For many, a big part of the American Dream is being able to start your own business. Being able to make a business successful and then go on to sell it is what has made fortunes for many entrepreneurs. But what most entrepreneurs cannot lay claim to is having started, successfully built and then also sold a successful company, all by 21 years of age. That is exactly what 21 year old entrepreneur Lee Lowden has done. Not only that, but he has started five companies by 21. All while balancing his college education. His fifth and latest venture, StockBattle.com, has just been introduced and through it, Lee's mission is to pioneer the "FinTech" (finance/tech) business.
How old were you when you started your first company and what was it?
I started my first legitimate company as a sophomore in High School, 16 years old. I launched an Internet e-commerce textbook buyback service. People from all around the country would come to my website to receive an instant buyback price quote on their textbooks. Once they placed an order, they received a pre-paid shipping label. Once I received and processed their books, I sent them their check and re-sold all of the textbooks on Amazon.
How did you get it off the ground?
I hired a development agency to build out my entire buyback website and integrate shipping API's. I familiarized myself with the re-sale market, and calculated the profits that I could make from buying low and selling high. From a marketing perspective, I did a lot of research and taught myself all about Google's pay per click advertising, which I used on a daily basis for acquiring customers all around the United States.
How many companies have you started since then?
Since then, I have started around five businesses in total. Textbook Buyback Website, Clothing Line, Cell Phone Buyback website, Cell Phone Buyback Price Comparison Search Engine, Business News Aggregator, and a Telecom Inventory Auction website. Many have failed, and I have learned tremendously from those failures. I sold my first successful business at 21 years old.
What kind of obstacles did you face as a young entrepreneur?
As a young entrepreneur, I faced many obstacles in regards to learning how to market, scale, and grow a business. I had to learn and teach myself everything via Internet articles, personal research, and through moments of failures and successes.
What is your most recent venture and how did it come about?
My older brother came up with the idea for our new company. When learning about the stock market and finance, he was never truly motivated to do research and trade in his virtual portfolios. He wanted to feel the thrill of stock trading and feel a sense of motivation and competitiveness when trading.
Our venture is StockBattle.com, a Pay-to-Play virtual stock market trading competition platform with real cash prizes in every competition. Similar to "white hot" daily fantasy sports, but for stock market trading competitions. You trade stocks with virtual money and compete against your friends to win cash prizes.
What is it that makes this mission so important?
Stock Battle is innovating financial education and getting amateurs and students interested and involved in finance and the stock market through competitive gaming - this is something, which usually does not occur at a young age. Through real-money gaming, finance students, amateurs, and even professional stock traders are attracted to and are signing up with our platform for the thrill and competitiveness of our Pay-to-Play real money gaming platform.
We are completely changing the virtual/paper trading industry by implementing this Pay-to-Play gaming platform. This is the beginning of the Finance Fantasy Gaming Industry.
What is on the horizon for Stock Battle? Where do you see the company being in another year?
The horizon for Stock Battle is a focus extreme growth in order to grow our user base, increase competition sizes, and increase competition prize pools. We plan to attract as many users as we can. As our user base grows, we can offer larger tournaments with larger prize pools. As these prize pools grow, more users will be attracted to our competitions and thus, growth will drive growth.
In another year, we would love to see upwards of 100,000 members on our website, trading in daily, weekly, and monthly competitions.
Where do you see the FinTech space going in the future?
I see a massive potential in the FinTech (Financial Technology) gaming space. With the Stock Battle platform, we are spearheading this space and are creating an entirely new finance real-money gaming industry. The FinTech industry is growing at an extremely rapid rate, and we expect to see the same type of growth on our platform.
What was your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
My proudest moment was signing the purchase agreement papers for the first business that I sold. It was a great feeling of satisfaction to have someone purchase something that you built from the ground and up. Other proud moments include firsthand witnessing successful marketing campaigns pay off with high conversion rates.
As a society, what do you think we can do to encourage more young entrepreneurs and help them succeed?
In order to encourage more young entrepreneurs and help them succeed, we need to drive innovation, drive creativity, and provide these young entrepreneurs with the resources and connections needed to accomplish their ventures and ideas. Many people have business ideas, but rarely attempt to implement and build out the idea. I believe that if these young entrepreneurs were to have these resources, there would be a much higher conversion rate of young entrepreneurs attempting to implement and start their ideas or inventions.