Folks, we’ve got a serial entrepreneur for this interview… if you were shopping online for music in the 90s, then you knew of CDNow. Jason Olim, one of the founders is onto something new in the college savings market. I’ll admit that I know very little about this but I do know it’s a huge market and is starting to see a few web players emerge
Please welcome both a friend and fellow entrepreneur, Jason Olim.
1. Please state your name, title, and years at current company/position
Jason Olim, CEO, 10 months at Dorado Capital.
2. What are you currently up to?
I am part of a four person founding team trying to solve the problem of saving for a child’s college education. We are educating the parents and getting the community involved in making sure that a child can afford a top quality education.
3. Why are you doing this? You could be doing so many other things in the world, what about this particular idea strikes you?
The main thing that drew me to this startup is the team. I really enjoy working with the other three founders and I’m glad to have a chance to spread the workload. Of course, consumer marketing is my main interest and the product itself is something that I want when I have kids.
4. All startups should be addressing a problem in the market. What is that exact problem and how are you solving it?
It costs a fortune to send kids to college, and parents who take action early are in the best financial shape. Dorado helps parents to figure out exactly what college will cost and open a college savings account. Best of all, it allows friends and family to make contributions directly to their savings account.
5. Have you thought about your business model yet? I’m assuming so, so tell us a bit about it.
Use of the site, including the planning tools and the gifting capabilities, is totally free. Dorado capital is a financial advisor; we earn a commission on assets under management in savings accounts. We also market related products and services, such as savings-linked credit cards and savings accounts.
6. As an entrepreneur or investor, what are your thoughts on competition? How do you view competition?
Competitors can take away your lunch just as it is being served. We are preparing ourselves to compete both with new entrants and with existing players who might want to move in our direction.
7. If your competitor called you up to have coffee and discuss shop, what would you do? Would you go? What would you divulge?
We would absolutely meet the competitors to find out what their goals are, how we might work together and what we should expect from each other.
8. Is the current state of the economy playing to your favor? If so, why? If not, why? What is your forecast of the market throughout 2008 and do you see affects? Macro and Micro economic theory would be interesting to hear about.
I’m concerned that the current market is not as favorable as it was a year ago. People may be more skittish now about saving in the financial markets and they may feel less able to put money aside. However, potential increases in taxes make college savings accounts more attractive.
9. How much of your time is spent working? How much is spent with family? Have you found the entrepreneurial quality of life yet?
I spend about 50 hours/week working on the business, mostly from home or at meetings. This business is easier than the last because the founding team shares the goal of making this company work, and they bring complementary skills to the enterprise. Quality of life is excellent at the moment.