Interview with Drew Cotten, Part-owner and COO of

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of entrepreneurial ideas or aspirations. I fixed stuff with my dad like our family’s garage door and I was asked to sell candy at a soccer field, etc., but my dad encouraged me to do all these things. It wasn’t until my dad offered me an Xbox if I put up insulation in our house that I truly took my first step into the entrepreneurial world. A few weeks later, I got a call from my uncle asking me to put up insulation in his house, but this time I asked for cash. He had a much larger house than my family’s, so I found that I could not do the job by myself. I hired some kids from my high school and paid them minimum wage to do the insulating. Then I realized, “why not do this again?” I know a whole bunch of people would automatically say yes because I’m a kid and, more importantly, it saves them money.

For awhile, however, I strayed from the entrepreneurial path. I was chasing girls and didn’t want to do anything else. However, after several break-ups and heartwrenching experiences, I finally realized that the danger, excitement, and the challenge of working was too much to resist.  I had a couple people who really inspired me to pursue a path not yet taken by anyone. While my father said to go down a reliable path, my two mentors, Jared Schwartz and Scott Meril said, “do the crazy thing” or “what you really wanna do”.

I looked at every aspect of my life and tried to combine them all into one “thing” that could make some money. I decided to put on a concert that would raise money for a charity that promotes research of osteosarcoma, the disease that took the life of my very young cousin Jackson. The “Jam for Jackson” concert was me doing something that I never thought I would do. I always thought how fun it would be to deal with a rock band, dealing with agents, marketing, getting people to come, etc. After all was said and done, it felt amazing to have built something that synthesized all of my passions.

One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome so far is honestly just people. I’ve had to wade through some difficult people. Luckily, a few years ago, I met my current business partner. We started working on an internet startup, spending 80 hours a week working on a functional website. All in all, it was great, as we got 10,000 people to sign up. Our goal is to continue to try to build it and get more investors and shareholders. What really helped the website production flourish was a $100,000 gift from two angel investors. I am now in the process of preparing myself to get an actual venture capitalist to give $500,000 to our company. While that may seem like success, I do not treat it as so, and I worry about the future of the company because I am not sure of whether or not my partner and I share the same vision and dedication for the company.

I do not limit myself to just one entrepreneurial endeavor. Ocassionally I go to the Oakcliff area of Dallas so that I can take rare pictures of Dallas that nobody else seems to be doing. In other words, I am trying to fill a void in the market by risking my own physical safety in one of the most crime-ridden places in the metroplex, in order to provide a product that stands apart from the rest.

My main business goal is trying to build something that I can pass on to my family. In the process of earning money, I want to give a lot of it to charity. My specific goal is to reach what I call “financial escape velocity”; a situation where the interest on the money I have continues to grow without me having to do really anything. I even have an exact figure: $4.5 million. What I am really excited to do, and what I have been prepping for, is losing myself to the entrepreneurial journey or adventure. All I know is I do not want a desk job; at least not right now.

In the end, I want SeaRey plane. It is amphibious, has a range of 600 miles, takes normal gasoline, seats 2 people, and I wanna take that around the world. Then, after that, I’ll see what I want to do.

Interview conducted by Seth Ordiway.

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