In our Senior Send-Off series, the Dingman Center celebrates the student founders who are part of the graduating class of spring 2020. We are so pleased to have had the chance to get to know each of these talented entrepreneurs through our programs.
Jonathan Schneider – ENLY
Jonathan (Jonny) Schneider ’20, a senior finance and information systems double major, first connected with the Dingman Center as the chief operations officer of ENLY, a fashion tech app to allow fashion customers to try on and buy designer clothing in a virtual marketplace. ENLY’s founder and CEO, finance major Tom Savransky ’20, participated in the 2019 Terp Startup Accelerator, and later graduated to our pilot of the Terp Startup Fellows program, which provides additional seed funding up to $20K and co-working space for Terp Startup alumni who have demonstrated a strong commitment to their venture. Tom moved in and brought Jonny with him, where they proceeded to work on ENLY for 10 hours each week at the Dingman Center. Through Terp Startup Fellows they were able to attend strategic fashion shows and forge connections with retailers and investors to help refine their business model. They also completed development of their app and redesigned their website. It has been a pleasure for our staff to get to know Jonny during this time, and we look forward to staying connected with him and ENLY after graduation.
What’s your plan after graduation?
I’m going to be working on ENLY full-time in order to grow the company by expanding our API partnership deals, accelerating our R&D, and securing large rounds of funding.
What’s something you’ll really miss about UMD?
Getting lunches every day with my best friend (more like a brother at this point) Sehej Singh. After meeting at a Goldman event our freshman year, we quickly realized that we were on the same page business-wise. We started spending many late nights in the Bloomberg terminals looking at stock tickers and other market data, trying to map out profitable investments. This led to countless business conversations over lunch and our famous invite-only “Business Wine Nights.”
What’s your proudest accomplishment (or favorite moment) during your experience in Terp Startup Fellows?
Although I dislike being prideful of anything until I feel I have reached what I’ve set out to accomplish, being selected to the Dingman Center Fellows program and receiving the $20,000 check was a nice moment. It allowed Tom & I to do things such as beta-test ENLY’s technology at New York Fashion Week events, fly out to LA to discuss business partnerships with our advisor Chaz Jordan, who is the former head designer for Will.i.Am and currently runs Laundered Works Corp. with Offset from Migos, & recruit an all-star development team. Flying out to meet Chaz was a great moment for us. He was in the middle of a meeting with the head of Jordan (Nike) at a luxury boutique store called H. Lorenzo for the brand’s first ever Women’s apparel line launch but put the meeting on pause to have dinner with us. It was all kind of surreal; what became very real was ENLY’s path to success.
What’s next for ENLY?
In the next few months, we’ll be striking data partnerships with designer brands and will be publishing a beautiful new website called Enly.Fit. In Q3 of this year, we’ll be lazer-focused on rapidly growing our API partnerships with designer brands as well as online retailers. In Q4, we’re planning to open a $1 million seed round. I would tell you our entire product pipeline, but then I’d need you to sign an NDA : ) Our R&D team is building some pretty cool tech.
What advice would you give to student entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
Don’t fall into the trap of relying on inspirational moments to move you closer to your entrepreneurial goals, this is a horrible plan. How many of Tai Lopez’s or Gary Vaynerchuck’s videos are you going to watch until you are “inspired” enough to work on your own venture? Inspiration is a first step, but can you identify an expensive problem and reverse-engineer a lucrative solution?
Learn to love doing hard things by getting away from distractions such as social media or compulsively checking your phone. I’d recommend going on long walks instead without your phone or headphones, and just think about the big problems you need to solve within your idea or business. Treat your entrepreneurial goals as you would going to the gym to build an aesthetic physique. That is to say, internalize your inspiration, ritualize your work habits, push past your limits and be more consistent than anyone around you.