Boris Revsin is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of CampusLIVE, Inc, “The Homepage for College Students,” providing single-click access to the most widely used college resources.
Boris has an extensive background in web development and digital media, founding his first website in 1999.
While attending UMass Amherst, he worked as the Head of Operations for the Amherst-based web-development firm JaredWeb, Inc and as a web consultant for the 2008 Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign.
Boris, along with the CampusLIVE team, was named 3rd place in the 2008 BusinessWeek “Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25.” He has also been honored as an “Emerging Entrepreneur” by Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.
Hello Boris, thanks for taking time to be with us here on YHP.
Can you give our readers some background information about yourself and what you do?
Sure. I am a 23 year old entrepreneur from Boston, Mass. I’m the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of
CampusLIVE.com – the #1 homepage for college students in the United States. We build fully customized start pages for college campuses across the country.
So tell us about your company, what inspired you to start it? Is this your first business?
I started my first web company when I was twelve years old. It was one of the original “joke” websites, and it didn’t last long. Dad said the “jokes were older than I was.” I ran a number of web development companies before co-founding CampusLIVE in 2007.
How did you raise capital to start this business?
I didn’t. The founders of CampusLIVE put in their own cash to get it going. I think it was $10,000. Totally bootstrapped from there.
Working with friends, I’ve heard “it’s a pain in the neck”, how have you been able to handle that so far? Who is the most playful in the bunch?
Well, it is a pain in the neck. You’ve got to put on your game face when you’re dealing with business. Luckily, my boys are ultra-motivated, so it hasn’t been much of a problem. Most playful? They’re all clowning around – but that’s the culture we have in the office. Very open.
Starting the business at college? How did it benefit you? Were there any disadvantages? Being that young
Starting a business in college was the best decision I’ve ever made. You’ve got: motivated individuals, internship programs, professors who want to help, business school resources, access to free databases. It just keeps going and going. Disadvantages? Academics. They could suffer if you don’t pay attention...
What services do your company offer? What is your company USP?
CampusLIVE.com is The College Homepage.
CampusLIVE provides college students with a centralized online location for all of their on and off
campus resources, and provides business owners with a platform to reach, interact, and drive action-oriented results within this niche demographic.
The CampusLIVE network is comprised of 100 campus specific homepages, fully branded and
customized to individual college campuses throughout the nation.
We’re the most cost-effective platform to reach students in their dorm rooms in a trusted medium. That’s our USP.
What has been your most effective marketing tactic or technique?
Word of mouth! We need a small spark from Facebook, Emails or Guerilla marketing... and then it’s off to the races!
How many employees do you have? Full- or part-time?
9 full- time employees. 15 interns. Dozens of Campus Reps.
Do you believe technology has any obligation to make the world a better place?
I think people have an obligation to make the world a better place. Technology can simplifying the process of providing water, food, laptops, irrigation systems and what have you – but it all starts with the individual.
Is the business profitable? What kind of profit margin does it have?
CampusLIVE is just about break-even, and has revenue in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
MARKETING & PRODUCT innovations. Advertising is the price you pay for being boring or annoying, so we spent a lot of time helping people spread the word virally.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Soccer, basketball, lifting weights. We have a good time here, and we’re in a college town. Lot’s to do. To be honest, I love doing what I do, so there isn’t much “non-work time.”
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
37 Signals gets my vote. Great design, products that people need, a business model that automatically generates revenues. Great group of guys – and they blogged about us after our Entrepreneur Mag feature. Thanks!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Seeing the site traffic go up, and the sales come in. Every new user is satisfying. Seriously.
What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
Two books: “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie and “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferazzi. Buy them both, then thank our Chief Strategic Officer and all-around dominator Ryan Durkin for recommending them to me.
Who is your favourite entrepreneur of all-time?
Oh, tough one. I like Richard Branson. Guy just doesn’t care if you don’t like how he does things, he’ll do them anyway. Plus, how many people have launched an airline, took on Coca-Cola and tried to buy a bank?
How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
Our internship program. Shout-out to internshipratings.com – they’ve got us labelled as the #1 internship program on the site! It’s about developing people from the beginning to jive with the CampusLIVE culture, and to understand the product in’s and out’s. It’s a fun process, and it’s working.
How important have good employees been to your success?
At this stage, it’s ALL about the employees (partners). Nothing else matters. So I would say they have been absolutely critical. You need to set the bar high, and keep raising it. Motivation is key.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
1) Read. Read. READ. So many books on the subject of marketing, sales & entrepreneurship that it’ll save you so many “doh” moments. Do your research, there is material on almost everything on the internet and in your library.
2) Put in the hours. Don’t shy away from hard work or busy work. Get it done, and move on. You need to have the mentality that you can do anything. Our internal motto is “dominate.”
3) Network. Find as many advisers if you can. If you’re a young gun, find some solid alumni’s to help you out. Most of them love donating time (and sometimes resources) for the up and comers. Be energetic, ambitious and respectful and you can win over some very successful people.