Growing up, as most kids do, my life was primarily focused around sports, basketball in particular. I broke my hand the second week of practice my freshman year at NYU. No longer physically capable of participating in workouts, I became bored and frustrated. It was winter break, no students around, just my teammates and an overwhelming amount of free time. Being at NYU, but more importantly in New York City, I was inspired seeing my peers developing startup companies. I had written my college essays about how I was a “problem solver” and wanted to eventually develop a watch that was designed to help students pace on the ACT.
While that day I broke my hand was depressing and disheartening, it was ultimately going to change my life forever.
From that point on, I focused every free minute I had to starting Testing Timers and developing this ACT watch. My family was fully aware of my dream, and when I asked my father for some guidance, he directed me to a California-based, third party manufacturer that our family company had been using for years. By third party I essentially mean the middleman between domestic companies and foreign factories. For the next 2 weeks, I worked constantly, until obscene hours, on developing a 30-page functionality manual.
From there, time flew. We found our reputable factory. Began developing our first prototype. Summer break began. I began researching how I was going to launch the product. Bought preexisting patents. Filed for my own provisional patent. All of this while still devoting 4-5 hours to train for my upcoming collegiate basketball season. I was just turning 19, leaving my house by 5:30 AM, coming home around 8:30 PM.
Towards the end of July, I attended my first tradeshow in Miami. Just me, some new business cards and brochures, a Testing Timers banner, and 13 prototypes of a product that I truly believed in. Once again, I was completely oblivious to the fact that my life would change forever. When I was in my booth, I was in my element. I was networking, introducing people to my creation, but most importantly learning and asking questions. The feedback was extraordinary with people even trying to outbid each other for the prototypes. I left Miami with no watches and with my interests quickly changing. As being a collegiate athlete was becoming progressively less appealing, the thought of developing this company excited me.
Fast-forward about a year later and we’re in the present. The success thus far has been tremendous. We have partnered with over 20 highly-recognized tutoring centers nationwide, had both ACT and College Board recognize our watches for meeting all criteria in an ABC News article, been featured in the New York Times, Gizmodo, and the Examiner, but above all I am most proud of staying true to myself and building the company around the fundamental business ethics by beloved grandfather taught me months before he passed.