Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is serial startup, investor and consumer internet product entrepreneur Nicholas Reichenbach, who boasts an impressive track record of creating and building multiple businesses that have disrupted digital distribution, social media, entertainment, consumer goods and hospitality spaces…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I start businesses, I run the businesses, and then I either sell the business or maintain them in my portfolio of companies that I have. Right now I have seven companies in my portfolio.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Being entrepreneurial; it’s in my DNA. When I was at Burning Man two years ago, I was thinking ‘oh my god, what do I want to do with my life?’ I came to the conclusion that I don’t think I could do anything else. It’s all I’ve ever done; it’s all I ever want to do. I really love what I do; I love creating things, and I love creating things that people enjoy. With my video game company, for example, I get a lot of satisfaction from creating games that people just lose themselves in. That’s my inspiration behind my career. I’ve always loved to create things, products and businesses that spark a lot of passion and joy in people.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
One of the best parts is seeing what you’ve created impact the world in a positive way. All my companies are digital except for my Sake company and Flow. Both are consumer products, yet they still fall in with the same DNA, which is creating a lot of positive joy for people on a day-to-day basis. What’s challenging is always putting myself second to my company. To find work/balance is difficult for an entrepreneur across the board. We tend to take a large amount of responsibility for what we do socially and economically. My wife, thank God, is very supportive. She sees that I tend to work 14 hour days, seven days a week, and that it’s always the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing when I go to sleep.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully I can get Buttercup, my dog, another dog, but I really see building my companies to the next level. We are really focused and committed to building Flow into being a global success – socially, as well environmentally and economically. I really want to put a lot of effort and energy into being able to get the Flow mission and vision out there and ultimately reduce the use of plastic bottles and increase the use of renewable resources. On top of that, I want to see all of my companies grow and I want to see all my employees reach their goals.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge, but also my strongest asset, is that I’m dyslexic. That was very complicated to deal with when I was a child. I’d probably say that 50 per cent of entrepreneurs are. It made me have to adjust the way I was doing things. I couldn’t read very well and I couldn’t write very well, so I couldn’t really do things by the book; the normal way you do things like writing long emails and spending a lot of time articulating things. I was always really good at mathematics and finance. I just learned to adjust and it has become a huge strength of mine because eventually I realized how to verbally execute quickly, and I also know how to visualize things a lot better than literal, logical thinking. I learned to develop my creative skills to be able to compensate for the analytical or logical part of my brain.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
What makes me happy is when I’m in an optimal state of performance that is challenging to me. My flow is starting businesses, making people happy, and making products and services that make peoples lives a little more joyful and maybe helping them achieve a little bit of flow. But I think happiness is a state of mind. It’s already known that money only causes a certain amount of happiness. Success to me is being happy and creating successful products and services people enjoy. One of the by-products is that you make money, but it’s not the method of why I do things because if I wanted to go make money, I could go sell real estate.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I’d say the second milestone was when my business partner, Billy Melnick, and I opened up this nightclub in Ottawa called Atomic. That was a major milestone because that was it was my first multi-million dollar company that we ran, and we ran it successfully for a decade. A third milestone with our concert promotion business was when we decided to consolidate it into an entity and go out and in the dot com era. We raised a lot of money – I think it was six million dollars – and we ended up building a very large 70-person entertainment company. Another milestone was launching Guitar Hero mobile. That was a very big game for us and it was a big milestone for my mobile games company.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
The only thing that ever gets you through anything is ignorance, confidence, and tenacity. Entrepreneurs get into stuff that doesn’t make any sense, and they do things that don’t make any sense, and they end up with true confidence and tenacity to get out the other side and they make a successful business. All you ever need is ignorance, confidence, and tenacity to get an idea; my advice would be to stick to those principles.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Hands down, my very good friend Hanif Harji’s Spanish restaurant on King West, Patria. It’s one of my favourite restaurants in the world; it’s definitely in my top five, if not borderline number one. I lived in Europe for six years and I spent a lot of time in Spain and Ibiza; in terms of Spanish culture and cuisine, he nails it.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I like to sit outside and entertain my guests by making Canadian barbeque and drinking South of France from Court de Provence rosé.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I definitely love the South of France, but my favourite place is Ibiza, Spain. I’ve been going there for 10, maybe 15 years. I love how it’s this magical Spanish Mediterranean island with the style of jet-setting European partiers going out to great night clubs and amazing restaurants – it’s definitely one of my favourite places in the world.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
My wife and I love this one song that reminds us of our entire rave childhood, teenage adulthood, early adulthood; this song by Robin S, “Show Me Love.” That could be a definite good theme song for me.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I want to learn how to fly a plane in the near future. It seems like I could get a lot of good use out of it versus driving to and from. It seems like an interesting way to travel, so that could be something that’s on my mind.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support the charity of life, first and foremost. I truly believe everyday random acts of kindness are the way we can impact the most amount of positivity on the world. I also am a supporter of Charity Water, which is a water organization globally that funds and builds wells in third-world countries and produces clean drinking water for people so they can live and not have bacterial-infested water ways.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone 6S, 100 per cent.