Blake Edwards, David King, and Sameena Velshi: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Blake Edwards, David King, and Sameena Velshi, who combined their collective creative and business expertise to launch Receiver, a platform that helps musicians reach their fans in a more efficient, meaningful way…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
All: Helping musicians become more effective marketers.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
SV: I wanted more people to hear some of the super talented musicians I know.
BE: I wanted to tap into my deep experience in music media and artist relations and combine that with technology.
DK: After spending five years working with artists of different sizes, I recognized that they all suffered from a similar problem: reaching their fans. Whether they were just getting started or already touring globally, they were consistently frustrated with how they reach their fans.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
ALL: Our favourite part is laughing with our team, and being the loudest people in the room. Facing new challenges and being forced to figure out something when there isn’t a map in front of us is the best and most challenging part of what we do.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
BE: I stop playing video games on the couch with friends.
SV: The third cup of coffee… before noon.
DK: If I’m not getting 60 minutes of physical activity a few times a week, work and life both become unbalanced.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
BE: Operating a successful business in music industry… or sitting on a pile of acquisition money trying to start my own think-tank.
SV: Investing time in both music and tech.
DK: Facing a new challenge and growing from it.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
BE: I started young, and am self-taught as a developer. Getting respect from the “old guard” was very hard, so I developed my own projects and avoided phones and face-to-face meetings at first.
DK: Staying focused on one thing at a time.
SV: Working effectively with people whose brains work differently. I think it’s how you find gold… and something I’ll always be trying to improve on.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
BE: Enough money to follow my passion of fringe technology, and enough time to pursue it as an entrepreneur.
DK: Being able to appreciate what I’m doing every day. The moment that disappears, it is really hard to be happy.
SV: Building a team together that has everyone performing at their best and loving it. Hopefully the money bit happens organically.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
BE: My first six-figure website sale, at 6am, with my team waiting for the escrow to clear after transferring domain ownership.
DK: Booking my first show at Mod Club alongside a good friend, Cody Chapman, that featured Azari and III for one of their earlier shows in the city. It was the summer after Reckless with Your Love was released and I was a huge fan; helping to build Bassmentality with a bunch of friends into an event series that hosted artists as diverse as Skrillex and Dam Funk, despite the fact that everyone associates it with the former.
SV: Deciding not to make the four walls of a law firm my life.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
BE: Follow your passions or your competition will out-heart you.

Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
SV: 416 Snack Bar. They’re always playing hip-hop.
BE: 3am breakfast at Lakeview.
DK: People’s Eatery always has a fresh menu and top-notch service without any pretension.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
SV: Cooking something time-consuming.
BE: Making short films with friends.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
DK: Barbados. My aunt has an old plantation house in the middle of the island. It is very much a happy place. The view is fantastic and her policy to cut off wifi at night is surprisingly therapeutic.
SV: Bologna. Wine, cheese, balsamico and a great friend.
BE: New York City; it never sleeps and nobody cares about you <3.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
SV: Lovely Day, Bill Withers.
BE: A Perfect Circle; Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
DK: Starting or helping build something worth believing in, such as socially responsible real estate development.
SV: Baking cakes.
BE: Professional gamer (I used to be semi-pro) or, ugh… physicist (CERN is awesome).

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
DK: This year I got involved with the All-Star Gala for Sick Kids Hospital that my friends James Blackburn and Cam Healy are working on.
SV: Maasai Women’s Development Organization. I’m a feminist.
BE: Canadian Diabetes Association.

What to you is notable?
DK: Putting your time where your mouth is. It’s easy to put your money up, but time is the most precious resource.
SV: Teaching and learning at the exact same time.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
DK: Full-stack Apple user. iPhone, iPad, MacBook, MacMini, and soon iWatch.
SV: iPhone.
BE: iPhone.