Pictured above: (from the left) Mary Beth Mitesser, Maribeth Grant, Carrie Carrington, Lauren Starkey, Christin Healey, GAP 50 Winner Adam Healey,
John DeMarchi, and Andrew Culver.
CIT: Tell us about you.
Adam: I am an Internet entrepreneur, a guest lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, and a start-up coach for promising young businesses. I have two business degrees from the University of Virginia (McIntire ’97 & Darden ’05), and currently reside in Charlottesville, Virginia with my wife, two dogs, and a cat.
I started my first Internet business, Samba Digital Media, in 1999 when I was 24 years old, and grew it to 50 employees and $4 million in annual revenue before our venture investors decided to wind down operations in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble.
I launched my second Internet startup, hotelicopter, in 2006, after graduating from Darden. My co-founder and I raised $5 million from high-net worth investors, grew the company to become one of the largest hotel meta-search sites online, and successfully sold the business to Room Key in 2011. Room Key is owned by the six largest hotel chains in the world.
I launched my third Internet startup, Borrowed & Blue, with my beautiful wife in 2012. We are quickly becoming a major player in the wedding industry, where we help brides imagine, plan & share their dream destination weddings.
CIT: Tell us about your current venture.
Adam: Borrowed & Blue is focused on helping brides imagine, plan and share their dream destination wedding. We launched a year ago in March in just one market, and have rapidly grown to 12 markets. We'll be in 40 markets by year-end. The response from both brides and vendors alike has been overwhelming, and we're now focused on becoming one of the pre-eminent players in the wedding industry.
Pictured above: Borrowed and Blue Founders, Christin and Adam Healey
CIT: What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Adam: Persist. Believe in yourself and your business. Recruit people that are better than you and get out of their way. Bootstrap your startup. Find a revenue model fast and focus on getting to profitability asap. Be able to clearly define your value proposition and your unique positioning in the market in 30 seconds or less. Be objective about everything. Be your own strongest critic, and your greatest cheerleader. Inspire. Lead. Teach. Learn. Be humble. Exercise regularly. Stay hungry. Love what you do.
CIT: What events/meet up groups are essential for startups?
Adam: None. What's essential is spending time with good people and investing in building your personal network, one lunch/coffee at a time.
CIT: How important is collaboration / knowledge sharing to you?
Adam: Critical. Invest in others, and share openly, and you'll generate karmic rewards.
CIT: What makes your city's tech scene unique?
Adam: Charlottesville is filled with entrepreneurial, intelligent, and generous people that genuinely care about your success. I'm biased, but I think Charlottesville is the best place in the world to start a business.
Co-founder of Borrowed & Blue