Meet Daniel Newman– 23-year-old Co-founder and CEO of his very own product-based tech company, Dandy. From a young age, Newman grew interested in the field of business and decided early on that he wanted to be an entrepreneur when he got older. Once he began his undergrad career at the University of Southern California, he pursued a degree in Real Estate Development within the school’s business program. During his freshman year, he was exposed to the depths and technicalities of technology and how they could be applied to the development of modern-day businesses; in other words, he was introduced to the world of startups. That was the moment everything changed.
A little background on Newman: he grew up in Beverly Hills, California, and was raised by immigrated Persian parents. He is very family-oriented, he plays the piano, and he has always been heavily involved in extracurricular activities throughout his school years. In fact, his first business endeavor took place while he attended Beverly Hills High School. He started a small business named TutorYou Beverly Hills after he realized that the tutors in his area were relatively outdated, and therefore inexperienced with the material the K-8 students were learning at the time. He knew his high school friends were always looking for ways to make money, so after putting two and two together, he hired his friends to tutor the younger students and kickstarted his very first business. Demand for the company grew instantaneously, and it quickly became the first of many career successes under Newman’s name.
During his time at USC, Newman also founded a student event named TAMID Tank, which was the university’s equivalent of the popular television show, “Shark Tank”. Essentially, the event was meant to provide university students with the experience of pitching their startup businesses to a panel of real venture capitalists. The organization was also meant to teach students about the nature of the Israeli economy, which is commonly referred to as the “startup nation” for having the largest number of startups per capita in the world. The first TAMID Tank event at USC was a massive success and quickly reached its maximum capacity of over 500 audience members. The event is now held annually, and Newman later became the Vice President of Operations for the event’s organization in 2016.
Due to his Persian Jewish background, Newman grew more and more interested in the Israeli economy and its progressive innovations within the global startup community. In between his college years, Newman interned at UpWest Labs– an early-stage fund company based in Silicon Valley that supports some of Israel’s best technology entrepreneurs with resources, funding, mentorships, and more in order to succeed within the U.S market. He even got to spend some time in Israel and learn from the experts themselves, whom he still partially credits for his success today.
After several years of gathering knowledge and entry-level experience, Newman finally decided to found his first startup company alongside his partner and then-roommate, Leor Massachi. The two came up with the idea of a dating app unlike any other in the market. It would prove to be the opposite of time-consuming apps like Tinder and Bumble, which usually require a “swipe” and consistent back-and-forth messaging. Their version of a dating app would consist of a product working in real-time, at the same time. Users would log in simultaneously during the app’s live sessions at 8pm in hopes to find a match within the given time slot, which was usually only a few minutes. If a user matched with another, they would then be transferred into a three-minute message-based chat to decide whether or not they were interested enough to follow up a conversation off the app. The app would unlock each user’s phone number if both parties agreed to continue. Newman explains that they wanted it to feel as genuine and as efficient as if you’d met someone in real life, rather than wasting time sending messages on a random app with someone you might not even be that interested in. In this case, dating would turn into what everyone wishes it was: quick, real, and to the point.
The product took three months to create and launch into beta. Newman and Massachi hired a small team to help with the design and engineering of the product, which they created to appeal to millennials and gen z specifically. Newman’s role as CEO consisted of managing finances, logistics, and communication between the team while his partner handled the marketing strategies and creative aspects of the product. They called the project Dandy.
The app was blowing up in a matter of months, but in order to get it exactly where they wanted it, the founders realized they needed to fundraise the money to invest in the project. They pitched Dandy 117 times before receiving their first yes from an investor. After the first check was issued, investors began pouring in, and before they knew it, Dandy had raised over $3.3 million.
Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, Dandy was restructured and rebranded into a new product named Zoom University, which took after many of the qualities Dandy originally had. Newman and his partner wanted to appeal to their generations differently since human interaction was going to be severely limited as a result of nationwide lockdowns. The new product was also synchronous and consisted of “live sessions”, but this time, the video calls would be two-on-two; intended to mimic a double-date with your best friend. The turnaround of the rebranded product was 24-hours, and the web MVP for Zoom University was uploaded the day after Newman and Massachi held a meeting discussing the rebranding. At a time when people were at their loneliest, Zoom University came in to save the day. Soon after its beta launch, the app had a waitlist of hundreds of thousands of users. And as if the high demand weren’t enough of a success, the app also reached the #9 slot in the Top 10 Best Social Networking Applications chart of the Apple Store.
And that’s not the end of Newman’s list of achievements, despite his young age. He, along with his partner, are currently undergoing discussions involving the next big project in progress. The details cannot be discussed quite yet, but the CEO tells us they will be taking everything they’ve learned from Dandy and Zoom University into an even bigger and more innovative product that no one has ever experienced before.