Innovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.
David Chen is Co-founder and CEO of NextWorth Solutions, Inc., a leader in consumer electronics trade-in and recycling solutions for retailers and OEMs. He brings more than 17 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in startups, ecommerce and management consulting. Mr. Chen holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Colby College, and received a MBA as a Frederic C.Hamilton Scholar for Entrepreneurship from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
The creative process of building a business from scratch and then scaling it to profitability and hyper-growth is one of the most fulfilling processes I have experienced. Meeting new people, creating win-win partnerships, continuous learning and solving new challenges every day is what I enjoy most.
Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?
My passion comes from the idea that we are fundamentally changing the way people shop in a smarter, efficient and more socially responsible way. We reduce the frictions of buying and selling, allowing people to upgrade effortlessly, while simultaneously reducing e-waste. Much like trading in your old car at the dealership, we ease customers through the process of transitioning from used to new. I love technology and spending time in the outdoors. Our business model enables one while helping to preserve the other.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
Do your research, find your passion and get started sooner rather than later. You will learn a lot from the process, and the earlier you start the sooner you will figure out what it takes to succeed (which is likely a different model than what you start with!) That being said, you (and your spouse) must be willing to live the sacrifices that are inevitable. Running a startup is a roller coaster ride and you must be prepared to stomach the ups and downs.
What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?
I think Square and quirky are both very interesting companies that are disruptive and provide access to the masses. I love that. They make it easy. They are tech companies, but the tech is transparent (much like NextWorth in many ways!). Uber is another app that I just started using that is pretty cool and useful.
What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?
I admit I have bought into the Apple ecosystem. The stuff is elegant, has thebest residual value and it just works! Frequently used apps on my home screen include: RunKeeper, XFINITY, Dropbox, Golfshot and several weather and newsapps like Flipboard and Pulse.