Millennial sold first company for 6 figures at 21. Here are his tips

When Kevin Kim dropped out of college at the age of 21 to become an entrepreneur, it seemed like a big gamble.

“My mother cried a little bit,” said Kim, now 33, with a smile.

But his confidence is not unfounded. Kim just sold his first company – the one he founded when he was 18 – for “six figures”.

It’s no small feat, as his initial capital was just $2,000, which Kim said he saved from working part-time.

He told CNBC Make It that his e-commerce company imports streetwear from South Korea and sells it across North America.

Achieving the right product for the market is really hard, it takes years. You need to ask yourself… Am I really interested in this industry? Can I see myself building around this in 10 years?

Kevin Kim

Co-Founder and CEO, Stadium Live

“After I sold my first company, it was easy to make a decision,” said Kim, who immigrated to Canada from South Korea when she was 11 years old.

“No vision or alignment… I’m a civil engineering undergraduate but I want to create services and products for different audiences.”

Kim then spent nearly 10 years building digital products for other companies and startups, before venturing out on her own in 2020 with Stadium Live — a metaverse app for sportsman.

application allows users to customize their own avatar, purchase digital collectibles, socialize with other fans in a virtual room, participate in interactive sports live streams or play mini games .

What is Metaverse and why are billions of dollars spent on it?

The startup has raised $13 million to date, including Series A funding led by 35 Ventures by NBA star Kevin Durant, World Cup champion Blaise Matuidi’s Origins Fund, and Dapper Labs Ventures.

CNBC Make It explores Kim’s three secrets to running a successful company.

1. Founders fit the market

Entrepreneurs often attribute the success of their startups to finding the right product for the market.

But for Kim, what he calls a “market fit founder” is even more important. That means the founder is really passionate about what he is building.

“Getting the right product for the market is really hard, it takes years. You need to ask yourself, do I really like what I’m doing? Am I really into the industry? Can I? build yourself around this field in 10 years?”

They could get in and make money, but they burned out faster than other founders who were a good fit for the founder’s market.

Kevin Kim

Co-Founder and CEO, Stadium Live

Kim says he knows he’s always wanted to build products around four areas that work for him — sports, gaming, music, and fashion.

“I know founders, for example, [launched] a SAS startup has accountants, but they don’t even study accounting,” Kim said.

“They could get into it and make money, but they burned out faster than other founders who fit the founder’s market.”

2. Close the gap

Still, product-market fit is still critical to a business’s success, Kim said.

“Without a product that fits the market, you won’t be able to survive as a business because there’s no real supply or demand between your product and your audience.”

Meeting the needs of consumers has made his companies successful. In fact, Kim started his first e-commerce business because he wanted to find clothes that would fit his “style and size”.

“I never did that with brands in the US and Canada at the time,” he says.

“It really started out as a personal preference and need… I quickly realized that other people had similar needs.”

Stadium Live is a metaverse app that allows sports fans to customize their own avatars, buy digital collectibles, or play mini-games.

live stadium

3. Don’t take company culture lightly

According to Kim, establishing a strong vision and set of values ​​for your team is “extremely important”.

“Why should talented people join your company and grow with you? This question can’t be answered with just the product you’re building, but also the company and culture you’re building. build,” he added.

Kim emphasized the importance of company culture cannot be underestimated if it is to build an “iconic long-term company”.

I witnessed this firsthand as a fifth employee and watched the company grow to 50. The culture transforms itself every time the company doubles in size.

Kevin Kim

Co-Founder and CEO, Stadium Live


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