Former yeshiva (Talmudic Academy) students, who found entrepreneurial success at a young age, are using their wealth and know-how to assist new, innovative start-ups.
Three young entrepreneurs, who all started multi-million dollar companies in their late teens or early 20s, have partnered up to create DSCN Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that will use their own resources to invest in young and innovative start-ups. The three former yeshiva students do not foresee themselves including any other partners and will use their years of experience, as well as their partnerships and contacts within the fashion industry, NFL, NBA, and high-tech corporations, to guide and assist promising companies, ensuring that the rocky road to success can be as smooth and seamless as possible.
David Schottenstein, who sold his custom clothing company Astor & Black that he started at only age 20 for tens of millions of dollars, will run the day-to-day goings on of the firm and will be partnering with brothers Ben and Eli Nash, who have each built thriving cell phone businesses. When he was only 18 Ben started PCS Wireless, which is currently anticipating $1 billion in sales this year, while his brother Eli started his company, Jeg & Sons, at age 20. Schottenstein was named as one of Inc’s 30 under 30 in 2010, while Ben Nash has been named in Forbes’s list of 30 under 30 as well as in Crain New York’s 40 under 40.
The firm has already invested in many original and pioneering high-tech companies, including Mellow, a smart sous-vide machine that cooks your food the way you want, when you want it, and OneWheel, a one-wheeled, self-balancing, electric skateboard. The trio has also backed fashion companies Mizzen + Main, which sells unique high quality performance dress shirts for men, and Hillflint, which offers heirloom-quality college knitwear.
“When I started my first company there were many challenges and hurdles that came up regularly, many of which I could have used a helping hand with,” said Schottenstein. “The fact that I overcame those challenges is nothing short of miraculous. We like helping our portfolio companies in any way we can, making sure our guys know that we are there for them when they run into obstacles.” When asked to comment regarding how their Talmudic studies have played a role in their development as entrepreneurs Schottenstein had this to say “Studying Talmud develops the brain in ways one can’t begin to imagine. The Talmud is rich with complex back and forth’s, challenges and solutions, particularly on subjects that one would assume have no relevance today. We know better. When faced with challenges in our own businesses I have no doubt that the critical thinking skills we learned in Yeshiva through Talmud study played a key role in our problem solving approach.”
“The reason I work with David is because he has tenacity and is relentless,” said Ben Nash. “David takes on every investment as if it is his only one and is a true value partner. Plus, he doesn’t deviate from his strong morals and ethics. His philanthropic attitude and his constant focus on the greater good makes him so pleasant to be around.” Added Eli: “He has an insane drive to make everyone around him better. He leaves no stone unturned to bring value to the companies he partners with.”