The Next Generation - Page 3 of 4

The Next Generation

Lezama, then _executive director at NSBE, wanted to make the organization automated and increase its functionality. “The closest thing out there cost $1 million,” Ryan says. And so Lezama asked me, ‘Can you build that?’ And I said, ‘Sure I can.’ I was 23 years old. What did I know? So I ended up building it for them.” Once Ryan knew he could build it, he thought it was his opportunity to _become an entrepreneur. “It was a rough ride for me, not really having a lot of work experience and not having experience building these products. How do I monetize it and position it and market it and grow it? These are all things that you learn through trial by fire.”

Venture capitalists, however, liked what they saw. VC firms _Enhance Capital and Advantage Capital anted up a total of $3 million. Thanks to that investment, the company rolled out its product in 2007 and now has 35 clients and expects revenues of $2 million.

For Ryan, the lack of risk aversion paid off in spades. “The way I look at it, I feel fortunate to even have the opportunity to take the risk. If it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out, but there’s no way I can get to where I want without risk.” –Alan Hughes

Scott A. Graham, 29 Founder/CEO, Xtreme Personal Assistant Concierge Service (Newport Beach, CA)
At 29, Scott A. Graham has been an entrepreneur for nearly a de
cade, starting Xtreme Personal Assistant Concierge Services (XPACS) while a student and basketball player at California State University, Fresno in 1999. Through his coach, Jerry Tarkanian, Graham met many professional athletes and noticed that they often had no time for personal errands. His solution: “Concierge services could alleviate unnecessary stress from their lives,” Graham says.

He started doing odd jobs, such as making restaurant reservations and handling travel arrangements, charging anywhere from $10 to $100 in commission. Having completed two corporate summer internships, Graham, an international business major, decided to focus on his business full time. “There were too many restrictions in corporate America,” he says. “I like creating my own opportunities.”

Graham sought funding from friends and family. He also attended business conferences at Stanford University, where his sister was a graduate business student, and pitched his idea to anyone who would listen and provide money to invest. “I would meet venture capitalists or individuals who had connections,” he recalls. “I shook a lot of hands, would run stuff by them, and some of them took a liking to me.”

In all, Graham raised about $25,000 to get started, with most of the money going toward marketing materials and travel costs. To find clients, he met athletes and agents at sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game. Graham also started serving the entertainment industry. “A lot of entertainers would be at those events too,” he says.

By 2004, XPACS (, based in Newport Beach, California, had contracts ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. And by 2006, the