Marc (on the right) is photographed with co-founder of Skippit Mason O’Hanlon. Photo credits: Jose Rodriguez Odon, Babson Class of 2023
"When the Skippit launched, it definitely took off with a bang! The Skippit App quickly gained thousands of users along with nearly 50 million social media impressions from influencers like Brody Jenner, Sofia J Mora, Larsa Pippen, Spencer Pratt, and Julia Rose among many others. Skippit quickly became the number 68th most popular Social Networking App on the Appstore.
In the first five minutes of a real date, you know if you want to stay for the hour. Skippit is a new dating app that replaces those awkward first drinks and removes the possibility of being catfished by using video dates. Getting to know your date over a five-minute call skips the harsh reality of weeks of texting strangers. Started by two Babson College students, Marc Baghadjian ‘21 and Mason O’Hanlon ‘21, the startup has been able to build a great team spanning from mogul influencers like Mike Majlak of Impaulsive, CMO of Skippit, to Frankie Delgado of The Hills, Director of Partnerships. Some tech titans who have jumped on the ship include John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, Scott Eagle, former CMO of EHarmony, John Pleasants, former CEO of Ticketmaster, along with a few others. That mentorship allowed them to grow their company, and raise a pre-seed from angel investors like Daniel Macklin, founder of SoFi, and the former CEO of Google’s investment arm. They are currently looking to raise a $2.5m seed round for their next steps." - Marc Baghadjian
I spoke with Marc about his journey as an entrepreneur— the meaning behind his venture, the way he leads a team and the motivation behind his entrepreneurial endeavors.
What started your journey to become an entrepreneur?
“Throughout my life, I’ve found myself in several self-started positions— from starting a Youtube channel with over 250,000 views to the building of a student government— I’ve noticed I love building things with other people. I learned so much from watching Shark Tank, but I also owe my knowledge to academia, since I took an entrepreneurship course and instantly fell in love with it!”
What inspired you to start Skippit?
“I got to really get to know my ex-girlfriend over Facetime and realized how important that ‘face-to-face’ interaction was compared to texting. Even though the conversations with my ex-girlfriend weren't technically ‘dates’, they kinda were dates!” Marc laughed. “I was getting to know her without all the pressure that would have come with a date. I couldn’t understand how people started dating online without even knowing how the other person’s voice sounded! In the first five minutes of a date you know if you want to stay for the entire hour. Verbal interaction is a must in any relationship, and if I can facilitate those five minutes virtually then I have succeeded.”
How do you motivate those around you?
“I give them a vision; I appeal to their wants and objectives. It’s crucial to get to the root of what people want— once they can see it and realize what it is, they’ll act to fulfill those ambitions.”
How do you build a successful team?
“I build a successful team by being an expert generalist: I put all the right people in one room and understand each of those peoples' verticals. In other words, I get all the people who are great at specific things, unify them under a common vision, and have them communicate with one another to achieve a final goal.”
What do you most value in a business partner?
“Being someone I can confide in. Someone reliable who can make my plate lighter. Someone who balances out my personality. Imagine two Marcs in the same room! One is more than enough. But at the end of the day, it’s someone who offers you a valuable company. You’re going to spend most of your time with them, you have to enjoy it. Like I love to tell my friends: it’s about who you're with, not as much what you're doing.”
How do you find motivation?
“I go by my life’s philosophy that you have to want it. If you want it enough, you’re unstoppable. Of course, it’s about loving what you do and why you do it. It’s like going to the gym— if you dread doing it every time, you’re barely going to do it. You have to want it badly enough. And guess what? Very few people want it badly enough. I’m driven because my why is greater than my what. The reason behind my entrepreneurial endeavors is to put my family into a better financial position. The fear of being in a financial crisis drives me to hustle. But, the love to build things and meet people are huge components of my drive, too. Like I said, loving what you do and why you do it— that’s a winning variation.”
What do you love about what you do?
“My startups are my excuse to meet the coolest people in the world. I’ve met so many leaders I’ve learned from along the way, and it’s amazing.”
What is one quality about yourself that has helped you along your entrepreneurial pathway?
“Resilience. Nothing else matters. People just give up, and by being resilient, you do what most people would never.”
How do you put yourself out there?
“I was such a jerk freshman year. I would bring up my business first thing when I met somebody. It got to the point where I realized it was a trap. When you use the things you do as an identity, you create a safety net. You become your ventures. But what if your ventures fail? Then your identity crumbles. Now, when I talk to people, I mention my business only if it’s relevant to the conversation. Doing this, I am able to build stronger relationships.”
What is some advice you would give to someone who wants to improve their venture or personal development?
“Don’t be afraid of failure. The most successful people have failed the most. Failing becomes succeeding. As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, ‘How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?’ Edison replied, ‘I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.’ Similarly, I know that every day I am one step closer towards success. Another example was when Michael Jordan didn't get into his high school basketball team. Can you believe that? As cliche as it sounds, ‘it’s about how you get up after falling’.”
Any “Babson hack” you would like to share?
“Enjoy the variety of food at Trim. For real! When else are you going to eat curried Quinoa?”
Article by Nicole Edwards
The views expressed herein are attributed to their authors and not to this publication nor Babson College. The materials appearing in this publication are for information purposes only.