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Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022
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Twenties: Daniel Pourbaba

SoCal Student Mattress, an online mattress and furniture store that sells to students, Venice

EMPLOYEES: 4

FINANACIALS: “We’ve done $20,00 to $40,00 in revenue in a given week.”

What was the biggest challenge starting your own company?

I was a young college student trying to start a mattress company. With mattress stores on every corner and (usually awful) commercials on every TV channel, this was a highly competitive, mature and saturated space that could eat alive the new kid on the block. The greatest challenge was simply accepting all my limitations and then creating a realistic, profitable business model around it.

Where did you get the startup money?

I developed a business plan. I began marketing to students before the beginning of the fall semester or before actually having any mattresses to sell. As soon as there were enough buyers, I pulled the trigger and asked my family to borrow $10,000. The terms? To be paid back in full within 48 hours with no interest. Luckily, the lending terms were not broken.

How many hours a day do you put in?

Between myself and Matt Walrath, who is now co-owner and president of SoCal Student Mattress, we put in about 60 hours per week.

Does your youth lead to awkward situations, such as when you supervise older workers?

I’ve found that so long as we are respectful, courteous and admit to what we don’t know, older folks generally admire and enjoy helping us.

Could you ever work for someone else?

It wouldn’t be my first choice.

Will you ever start another company?

For the past four years, I have worked with my closest friends for the Kairos Society, an international organization that helps students launch innovative companies around the world. We are now working on a project that uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to learn about the strength of human relationships with the hope of building better social capital between people.

What do you do to relax?

Put on a groovy music record and rest on a nice SoCal Student Mattress.

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