(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a series spotlighting the life-long journey of Nashville Entrepreneur Shawn Glinter, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pendant Biosciences Inc.)
Imagine you are in the ninth grade attending a varsity volleyball game when one of the players drops to the floor with an injury. You would think coaches and perhaps fans would spring into action.
“No one was doing anything,” Shawn Glinter told us recently when we sat down for an extended interview with the Nashville Entrepreneur. “No one knew what to do. I came out of the bleachers and held her hand for 45 minutes awaiting EMS.”
Like so many of us, a single event, in this case an injured volleyball player and the lack of readily-available emergency care, launched the resident of Winnipeg, Canada on a lifetime entrepreneurial journey related in one way or another to healthcare.
“How do we not have professionally trained people at athletic events,” Glinter wondered, so he went to the school Principal to discuss the matter. The latter was dismissive of the ninth grader’s concerns, but Glinter would not take no for an answer. He had to do something, and that meant enrolling in some non-credit courses at the University of Manitoba, riding the transit bus from his home to the college and back.
Those who know the Nashvillian know that Glinter is inquisitive, tenaciously persistent, passionate about issues and causes, and very animated as he talks. All of those characteristics were on display as he told the story of becoming an Athletic Trainer, then an Emergency Medical Technician (Paramedic), and ultimately the Founder of several start-ups.
Before relating those stops on his way to Nashville, let’s back-up to Glinter’s first entrepreneurial adventure that started three years earlier. The then 12-year old recalled that he was out-of-town for the weekend, staying in a hotel where all of the vending machines were empty.
“Something is wrong,” Glinter thought. So, when he got back home, he decided to see if that was the situation in downtown Winnipeg. He rode the transit bus to the Sheraton Hotel, looked on all of the floors, and saw the same situation. Aha, he thought, here’s a way to make some money.
“I talked to the hotel General Manager,” he said, asking, “What if you paid me to fill your vending machines on the weekend?” Glinter even suggested the compensation – $15 an hour. The General Manager agreed, but countered with $9 an hour, and his first start-up was born.
Wondering if other hotels had the same issue, Glinter investigated and found seven others that were signed-up. He got some of his classmates to stock those hotels. He charged the hotels $9 an hour and paid his helpers $7 an hour.
“It was my idea, guys,” Glinter told them when asked about the differential.
The gig lasted about a year until the vendor/distributor decided to take over the duties.
“That was my first real entrepreneurial experience,” Glinter said, but added with his dry sense of humor, “I had a paper route, snow blower, and even cut grass the one month it grew!”
NEXT: The journey from the volleyball court experience forward.