Still, I make way more than my parents ever made probably in their whole careers, and I'm so far from where I started that I feel like I've already made it.
Kaplan is the founder and CEO of Lex ION Capital, a money-management firm that handles over 0 million for more than 55 families.
So I started devising ideas for Sweeten—as in "home sweet home"—as early as 2008.
(It wouldn't go live until 2011.) Meanwhile, I had become this evangelist for the Internet and architecture, and was running around town giving talks.
The group designed all the stores and elements, like tables.
I was very junior when I went to the VP of the department and told him we needed an [internal] website to help us streamline all of our projects and save money.
They could have bought a ton more birdseed that way.
Then my father fell into a nonresponsive coma when I was in college.
Only later did I realize how resilient that experience made me.
Lauer is the Brooklyn-based founder of Sweeten, a startup that connects home renovators with vetted contractors.
Since its 2011 founding, the company has raised .3 million in funding and completed 500 major renovations, and currently features 0 million in projects on its site.
I wanted a new couch, so when I was 13 or so, I went to the local furniture store every week and gave them my babysitting money on layaway until finally I had paid it off. I took the paper, put it in our driveway, and drove over it as many times as I could to get a bunch of tire tracks on it.
We had that couch in our living room until my mom moved 15 or so years later. My mother found Cooper Union in one of those books and was like, "Oh, you should go here—it's free." Luckily, I had the grades, and the home test was right up my alley. Then I wrote an essay about how there was nothing that I could draw that couldn't be driven on.
Today, I have 20 employees, which I couldn't even have imagined in my wildest dreams when I started out.