Just three short years ago, Newman began his journey as a full-time CEO of his very own tech startup named Dandy. He created the company with his partner and co-founder, Leor Massachi, while the two were seniors in college. We’ve got the full scoop on how Newman went from a Real Estate Development student to a full-time entrepreneur, all before earning his undergraduate degree.
Newman was born and raised in Beverley Hills, CA. Although he’s mainly American, he takes pride in inheriting a Persian background from both his mother and father. Early on in his younger years, he became interested in the various aspects of business and how they were created. He also enjoyed learning about the Israeli economy and the country’s positive outlook on young people developing their own startup companies.
When Newman got to high school, he became heavily involved in extracurricular activities and always did well in class. Not only was he named Senior Class President, but he was also involved in several sports and school clubs. As if that weren’t enough on his plate at 17, he also had the opportunity to get a taste of what it was like to build a business when he founded his own tutoring company during his junior year. He saw an opportunity arise when the younger kids in grades K-8 were complaining about their tutors being too old and not up-to-date with the material. Brilliantly, Newman asked some of his friends if they wanted to earn some money tutoring the students, and the rest was history. The company took off instantaneously, and Newman kept it running until he graduated in 2015.
Once he reached college, the grind continued. Newman decided to pursue a degree in Real Estate Development at the University of Southern California. Although he was indeed partially interested in the real estate portion of the program, he was far more captivated by the school’s innovative take on technology and its multifaceted ability to influence new businesses. At that point, he began to understand the building blocks of a tech startup, and he fell in love. Along the way, he met several friends, mentors, and executives that taught him the dos and don’ts about the complicated world of Silicon Valley. But regardless of the dire risks he was advised of, he knew his ultimate goal would be to someday establish a startup company of his own.
In the meantime, Newman founded his second small business with his then-roommate and best friend, Leor Massachi. The two college students created a design agency that helped businesses market toward the Gen Z demographic via custom-made interactive Geofilters on Snapchat. At the time, the social networking app had just begun allowing users to publicly submit Geofilters for a fee, but it had not provided any tools or instructions on how to create them. Due to the high design skillset and intricate strategy required for the process, Newman and Massachi saw it as a business opportunity and proceeded to create a company named Geocasion. Although the business only lasted a few months, the experience proved essential for what followed for these two college students. In addition to founding Geocasion, Newman also founded USC’s TAMID Tank event during his sophomore year, which is the school’s equivalent to the popular television show, Shark Tank. The competition was created to provide students with a real-life experience of pitching their startup concepts to big-name investors and venture capitalists. Their first event filled an auditorium of 500, and since then, TAMID Tank has held the event annually. The organization also named Newman their Vice President of Operations.
But things changed in 2018 when Newman’s roommate suggested the idea of creating a dating app for millennials and gen Z’s unlike the existing ones on the market. After sitting and brainstorming for hours in their dorm, they came up with a concept that was far too tangible to pass up. They wanted to create a version of a dating app that would mimic two people meeting in person for the first time. Users would log onto the app once it went “live”, and they would have an allotted time to attempt to find their match and start a conversation. Once two users established they were interested, they’d be transferred into a three-minute video call where they could formally introduce themselves and decide whether or not to move forward with communication off the application. They called the app Dandy and instantly began searching for the perfect engineers to develop the product. 3 months later, the app launched its beta testing.
Dandy blew up all over USC, and eventually, all over Los Angeles. People were excited to try this new version of virtual dating and claimed that it was a “magical” app since it cut around the BS and got straight to the point of building new relationships. At this point, Newman and his Massachi began to pitch Dandy to investors in hopes to raise funds for the app’s future development. After hearing 117 no’s, they received their first yes, as well as their first check from an investor. Once the first came, many others followed, and soon enough Dandy has fundraised over $3.3 million in a matter of months from investors involved in companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, and Facebook. Newman took over all finance and logistic aspects of the company while Massachi handled the marketing strategy and creative.
Things were running smoothly until word of a pandemic began to consume the news in February 2020. The two business owners called an emergency meeting and decided it was the perfect time to rebrand Dandy into something more applicable to the possible consequences of a national pandemic. In just a few hours, they came up with the idea for Zoom University– a virtual dating app with the same “live” concept of Dandy, but with two-on-two video calls resembling that of a double date. Since some users had commented that Dandy could become stressful and awkward during the short video calls, the founders hoped that having a user bring a friend would help turn the tension into fun. The next day after the meeting, the team had a web MVP of Zoom University uploaded and a rough draft of the app immediately went live. In honor of their first creation, they decided to keep the name of their now product-based startup company as Dandy.
Since then, Zoom University has gained traction all over the internet; including Tiktok, which had a video about the app hit impressions of over 2.5 million views. Users were scrambling to get their hands on this new dating app. In just a matter of weeks, a waitlist of thousands of users began to accumulate while the Dandy teamed continued to finalize the details behind the app that was only originally meant to stay live for a week. Positive feedback came pouring in from users, and eventually, the application broke records as it made it through the Top 10 Best Social Networking Apps on the Apple Store, coming in at #9.
Four businesses and two successful startups later, 23-year-old Newman says his success has come from knowing how to take high-level concepts and applying them to a realistic, practical lens. Although his achievements have skyrocketed over the years, he shares that the work has only just begun. He and his partner are currently working with investors on their next top-secret product that is reckoned to top all their prior inventions and take the market by storm once again. Details cannot yet be disclosed, but we wait eagerly to see how a few college seniors will continue to dominate the startup world with their commitment and dedication to changing the world through the use of advanced technology.
How Good is Investing in SBI Small Cap Fund? ET Money Explains
Though small cap funds have constantly remained under pressure in recent times, a few have managed to break through.
It has been observed that after outperforming large cap stocks for a long period, small cap stocks faced hurdles and came under pressure which came across as a cause of worry for investors. However, the recovery has been quick enough to put them back on track. Having said that, investors need to be cautious as the volatility could possibly shake up the markets. Mutual fund schemes would also get affected by these market movements, hence investing in only well managed schemes in the small cap funds category is advisable with a long-term investment view of more than 7-8 years. One should definitely avoid investing in small cap funds that work towards getting returns instead of focussing on quality stocks and risk management.
If you are looking out for a well managed small cap fund, then SBI Small Cap Fund is the ideal choice. The fund has shown tremendous performance across various market conditions in the past, and has significantly outperformed the benchmark and category average during the bull and bear phases. In the past 5 years, SBI Small Cap Fund has been one of the best in its category and has given returns with a CAGR of around 22.2%, as against 16.6 % GR delivered by its benchmark S&P BSE Small-Cap – TRI. The outstanding performance has attracted many investors owing to its stability, and its AUM has also grown over four times in the past couple of years. SBI Small Cap Direct Growth Fund has given good returns to investors over the years and still stands amongst one of the best small cap funds in the market.
SBI Small Cap Fund is designed to give its investors’ long-term growth in capital along with the liquidity of an open-ended scheme by investing majorly in a well-diversified portfolio of equity stocks of small-cap companies. Furthermore, the fund currently holds a significant exposure of about 15% to 25% in mid-caps, along with a minor allocation of up to 2% in large-caps. Since its inception, SBI Small Cap Fund has been one of the most appropriately managed schemes in the small-cap funds category. However, being a small-cap fund, it is bound to witness extreme volatility when the small-cap stocks are under pressure owing to volatility. Still, the fund’s ability to tide throughout these market corrections makes it an ideal choice for investors who are looking for a long term investment horizon over 7-8 years.
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