Elite Daily Co-Founder Gives Back to Newark
Taped on the campus of NJIT, Gerard Adams, Founder and CEO of Fownders, describes starting his career as the co-founder of Elite Daily and after achieving success, giving back to Newark through his organization Fownders.
"I'm Steve Adubato. We are at the New Jersey Institute of Technology talking about innovation with innovators like Gerard Adams, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer, of an organization called FOWNDERS. How you doing? I'm great. Thank you for having me Steve. Our pleasure. FOWNDERS is? A social impact accellerator providing progressive education to the principles of entrepreneurship here in Newark, New Jersey. And what made you start it? Well, so I grew up local. And I wasn't one of the smartest kids and you know, growing up, I wanted to make my parents proud. I wanted to go to college. I felt college really wasn't for me. I didn't want to get into the student loan debt crisis. I had to drop out. I really couldn't find a lot of mentorship. It was tough. And I had to figure it out on my own. And I failed big time. And overcame that adversity, and luckily, built a amazing company in 2011, and the name is Elite Daily. And I went through this... Elite Daily? Yeah. I went through a whole journey of what it was like to be an entrepreneur. You know, with an idea. And you know, after going through failing so many times, finally seeing what it was like to go from this idea in an apartment to 200 employees. And we sold... 200? Yeah. Sold for? We sold for 50 million, to a billion dollar company, the Daily Mail, in 2015. So aft... What was that like? It was... like the... like a movie. It was literally like a movie. I... it was a dream come true. And that board meeting and that last moment, you know, when we had to make a final decision, it was like surreal. Really surreal. And we celebrated, and you know, my two other co-founders were 18 and 19 when we first had the idea, and I mentored them. So afterwards, I didn't know what was next. Right. But... Yeah, what did you do for an encore? [laughter] So yeah, I mean that's what I went through. Right? Yeah. [laughter] It was tough. Is that where FOWNDERS comes from? Yeah. What is it? The idea of helping others, and sharing what you've learned? Yeah. And bringing experts, bringing these entrepreneurs I've built relationships with, and mentors I've been able to build relationships with, over my career and you know, bringing them to Newark and... By the way, why Newark? Well, my father went to Barringer High. My grandparents grew up here on Cutler Street. My grandparents grew up on Cutler Street, and my father and mother went to Barringer High School. Oh! [laughter] We are close to a wonderful old school, old First Ward... That's right. Old First Ward..."