ANDREW SIDER: VarageSale
Andrew was born an entrepreneur. He started a little landscaping business in high school, and knew he wanted to do more once he got to college. He got involved the way a lot of people do, a class talk, but we all know everyone has their own story…
Education: University of Western Ontario – Richard Ivey School of Business
Rookie Year: 2002 (turf: Niagara on the Lake, ON)
Current Home: Toronto, ON
“I was super impressed with my general manager. I guess the rest is history.”
Andrew had a rough first year at College Pro – really rough. By the time he got to his 20th failed sales call, his dad told him it was okay that it wasn’t working out, and just to embrace the experience. Andrew’s numbers were telling him that he was going to lose a lot of money, but he picked himself up and turned the business around to end the summer with over $100,00 in revenue! “College Pro taught me how to work hard. I signed up again for the next two years and loved it every year”. What he really has to say about College Pro? “College Pro is really tough work, and it’s a super meaningful experience. It’s cool to see yourself transformed at such a young age and get those fundamental learnings at such a young age. Some people sign up thinking it’s a job, and get upset when they fail, but I encourage any young entrepreneur to dive in, head first.”
Andrew’s Business Skills
“The first thing I ever learned at College Pro was to ask for the job. I always used to think that was being rude, but I was taught to just ask for the job and how to address a ‘no’. That’s unlocked something in me ever since.” Andrew uses that skill on a daily basis, whether it’s for raising money or recruiting employees. “College Pro also taught me how to keep my eye on the prize, so to speak. Goals are so important, and it’s important to understand your numbers when you’re working towards them”. Andrew went on to another startup, and is now CEO of his company, so it’s pretty clear how his goal orientation has helped him.
After school Andrew went into management consulting at The Monitor Group before getting involved as co-founder in tech start ups such as Band Page (acquired by YouTube) and Bunch, a mobile discussion app which was quickly acquired by the company where Andrew is currently CEO, VarageSale. VarageSale is an app to buy and sell safer; your online garage sale. The classified section can be creepy and anonymous, but this gives users a safer and more comfortable experience. Users shop with their real identities with reviews and photos to stay accountable. Andrew and his team of 55 have raised over 34 million dollars for the community driven app.
Andrew’s words of wisdom
“Entrepreneurship is hard.”
That was the core of Andrew’s message, “you really have to be in love with the rollercoaster. I go through eight transition curves a day, but I love the journey. It’s ruthless, but it’s exiting if you like to learn and you’re open to failing and you’re driven by creation.” It comes with a lot of work, and a lot of sacrifices – time, family, travel, not making money…it’s challenging. Most entrepreneurs take five years to figure out if their company will find success, but if you persevere, the reward is sweet.
I love hanging out with other entrepreneurs, learning from them and sharing war stories (he usually runs into a couple fellow College Pro buddies!)
Andrew loves to scuba dive
His brother also ran a College Pro franchise