Everybody Can Be An Entrepreneur
with Andre Swanston
In this episode of the Making Bank podcast, we welcome guest Andre Swanston. Andre Swanston was born in the Bronx, New York, and is a proven leader and entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in marketing, finance, and starting and scaling companies. Andre has also completed the fifth largest exit of any black CEO. He was the former CEO and Co-Founder of Tru Optik. Under Andre’s leadership, Tru Optik has become the preferred over-the-top data and technology partner for many of the world’s largest media companies, brands, and agencies. Before founding Tru Optik, Andre served as a Vice President of Investments at JP Morgan Chase. He also led the Media and Entertainment division at a boutique investment bank in New York City. Today Andre serves as the Senior Vice President of Media & Entertainment Vertical at TransUnion.
This week on the podcast, Andre dives into the future of digital media and OTT. He also talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, both in terms of the business side and the mindset perspective.
Listen to Josh and Andre discuss being an entrepreneur:
(2:18) Andre’s Introduction To Entrepreneurship
Even from a young age, Andre always had an entrepreneurial mindset — he was always trying to do things differently. His first steps as a “real” entrepreneur would come in college; he was known as the Cables Zap guy. He bought a cable zapper for 350 dollars and charged people 100 dollars to zap their cables. Then once he had reached his junior year of business college, he started to work as a promoter for parties and events, and eventually, that led to Andre opening up his own nightclub at the age of 23.
(7:46) Andre’s Big Break In The Digital Space
Working as a small business owner exposed Andre to the types of media needed to market to people. He identified a massive opportunity in the future of marketing: the shift from traditional to digital media. Even though Andre didn’t really have much venture capital behind him, he was able to get ahead of the curve because he bet everything on connected TV to be the future of media consumption, and he was right about it.
(16:25) The Future Of OTT And Digital Advertising
Andre believes that the future of OTT and digital advertising is a company’s ability to be agnostic. When it comes to privacy and someone who’s going to be a steward of data, you need someone that you can trust. That’s why while the space continues to evolve, there needs to be a responsible third party that can be trusted to be impartial and act as a source of truth and understanding.
(19:22) The Biggest Challenges That Come With Selling Your Company
Every industry is different, so depending on your industry, you will have different industry-specific challenges when you go to sell. With most businesses, you’d have to focus on traditional business metrics, but it’s different when it’s a tech startup. So it’s essential to understand things relative to the industry you’re in so that you can go about growing and valuing your business correctly. Surround yourself with people with a different natural market or relationships or network because it widens the opportunities for exposure for your business and lets you look at things differently.
(26:10) Tips For Entrepreneurs
There are a few things entrepreneurs need to focus on. The first is to get the most out of your life experiences. Your experiences are valuable because there are lessons to be learned. You don’t need money, learn to trust your gut and motivate yourself. The second thing is to persevere — never quit early because you’re going to regret it. As an entrepreneur, you need confidence, ambition, and the willingness to take risks, but it’s only your ability to persevere that will keep you focused and ensure that you succeed.
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