Snapshot of a Rising Young Star(Street): Startup Lessons from Jeremy Levine
Entrepreneurs get younger every day.
Jeremy Levine was born one month after the ball rolled through Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs on that fateful night in Shea Stadium, 1986. Levine probably doesn’t remember the painful 1-15 Patriots of 1990 either. He says his first sports memory was watching the great Larry Bird with his dad. And his best memory was Adam Vinatieri kicking the Raiders out of the Snow Bowl in January 2002.
If you’re a Boston sports fan, you know that kick (actually there were two, a 45-yarder to force overtime, and a short kick to win it) changed sports history in these parts. In the decade that followed, the Patriots won three Super Bowls, the Red Sox won two World Series, and the Celtics returned to prominence with a championship of their own.
Why am I telling you this in a publication about tech innovation? Because Levine, 24, has turned his passion for all things sports into an innovative company. It’s what drives him and his startup, Cambridge, MA-based StarStreet, an online market for sports fans to buy and sell “shares” of their favorite players. StarStreet graduated from the TechStars Boston mentorship program last year, and has raised an undisclosed amount of financing from SV Angel, Jarr Capital, and angel investors including Don McLagan, Andrew Blachman, and Ben Littauer.
StarStreet has gotten its share of national press, so I won’t rehash its story or why it’s different from previous attempts at alternative stock markets. Suffice to say the company is still small (two full-timers), but it has more than 400 traders as customers and is looking to ramp up for the upcoming NFL football season (assuming there is a season—tricky because of the potential lockout). StarStreet’s markets, where people invest real money, are currently active in March Madness basketball teams, NBA players, and major league baseball players. The company takes a 4 percent cut of every stock sale.
What might be more interesting is Levine’s personal story, and what he embodies. He is one of a new breed of young tech guns around Boston. Fan Bi of Blank Label, Michael Raybman of WaySavvy, and Seth Priebatsch of SCVNGR also come to mind; all are in their early 20s. Sure, these guys are distressingly young to be running companies (40 feels like the new 50 to me), but it’s refreshing to see a new generation of Web entrepreneurs coming into their own and trying to change the world.