JA Alumni Build on Success with Junior Achievement to Start Their Own Company

Kyle Wong and Awad Sayeed are former JA students who participated in the 2008 Junior Achievement of New York <http://bit.ly/1tnooGU> ?s Business Plan Competition. They credit their JA involvement for providing them with an invaluable business experience. Both of them are convinced that it inspired and positioned them for success as the founders of their own business ventures.[Pixlee Logo]"Pixlee <http://bit.ly/1io2yFn> s early success is thanks to the experience we gained through JA. It gave us an early taste of what it was like to be an entrepreneur," said Awad. {C}In 2008, Kyle and Awad participated as part of a team in the JA New York Business Plan Competition. At the time, they were 12th-grade students at Brooklyn Technical High School <http://bit.ly/1KG6EQl> . Within two months of winning the top prize at the competition, they successfully launched their business concept for MyCollegeStat.com <http://bit.ly/1QvUyNN> , taking it from an abstract idea to a real business."Once we saw we could put together a viable business plan, and pitch it to successful business investors, who took us seriously, there was no going back," said Awad.Awad then attended Baruch College <http://bit.ly/1bJtmgm> and Kyle attended Stanford University <http://stanford.io/1NR8aFz> . They kept in touch throughout college and worked together to co-found Pixlee, an e-commerce marketing platform. Pixlee was part of StartX, Stanfords accelerator project and today is an Andreessen Horowitz and XSeed Capital portfolio company.After graduation, Kyle and Awad moved to East Palo Alto, Calif., to develop and grow their business.Currently, Pixlee?s client list includes one-third of NBA teams and was featured in a Forbes Magazine article after successfully raising $1.5 million in capital to expand."Back in high school, when other students were getting ready for senior prom, we were preparing to pitch our business in front of a panel of experienced business professionals. This early taste of the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur was both humbling and enamoring. JA made us see that we had a real shot at succeeding. This experience helped us to build self-confidence and provided us with the kind of expert business advice and feedback that money can?t buy."

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