Dave Lukas Chats with Leon Ifayemi and Nick van der Velde
118: The Misfits of Fireside 2018, Leon Ifayemi and Nick van der Velde
This week we have a very special episode with two Misfit Entrepreneurs Leon Ifayemi and Nick van der Velde. This episode was recorded live at Fireside Entrepreneurship Conference in September 2018. I was invited to speak at the event and do a show for the audience.
I wanted to do something unique for the show, so I came up with the idea that when I got to the event, I would spend the first day meeting unique entrepreneurs and find ones that had incredible stories, insight, and wisdom to share.
I met a number of incredible people, but really enjoyed my initial conversations with Leon and Nick, and was honored to have them join me for this episode.
Leon is a former Barclays investor, but left that life to start a very unique company called Space, that’s SPCE. SPCE is the rental ecosystem, revolutionizing the way in which the higher education community and the universities which enroll them, connect with the property market. Through a very unique app, they help students find the best places to live on campus. Think of them like an Uber for campus living.
Nick is a social entrepreneur, TedX speaker and founder of Impact Consulting. He helps companies find the synergy of creating a social impact with their business and maximizing profitability. Additionally, he helps companies in their funding pursuits.
I really enjoyed my time with these awesome entrepreneurs and I know you will learn a lot from them, tune in and get ready to take some notes, here is my interview with Leon Ifayemi and Nick van der Velde from Fireside 2018.
Leon came up with idea for SPCE in his 2nd year of university. He had a job of helping students find housing in and around campus. He realized what a challenge it was for students, landlords, and property management companies, so he came up with the idea. But, as young graduate, he didn’t have the capital, so he went into investment banking at Barclays and then Rothchild where he was responsible for managing $2 billion. It was there that he met the investors that would eventually invest in SPCE.
Nick grew up in the Netherlands. At 19, he realized that he had to go abroad. He came to Toronto, CA where he excelled in class. While there, he was connected with a real estate investment group that ended up sponsoring him to immigrate to Canada to live full time in 2012. Nick has interesting background in that he was a breakdancer who helped lead campaigns for RBC, SCION, Nokia, and others. In parallel to that, he applied for a job as a “business developer.” He walked into a non-profit and they wanted to create a business model that balances for profit value in creating revenue, but practiced non-profit values increasing the quality of life of a community. Nick was able to raise over $750k for the project in a year. He is now a principle consultant for Impact Consulting and to date has raised over $1.1 million.
Leon, what did you learn from banking that has helped you most as an entrepreneur?
Nick, explain social entrepreneurship and how it can help you grow as an entrepreneur…
“Millennials are becoming the one in control of spending dollars in a community and are driven more by empathy, so the trend is toward one of social entrepreneurship.”
What is the coolest thing you’ve found about entrepreneurship that you never expected?
What is a habit that you have created or adopted that you feel gives you an advantage over your competition?
Action items you do to foster this way of thinking and approaching life?
Best piece for advice for an entrepreneur starting out today?
What have you learned about yourself on your journey so far?
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