When Henry Schuck, ’05 BS Hotel Administration and Accounting, enrolled as a freshman in 2001, his mother gave him $5,000 and told him: There’s your college fund. For all four years. It turned out to be one of the best things she could have done for him.
He took a job working the front desk at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino and then at a small startup in Henderson called iProfile. The company hired itself out to IT companies and collected pertinent data — key personnel, workflow, financial outlook — for the clients the companies were trying to cultivate.
Schuck worked through college, getting elected student body president along the way. Two years after graduation, he co-founded his own version of his old firm — DiscoverOrg, which serves the same purpose but on a much larger scale. The company employs 250 and makes about $60 million per year. “The idea is that sales and marketing professionals are expected to grow revenue for companies, but they spend an inordinate amount of time going through outmoded data,” said Schuck, 33. Through services such as his, those people can be freed from time-consuming research and non-selling activities to focus on growing the company.
His entrepreneurial success — he was a national finalist last year for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award — has put his early experience in a new and uneasy context. He had his first child, a daughter, in May, and he naturally wants her to have some of the advantages he didn’t. But then he wonders if he found his opportunities through necessity.
“We’re all sort of the sum of our experiences,” Schuck says. “I think what happens in college for a lot of tech entrepreneurs is that they just know college. Their context for business is so small. The lucky thing for me is that at a young age, I was able to get a lot of business experience and world context that I was able to capitalize on.”