If David Spiro hadn’t suffered a serious injury on the baseball field at the University of Michigan, he might never have begun the adventurous career he now spends most days and night working on and thinking about.
A star centerfielder on the varsity team at Livingston High School, Spiro was recruited to play college baseball in Ann Arbor.
“But during the first week of practice I ruptured my spleen diving for a ball,” he said. “I was rushed to the hospital. I was definitely on my deathbed, and it was a little scary — but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
The incident forced Spiro to hang up his cleats and turn his attention to his studies as a business major. “That’s where I stumbled upon entrepreneurship,” he said.
As he sat in class, Spiro noticed that his fellow students were keeping lists of their business ideas in free-form documents on their computers. It inspired him to “take what I was learning in the classroom, make it look very nice as an app, and get people to stop wasting their time writing down ideas without organizing them.”
Four years later, at the age of 23, he is the founder and CEO of Elevatr, an Internet startup that he hopes will revolutionize the way fellow young entrepreneurs launch successful businesses.
Spiro, who grew up and became bar mitzva at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, runs Elevatr from a loft in Soho.
“Elevatr is all about organizing your business ideas. You can keep track of who your competitors are, what your target market is, what product features you would like to build, and how you are going to monetize it.”
It is providing a structure so that “we can guide their ideas to a concise plan,” he said.
The name, he explained, comes from the term “elevator pitch.”
“If you were a lower-level employee at a corporation and you wanted to pitch an idea to your boss, the best time to do it was in the elevator,” he said. “It was an intimate setting and a quick way to explain the idea you were working on.”
Spiro has a staff of four full-time and two part-time employees. He multitasks almost constantly, with one hand on the keyboard of his laptop, the other sending text messages on his smartphone, as he deals with product strategy, fund-raising, and public relations. Others are responsible for web design, content management, and business development.
He and a Brazilian partner, Rafael Amorim, the site’s chief technology officer, launched Elevatr in May. “It has been amazing,” said Spiro. “We have 75,000 users. It shows how mainstream entrepreneurship has become.”
Spiro lives in midtown Manhattan, a short commute from the office space he shares with some 25 other eager website developers. His parents, Scott and Susy Spiro, live in Livingston.
“There are millions of things to do all the time,” he said. “My life is involved with a lot of thinking. I do a lot of strategizing and conceptualizing. I picture all the opportunities, create a map of different options and different routes we could go, weigh the positives and negatives, and then take steps to hit a vision.”
Elevatr, Spiro vows, “is definitely my first but not my last venture. I love it because I am building the market for me, and it has been resonating with other people. I am building something for a market that I truly understand and I think that is why it has been successful. I am learning a lot from it, and it will set me up for other projects in the future.”