Michael Lisovetsky’s entrepreneurial journey started in the 6th grade when he and a friend created a website called HomeworkSwap. Their goal wasn’t to earn money but to avoid mindless schoolwork. The site did not take off nor did their next venture, a web hosting company that failed miserably, but it set the stage for Michael’s next company FazeWire (www.fazewire.com), which succeeded.
The aspiring young entrepreneur sold FazeWire while still in middle school, and, though the amount was small, Michael knew this was what wanted to do with his future—he was on the road to becoming an entrepreneur.
Traditional Education and the Birth of an Idea
After high school, Michael entered New York University in the fall of 2011. He quickly realized that traditional university courses were not doing much for him, but he knew a degree would prove credible to outsiders, which fueled his drive to succeed.
One day at the gym, Michael was talking to one of his now cofounders Dean Soukeras about the power of card swipe. For a number of years, Dean was a real estate broker, which led the two of them to pair the concept of swipe and real estate to create HomeSwipe (www.homeswipe.com). Similar to Tinder, HomeSwipe allows people to “find their new home in a swipe.” Adding Jason Marmon, now the CTO, they decided to move forward with a minimum viable product, and once they saw traction, all three committed to the company full time.
Enter Draper University
Michael found Draper U completely by accident. He attended a Wearable Tech conference where he met Draper alumni and founder of Q Bracelet and Q Designs, James Kernan. James told Michael about Draper U and since he thrives on serendipitous opportunities, he felt that Draper U was a nobrainer. NYU was put on hold while Michael attended Draper in the summer of 2014.
“At best, NYU spurred a path of selfeducation, in which I understood the fundamentals of finance from greats such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger,” says Michael. “The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that. I learned more about myself and the world in the weeks at Draper U than the four years of university I drudged through.”
While at Draper, Michael immersed himself and worked with a team of four other young and aspiring entrepreneurs: He pushed himself beyond his limits selling vibrators, learned team building via scavenger hunts, participated in a survival weekend—a perfect parallel to starting a business—and ultimately pitched to a team of technology luminaries and Silicon Valley VCs.
Michael and HomeSwipe came out on top, securing an angel investment from Tim Draper. Now HomeSwipe is rapidly approaching product/market fit. They are scaling to Chicago soon and flipping the switch to start generating revenue.
“It's been a complete whirlwind for us, and it feels great to be behind the controls of a rocket ship that's taking off,” said Michael. “I recently pitched HomeSwipe at the VCIC Global Finals, and won the Startup of the Year award. Winning against entrepreneurs significantly older and more experienced was an extremely humbling experience.”
At 22 years old, Michael is already equipped with the experience and knowledge he needs for his entrepreneurial future, and he has Draper University to thank for teaching him how to—in the words of Tim Draper—”explore the world with gusto and enthusiasm.”