Last year, when the owner of European Medical Massage & Spa in Shillington, Pennsylvania decided to sell her company, she had an immediate potential buyer. Her employee Linda Roll, a first generation mother of four, was eager to take over the 22-year-old institution. The only problem: Roll didn’t have enough capital to buy the building in addition to the company. Her only option was to try to find a landlord that would be interested in keeping her on as a tenant at a reasonable rent price. Says Roll, “We were in the state of mind that we would probably just have to take the loss.”
Fortunately, Roll found an alternative with real estate startup Withco. The company, quietly founded by 31-year-old Kevin Song in 2019, helps put established businesses like Roll’s on the path to ownership. Withco programmatically identifies and buys commercial real estate that houses existing tenants deemed to be high-quality small businesses. They negotiate and buy the property, while placing the tenants on equity-building, lease-to-own plans.
“My parents ran a grocery store in Brooklyn for years until the day they got a phone call from the new landlord of the building,” explains Song, whose parents had immigrated from South Korea. “A developer had just purchased it and decided to double the rent. We lost the business in a matter of weeks.”
On track to put 100 small-scale entrepreneurs like his parents on the path to ownership by this summer, Withco is emerging from stealth today. The company has raised $30 million from celebrities like Venus Williams and Will Smith, as well as venture firms like Founders Fund, Canaan Partners, Initialized Capital and NFX.
Finland-based Iceye expects to have 25 satellites in orbit by the end of the year in order to expand its product offerings.
This Week’s Money Moves
Americans who stand atop the podium in Beijing will score a cash prize of $37,500—not bad, but a pittance relative to what some other nations are offering. Twelve countries’ Olympians stand to make six-figure bonuses for getting gold.
Mark Zuckerberg lost almost $30 billion yesterday, one of the largest wealth drops ever. Investors are worried about a rare drop in Facebook user growth—and spending around its metaverse project.
Of all the many concerns top executives see as their biggest risks for 2022—ranging from new Covid-19 variants to rising inflation—none ranks higher than their talent acquisition and retention challenges. Yet less than one third say they’re committed to increasing pay.
The Inside Scoop: Exclusive Under 30 News
Love Your Melon cofounders Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn are elite goal checkers. First, they achieved their company’s mission of donating a beanie to every kid with cancer in America in 2014 (they subsequently pivoted their impact model to donate 50% of profit to pediatric cancer research and therapy to maximize impact). Now, they’ve met their most significant business goal: acquisition. This week Love Your Melon announced it had been acquired by Win Brands Group, the parent of Gravity blankets and Homesick candles, for an undisclosed sum. “Win will bring a lot to the table, in the way of growing Love Your Melon,” says Zachary Quinn, Love Your Melon’s co-CEO. “It will open up new distribution channels and cut costs in our supply chain so we can give away even more money in the future.”
Today, Love Your Melon has given away $9.4 million to prevent and treat pediatric cancer as well as over 20,000 beanies annually since 2014. They started the company as sophomores at the University of St. Thomas, made the Forbes Under 30 list in 2019 and grew Love Your Melon to 25 employees before pursuing an acquisition over a year ago.
As part of the acquisition, Quinn and Keller are contractually obligated to stay with Love Your Melon for a year, integrating it into Win. Quinn, however, sees himself starting another company with his co-CEO Keller. “We’re not done by any means–we’re really excited to look at opportunities to start something new,” he says. “We’re excited to look at ways that products can make communities better and make consumers feel they have a personal impact by making a purchase.”
Ten years ago, Forbes set out to create the inaugural 30 Under 30 list. One decade later, it’s now the definitive list of young people changing the world. Do you know someone creating the next Instagram, Stripe or Spotify? Nominate them (or yourself!) today.
Note: North America nominations have closed already. All other regions are open.
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