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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Matt Fornataro

Why did you start Kompany39? What was it about the idea that made you want to go all in? 

I felt quite lost when I retired from hockey. Hockey was all I ever knew; the lifestyle, the language, the bubble of pro sports is one that very few people ever experience. I was 31 with no work experience, lonely, lost and afraid. I didn’t make millions of dollars so I didn’t have a piggy bank to go live off while I figured things out. It quickly hit me that if I wanted be successful, it was on me to make it happen.

I took an inventory on everything in my life from fitness to nutrition to LEARNING. I realized I stopped learning a long time ago. I was on autopilot. So I had to start learning again. I started reading and it was really hard in the beginning, my mind would wander, I couldn’t retain the information. After 17 days (I know random) something clicked. Since November 17, 2016 I have read 137 books. Not ground breaking but for a guy who never finished an entire book before, its been transformative. It’s an integral part of my every day routine and a big reason Kompany39 exists today.

If I’m honest I wanted as far away from the game as possible. As I read more I asked more questions. I met more people. I became obsessive over cramming information and ideas into my head, I was learning for the first time in a long time. I began writing, scribbles turned into ideas (most were awful) and then a few ideas turned into a business plan. I realized two things pretty quickly. I wanted to help people and I knew the hockey world. I looked at the market, looked at trends and saw an opportunity.

An opportunity to create a place I wish I had 15 years ago.

We wanted to tell great stories. Share the training, the nutrition, the drills, the mindset that it takes to be world class. Give amateur athletes a place to learn from the best, make it accessible to anyone with a smartphone and internet. Taking an idea and turning it into something real has a super polarizing effect on a person. The chance to give back to the game that has taught me so much, help young athletes develop as people and players. As our business has evolved I continue to learn so much every day. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Kompany39.

Where do you find inspiration/motivation? 

I read a lot. Books have become my sanctuary. Some of my favorite authors are Ryan Holiday, James Altucher and Malcolm Gladwell. I highly recommend everyone (no matter your age or occupation) Ego is the Enemy. I follow some great people on social media like Inky Johnson, Jesse Itzler, Gary Vee for a good daily dose. I also listen to a lot of Podcasts like How I Built This, Mastery, and Spittin Chiclets. Motivation comes and goes, inspiration comes and goes. Persistence and commitment combined with a growth mindset really does work!

Besides your own, what other startup (any time period) do you wish you could have founded/worked at and why?

Toss Up between Nike and Apple. I have always admired Apple. The technology mixed with elegance has always been super interesting to me. Nike and the story of how it was built would have been fun to be a part of, the scrappy persistent nature of it is something that every entrepreneur feels.

Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

Jesse Itzler – Genuine, hustler, accomplished. He is someone I have watched and studied closely. He is the guy behind Zico Water, NetJets and many more successful companies.

Kyle York, Joe Razcka, Adam Coughlin – Every minute you spend with Kyle, Joe or Adam you feel like you can learn from it. They are big thinkers with precision like execution. They are always available and eager to help and have had a profound impact on my professional development.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Raw, Real, Hustler. I respect his ability to cut through the noise, spot trends, mesh industries and take risks.

What do you like to do in your free time away from Kompany39?

Family + Golf. I have two young kids and an amazing wife. If I am not butter cutting a smooth 7 iron or at the gym – Im somewhere on a family adventure!

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