting LinkedIn.

The platform, which launched in 2021, is now valued at about a quarter of a billion dollars and processes about $400 million in transactions per year, according to Schwartz.

22 sides hustle in the process of formation

For those old enough to remember dial-up Internet, it’s hard to imagine building an online business and moonlighting as a tech boss after school.

But for a generation that grew up playing on smartphones instead of on playgrounds, going into business isn’t so far-fetched.

In fact, the second fastest growing job title among Gen Z graduates today is “founder,” according to LinkedIn.

“My generation doesn’t want to work in consulting or banking. They don’t even want to be astronauts anymore. They want to create content online, they want to find customers online, and they want to find friends online because the internet is so powerful,” Schwartz said.

“Being educated with more information about what people can do, why would they want to do something that is not the most elite and most enjoyable experience for them?”

It’s not just Gen Z that embraces the trend of being their own boss.

Being able to work where and when you want during the pandemic has awakened the entrepreneurial spirit in many people—and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Schwartz.

“Everyone in the world wants a side hustle,” he added. “They don’t really want to do a 9 to 5 job anymore, they want to do something they’re more passionate about.”

The only problem? Many people have nowhere to connect with customers.

For those who make pottery or paint in their spare time, they can sell their work on Etsy.

But when Schwartz discovered “hundreds of thousands of people” trying to buy and sell software on Redditt, he knew the gap in the market could be filled.

“We saw it as a great opportunity to build something that could help streamline the process and ensure that more people could participate in this market—at the time, there was no enablement factor. Customer support, no reviews, not organized. pay.”

Now, he says 4 million people a month are turning to Whop to tap into their inner Jeff Bezos.

Launched at least 22 side hustles—from a disappearing chat tool like Snapchat before Snapchat existed with its college hamburger delivery service—before finding success with Whop, Schwartz had some sage advice for those looking to jump into the business: Just do it.

“We learned that failure is a form of implication,” Gen Zers say. “Some of them will hit and some of them won’t.”

It sounds exhausting, but Schwartz says it’s simply a matter of picking yourself up and trying again. Indeed, Whop wouldn’t exist if Schwartz gave up business venture No. 5 and took an office job.

Schwartz’s main lesson? Just don’t let the fear of failure stop you from starting.

“The biggest lesson is that you have to start a business if you want to. You cannot be successful in business if you do not start a business. That’s step one,” Schwartz laughed. “So I think just doing it is a huge thing and not really worrying about ‘what if this doesn’t work?’ Because, what if it worked?”

Mentorship with Tinder co-founder and support from Peter Thiel

It’s not just remote freelancers who believe in Schwartz’s vision.

In its latest round of funding earlier this month, Whop raised 18 million USD.

But it wasn’t until the digital marketplace had about 1,000 monthly users earning about $1,000 a month that investors started paying attention, Schwartz said.

Just an initial investor brought in Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and was the first outside Facebook investor to come on board and introduce Schwartz to Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen.

“We talk all the time,” the 25-year-old commented about his relationship with Mateen, before pulling out his phone and reading the most recent message of encouragement the investor-turned-entrepreneur sent him. Older brother.

“His advice, to paraphrase, was ‘good things take time and it’s quite a long game—a marathon, not a sprint,’” he read.

“People tend to get a little cranky like ‘why doesn’t everything just happen all of a sudden’, but in reality it just takes a pretty long time and if you can persevere through it, his philosophy That’s you’ll definitely do very well.”

That being said, this young CEO has big ambitions for his company’s success.

“In five years, we want to create a sustainable income for 1 million people every month, and our sustainable income is $2,000 a month,” he said.

“In the long run, we think everyone in the world will make money on the internet. We think the Internet is powerful enough that literally everyone in the world can use our platform to make a living.”

But ‘the human interaction is still really great’

Despite looking toward a future where people abandon traditional corporate careers to make money online on their own terms, Schwartz doesn’t follow the same mantra at home; Whop’s 50-person workforce is mostly expected to commute to the company’s “aesthetically pleasing” Brooklyn headquarters most days.

And, he doesn’t see how the two conflict.

“It doesn’t feel like a desk job — it’s the least desk job ever and for that reason, I don’t think it’s really tied to making money online,” he added . “People can make money online while working with people in person.”

In his eyes, young people’s discomfort with working in the office is not about wasting time and money on commuting or being able to enjoy the work-life balance at home but because Office space is outdated.

“They hate offices they don’t like. But if it’s an office run by Gen Z, it’s going to be a great office,” he emphasized while listing many reasons why Whop’s workspace is superior to the standard vertical tower your standard.

“We’re a shoe-free office, we have lots of great snacks, everyone has really nice screens, and I think the goal is to deliver the best experience,” he said. “We have a room with a piano, a big photo wall, a podcast studio, and a sauna and steam room in the basement.”

“We want to make sure that everyone is in a really good state of mind, including me.”


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button