Welcome to Joe Zhou, Global Entrepreneur in Residence!
The following post is from Ali Pincus Jacobs, a Blank Center team member.
The Blank Center is excited to welcome Joe Zhou as the first Global Entrepreneur in Residence. Joe is the Founder & CEO of FirstBlood, an E-sports startup that recently broke the speed record for crowdfunding. Prior to founding Firstblood, Joe co-founded Alt-Options, a Boston based FinTech startup that built the first American style option trading platform for digital currencies. Joe holds a B.S.B.A. from Boston University, Questrom School of Business and is an ACAMS chartered anti-money laundering specialist. We sat down with Joe to learn more about his company and experience as an entrepreneur.
Joe, tell us a bit about your current startup, FirstBlood.
FirstBlood is a decentralized E-sports platform that allows gamers to challenge each other in the field and win rewards. FirstBlood envisions becoming the future gateway of competitive E-sports that allows any gamer to participate in E-sports professionally.
What inspired you to start this company and to what do you attribute your early success?
I am sure this may be a familiar story to many people out there… but growing up there was a constant argument between me and my well-meaning parents. I was a video game obsessed kid who just wanted to grind my way up through whatever game I was into at the time. They would constantly tell me “Stop wasting your life away” and “Go out and build something.” It is a conflict that has stayed with me as an adult – balancing doing what I love vs doing something that can actually become a career. As E-sports gains more and more popularity, I saw this opportunity to create something unique for fellow gamers. Blockchain and gaming could be the perfect marriage.
We attribute to our early success to the ability to reach out to other people who had been waiting for an idea for their entire gaming “career”. We have had success at capturing those people.
What ignited your interest in digital currency?
I was involved in digital currency in early 2013 after learning how volatile the market was. As a finance student and trader, my first reaction was to trade and profit from it. Then, as I learned more and more about the technology of digital currency, I was drawn in and fascinated by its potential to disrupt many existing spaces.
You are really on the forefront of this. Is there an active FinTech community in Boston that you consider peers?? How would you recommend a student learn more about this growing industry?
Absolutely – there is a lot of FinTech action going on locally. The two big FinTech communities in Boston are the FinTech Sandbox and the DCU FinTech Innovation Center. If a student has an interest in this area, I would recommend that they check out the monthly FinTech meetup event and attend FinTech Sandbox demo days.
We are so thrilled to have you and all of the experience that you bring as part of the Babson community. What aspect of being a Babson Global EIR is most exciting to you?
There are two things that I am most excited about. The first part is I can finally do what I love to do as an entrepreneur – run startups – legally in the US. The second thing is the opportunity to interact with and learn from Babson entrepreneurs and potentially help them avoid some of the mistakes I made when I first started. This reciprocal relationship really excites me.
Joe is actively mentoring Babson startups and working with the Babson faculty and Blank Center team on workshops and research, if you’d like to benefit from Joe’s help please feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via StartupTree.