Here’s a one minute snapshot of the last 20 years for Jim. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Jim was running his own company, Gift Express, Inc which he sold and exited in 1999. He then worked for another startup company that was acquired and then Liberty Media, also acquired. Through the now St. Louis famous Jim McKelvey (think Square and Twitter founder), Jim E. was introduced to the founder of Lockerdome, Gabe Lozano. For the last two and a half years Jim E. has worked tirelessly to help get Lockerdome to where it is today, over 15 million users. “It’s been a good run and we've got a long way to go, but it appears to be heading in the right direction.”
Now up to about 27 employees, Jim E. describes Lockerdome as the Facebook for sports. The platform lets you keep a collection like Pinterest, but with your sports life. Things are progressing quickly. As a matter of fact, they even opened a New York office this past March!
What does Jim E. spend a lot of his time doing? He’s usually on the phone with professional athletes and their agencies to get them set-up on Lockerdome and help them find brand opportunities. No big deal. Only the coolest job, ever.
Working for a startup means long hours and it’s no different for the folks at Lockerdome. Many days begin before 8am and end well after 10pm. All of this time away from his family can be a bit challenging. “I have a couple of kids so it’s a little bit of a strain because I’m one of the older guys.” Jim E.’s oldest daughter is heading to college soon and has forgiven him for the time he spends away (in exchange for a text plan and the car).
His 12 year old daughter, adopted from China, is missing dad. “She likes the time we used to spend together...but it’s tougher now.” Her outlet is drawing comic strips about him being away. “But that’s part of the commitment of coming on board with a startup, you have to sacrifice.”
Jim E. and I are hoping that the startup community in St. Louis continues to grow and bring more jobs (I recently read that there are over 300 people now working for startups in downtown St. Louis). He was willing to sit down with me for a coffee because he wanted to be able to help TrakBill if we needed it.
Nearing the end of our coffee conversation I told Jim E. how excited I was for St. Louis. He agreed. “Yea, a lot of good things going on. Puts me more on the senior side, but yet when you get to my age it gives you more because you've been around and been through a lot of experiences. But it’s exciting to kind of share and see the generations... you want them to succeed. So you want to give back. You don’t necessarily come up with as many great ideas as you get older and older. It’s more fulfilling to see those happen instead of ‘let me try and hit another one out of the park’.”
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