(Jump)Starting a company is an impressive feat, and doing so in the up-and-coming internet industry, with a family of two rambunctious toddlers, is even more impressive. Ron DeAngelis, my father, did just that twenty years ago – leaving his job at a successful DVD microchip company to branch off on his own and help his clients navigate the rapidly changing world of technology.
Starting out in the garage of my childhood home, JumpStart Technology was born with nothing but a vision, the support of his family, a hard work ethic, and my dad’s eagerness to learn as he went.
The inspiration for JumpStart started during my dad’s collegiate career within the Entrepreneurship Program at San Jose State University, where he participated in several entrepreneurial projects and won entrepreneurship competitions. He really enjoyed running his own business through those simulations, but never knew that he would eventually start his own company. Ron saw a gap in the market for IT service providers when working at his last job before starting JumpStart. His previous job had struggled to find a company that could provide the level of IT service that they had needed, and my dad thought that he could do better.
So my dad bought a laptop and cell phone, and JumpStart Technology came to life. For the first few years, the company was supported solely by contractors that my dad knew from previous jobs or other work connections. After landing his first big client (originally Pets.com, but now widely known as PetSmart!), my dad was able to bring on his first employee. He worked tirelessly to secure clients, managing relationships with all of them as the token salesman for JumpStart. The company continued to grow every year, and had to exchange the garage for an actual office space after several years. Fast forward twenty years, and JumpStart has almost fifteen employees, clients across the nation, and the same commitment to client customer service as the company did during its humble beginnings.
One of the people that I look up to most in this world is my dad. He is the best role model, cheerleader, advocate (including devil’s advocate!), and mentor I could ever ask for. His passion and dedication to is business is extremely commendable, and such an inspiration to me as an up-and-coming business professional just about to enter the “real world.”
Being apart of a family business, and growing up within the company, has been such a wonderful growth opportunity and learning experience for me – and one that I did not even realize for a long period of time.
When I was little, I was excited to go to Daddy’s Office, because it meant lots of snacks, an air-hockey table, and getting to unpack and organize boxes Post-Its and Expo Markers. As I grew up, I was recruited to help out with filing and other administrative tasks, and I enjoyed the satisfaction of helping my parents, along with the souvenir money on family vacations that typically stemmed from it. Finally, when I was old enough to think about colleges and majors, I realized that I had learned a lot about life from being apart of the family business. I knew that I would be successful in college due to the can-do attitude my family instilled in me, and the responsibility (for various JumpStart projects) my parents entrusted me with at an early age. Reflecting back on the past 20 years, I have learned the good, the bad, and the ugly about juggling a family business – but also about juggling life. As in life, businesses are unpredictable and there is really no one set path to success. I learned, however, that with determination, a little grit, and a passion for what you set out to do, anything is possible – and I have my dad to thank for that.