Sam Hollander ’21 and James LePage ’22 start the next chapter of their entrepreneurial journey: ShareClub
The Blackstone Launchpad’s own Sam Hollander ’21 recently announced that he will be stepping away from his full-time role as Syracuse LaunchPad Program Manager to pursue the next chapter of his entrepreneurial journey with the help of his Co-Founder James LePage ’22. The two will be working fulltime on their new venture ShareClub, a platform that helps public companies market to, and communicate with their retail investors by using shareholder rewards.
Hollander, who holds dual degrees in Finance (Whitman) and Advertising (Newhouse) with an emphasis in Financial and Investor Communications, shares the inspiration for ShareClub and the market need that he and LePage will be striving to address. “Over the past two years, we’ve seen the rise of the retail investor. Despite Americans knowing they should be invested in the stock market, many of them did not. As millions of Americans were able to increase savings during the pandemic, they realized that with this extra savings, there was a good opportunity to start investing. While people were buying stocks, one big problem came into the limelight – retail investors are often overlooked by the companies they own. They feel disconnected from these companies and want a technology-enabled solution to enable them to engage with the companies they own.”
In addition to providing tangible benefits to shareholders, ShareClub is also concerned with making investment knowledge more equitable for the average retail investor. Hollander notes, “All investors, no matter how small, want to feel empowered to make financial decisions in their best interests, but unless you have a degree in finance, or law for that matter, it’s often tough for retail investors to sift through complex SEC documents to understand the performance and financial position of their investments. ShareClub democratizes access to that information, all while rewarding investors for being engaged members. We want to use this platform to help companies communicate with their retail investors and allow retail investors to feel like engaged owners of the brands they know and love.”
LePage added, “I’m incredibly passionate about helping the everyday retail investor communicate with the companies they own and love,” he says. “We’re building a first-in-class platform to enable this type of communication.” As the Blackstone LaunchPad’s Technical Entrepreneur in Residence and the founder of Isotropic, a web services company that offers design, development, and consulting. LePage is a tech stack savant, and the perfect person for the job.
With their combined talents, the two co-founders will undoubtedly make waves in the retail investment space. LaunchPad Executive Director, Linda Dickerson Hartsock, could not agree more. “Together, Sam and James are an unbeatable entrepreneurial force, and we are excited about their next chapter. They are so accomplished, and together, have built a proof-of-concept model that is investor ready. Their leadership skills, keen analytical thinking, and flawless execution, well position them for the tremendous opportunity ahead for ShareClub. We look forward to collaborating with them — and learning from them — as they build, launch and scale.”
ShareClub has recently launched its closed-beta application to the first 250 retail investors on its waitlist, and the company expects to invite more waitlist investors to join within the next month.
If you would like to join the waitlist, you can visit shareclub.io for more details.
The Blackstone LaunchPad would also like to recognize the tremendous impact which Hollander’s leadership, friendship, expertise, and professionalism has had on the other student entrepreneurs and faculty that call the LaunchPad their home. “I’m extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to have worked here,” Hollander said. “I walked in the door as a first-year student, eager to learn and be a part of the entrepreneurship community at Syracuse. Looking back four years later, I realize being a part of the LaunchPad has undoubtedly been one of the best experiences of my life — primarily because I got to work with and learn from some of the most innovative people on campus, and in the SU alumni network. The LaunchPad is by far the best community on campus. As a student employee the first year, I would have never thought I would become the Program Manager three years later. Being able to work with students and campus partners day in and day out to create the best possible programs for LaunchPad students has been an absolute pleasure.”
Hollander also had some kind words to say about his mentor over the past three years. “I would be remiss not to mention that working with Linda has been one of the most meaningful relationships I have built in my life. I met her the first week of my freshman year, and I’ve been able to learn from her both personally and professionally in ways I could never have imagined — thank you, Linda.”
Hartsock echoes those same sentiments. “We are so excited that Sam and James will become our next LaunchPad success story. Sam is brilliant. As a student, he was a top prize winner in business competitions, and he brought those skills to bear as our program manager, mentoring and coaching other students for success. He truly helped build every aspect of this program from the ground up, and the LaunchPad’s success is Sam’s shared success. He brings an incredible passion for doing good and making profound impact. I am thrilled that he will be staying engaged with us as one of LaunchPad Alumni Entrepreneurs in Residence. He has been a cornerstone of our pay it forward model, and no one exemplifies this better than Sam and the team of peer mentors that he helped build and manage.”
To Sam, from the student innovators at the LaunchPad. Thank you for everything, truly. Yours will be massive shoes to fill, but the next wave of student entrepreneurs and faculty of the LaunchPad will do our best to ensure that the sweat equity and passion you have invested in this community will pay back tenfold. Being a part of the LaunchPad family has its “perks,” and our doors will always be open to you. We cannot wait to see the amazing things that you and James will accomplish!