Kleveland Bishop is ultra-focused. At the age of 24, the self-confessed workaholic is already a serial entrepreneur with a sought-after office space at the fifth-largest tech hub in the United States, the Atlanta Tech Village.
As the founder of Motivfx and the guiding light behind the soon to be released Clubr app, Bishop represents a new take on American success. His Motivfx platform has just raised $25,000 in seed funding in exchange for 10 percent equity, which gives his early stage startup a $250,000 valuation. That’s a strong position for a fledgling eCommerce platform. The investment has given Bishop scope for further development and solidified his position as one of the young rising stars in Atlanta’s thriving tech startup scene.
Still, what makes this even more of an accomplishment is that minority founders oftentimes struggle to raise any type of investment, from venture capital to angel funding. In fact, various studies show that female and minority-owned businesses are less likely to receive angel investment.
In response to my probing on this very issue, Bishop says race doesn’t play the role that most people believe it does in the worlds of finance and technology. Speaking specifically about the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem, he offers that what is actually needed to facilitate inclusion is more minority founders. The rationale behind this is that people hire and fund people in their circles. Influencers tend to be most comfortable around whatever demographic they represent.
Regardless of what challenges minorities may or may not face in the tech startup scene, what’s also crucial is how individuals respond. Bishop promotes three pillars as being central to his philosophy for success: confidence, creativity, and consistency. He suggests that each of these attributes, when properly embraced, will bring enhanced value to all aspects of a person’s life. Consequently, much of Bishop’s success can be attributed to his business savvy and hustle mentality.
Earlier this month I caught up with Bishop at Atlanta Tech Village to learn about his businesses, get his perspectives on technology and finance, and to try to understand why entrepreneurs like him are becoming the new face of America.
KB: My name is Kleveland, but if you are my friend I’m Drew, and if you’re my close friend I am Andrew. Kleveland Andrew Bishop is my full name. I went to Georgia State, studied investment management, so right now I am running two companies here at Atlanta Tech Village.
KB: So I’m running Motivfx and Clubr. Motivfx is an eCommerce platform, I built a video series on how to do day trading, and I’ve been day trading for about five to six years. Basically, a lot of people wanted to know how to do it as well. I learned a lot during my matriculation through Georgia State’s investment management program, trading, and participating in different trading competitions. I kind of had a little bit of an advantage, so for people that didn’t have that opportunity, I am providing them with that opportunity through my platform. Participants have done very well and the results have been pretty positive.
Clubr is my outlet and a unique social platform. When you are trading you can get kinda bored in your house, because literally I can be trading and be done by noon and have nothing to do. So, I figured Clubr would give me the opportunity to be around people my own age, and hang out, and whatnot. It’s a pretty booming startup right now. We throw a lot of big events here in Atlanta and we are dropping an app in the next few weeks as well. However, Motivfx is still the flagship company for me right now.
KB: Yep, well my dad is from New York, Queens, and my mom is from Florida, Escambia County. My parents met here in Atlanta, and I was born in College Park. I can’t rep my hospital because I don’t know where it is, though I believe it may have been Southwest DeKalb. So yeah, I grew up in College Park until about 3rd grade and moved to Fayette County. I lived a pretty suburban lifestyle after that move and that is the area where I ended up going to high school. I didn’t do so well in high school actually. I ended up graduating out of high school with a 1.9-grade point average. I don’t mind owning up to that because I was not doing my best. I had to get myself together, had to take control of my life. I felt like I was being really lazy in life, I saw all my friends going to big colleges because demographically speaking I went to a fairly affluent school. So I saw my classmates doing well and wanted to keep pace with them and so I got my stuff together in junior college. I went to Georgia Military College and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. That earned me the Hope Scholarship to Georgia State and a new beginning. My father was a strong trader, and so I started setting up finance before then by trading with my dad. However, I took it really seriously once I got to Georgia State and everything went pretty well from there.
KB: Well, I mean when I saw my dad hitting pretty big numbers, I saw what money can do in terms of if you work hard and if you are passionate about something and dedicated. I’ve seen what can come from it. But I also see situations where if you are a little bit disorganized if you are not so calculated in your decisions how it can hurt you. Being from College Park I still had friends and people from that area that weren’t doing so hot, problems stemming from legal situations. Living in Fayette County demonstrated for me where the differences were for people who were doing well. So growing up I could really see the potential paths I could take as concrete options in front of me. So, I wanted to kinda straighten myself up a little bit. I wasn’t a bad kid, I never got myself into trouble or suspended or anything like that. I was just known as the kid who never came to class with any books, I would just come to class free-handed. I would literally come to class and sit-down, I mean it is pretty funny in hindsight but it wasn’t good for me at the time.
KB: It drives me because there were nuances that I had in terms of my routine back when I was in 12th grade, that weren’t allowing me to really excel. I was being really lazy and I’m really afraid to go back to that mode of behavior and to not be as productive as I am currently. I don’t want to put myself back in that position. So my outlook is set on how I can be as productive as possible all the time. I want everything I do in my life to be focused around what I love. So if I am doing something that I don’t love, then I shouldn’t be doing it, and I need to figure out how to get out of it as soon as possible. That’s why both of my businesses are structured around things that I already do, so it never feels like work ever. Say you find your passion, what you should hopefully observe is that you are already doing your passion. Your passion should be something that you do just to do, and if you find a way to monetize that, then you are winning. And it keeps you sustainable because you can’t just do something for money. People do work that they hate thinking that if they concentrate enough they can make it work. You can be seriously focused on your job, laser focused, and still be miserable and ineffective at what you do. It comes down to whether you are doing something you are truly passionate about. You might as well do something you love to do. So yeah that is where I’m at and that is the way I structure everything. I pose the question what do I like, and then later make the decision, “Yeah, let’s execute on that.”
KB: Well, I don’t know how deep I should go, but I do have this really pretty big vision, big goal that I want to hit. Where there is just a reconstruction of what people think is possible in terms of freedom and money. Most people believe that a job is standard, and I wrote a blog the other day that is called “If You Work a Job You’re Ol’ School.” My online course is all about how you can make money from home, or you can make money from wherever you want. Money isn’t the problem, it’s the mindset and thought process behind how to attain money that’s the problem. If you live in a capitalistic society and want to make more income, if your main incentive is to make more money, this is the business you should probably be in because it’s pure capitalism. There is no in-between, there is no selling product to get money, this is literally we are exchanging dollars and risking dollars for more dollars.
Right so, I want to get people that edge, to basically get them from skill-set to profit. A lot of other businesses you have to be good at growing flowers, or good at art to make money. Well in this business its literally, well are you patient, because if you are then you should trade like this because your patience will reward you. Are you good at pattern recognition, because if you are you can make money doing it that same day, by being in the capital markets. So, that’s my incentive to get people straight to the money. For nightlife we are running a campaign right now called paid to party. So again it’s a situation where if you love going out if you love having fun, here is a situation that’s going to put you in a position to do that for a living. So my internal motivation is always stemming to getting people out of the mindset, of I hate my job, I want to be successful, but what do I need to do. Again, I just think people need to start at the core, which is going to be themselves.
If you want to learn more about my eCommerce platform you can go to www.motivfx.com. My nightlife company, Clubr, hosts Vice Monday events at the Tongue and Groove nightclub, it’s the biggest Monday night event in the city, so feel free to come party with us.