Hamilton junior Sam Matlick’s first place win in the college’s fourth annual pitch competition in October 2013 was impressive, but it pales when compared with his first place finish in the Salt City Shark Tank, the YPO/WPO (Young Presidents Organization/World Presidents Organization) state-wide competition, last November. Matlick presented his company, SellYourTech LLC, now powered by Sunnking Electronics, at the event which is styled after the ABC show Shark Tank.
On the eve of this year’s 7th annual Hamilton pitch competition, Matlick reflected on some of the contributing factors leading to his most recent success. “Hamilton has been incredible for me in terms of contacts, winning one year of services from a lawyer and one year of consulting assistance with pitch competition founders Michael (Michael Fawcett '66) and Hedy (Foreman) and the four-month internship over the summer.”
The experience at Hamilton and subsequent wins at New York Business Plan Competition and the Mohawk Valley Regional Competition in 2014 certainly added to his preparation for the even more intensely competitive November event.
Matlick’s initial Shark Tank competition included a student from Syracuse University but primarily involved major, already established start-ups, as well as older business people with new ideas. Entrants submitted a 10-page application from which 25 entrants were selected for a half-hour phone interview.
Serendipitously, alumnus Graham Brodock ’05, owner of Kris-Tech Wiring Company, was assigned to interview him. Having advanced to the final round, Matlick presented for five minutes and fielded questions for 25 minutes, as did his four other competitors, all older individuals.
He emerged with more than a cash prize, however. Matlick said he walked away with a “suitcase of business cards” from those interested in becoming part of his enterprise. “The venture capitalists were lined up [to talk with me].”
Among those who witnessed his win was Brian Shine, one of his new partners and investors in SellYourTech. Shine, his brother Adam, Duane Beckett and alumnus Peter Linder ’77 discovered Matlick after Linder read about his 2013 Hamilton pitch competition win on the college news site. In the summer of 2015 and after more than a year of discussion, the foursome negotiated the acquisition of SellYourTech as part of SunnKing, the state’s largest e-waste processing company.
“SunnKing saw the window of opportunity in small electronics,” said Matlick who remains as CEO of SellYourTech and is dedicated to expanding its business nationally across college campuses. He has already established sales reps on campuses at Indiana University, Rochester University, Penn State, West Chester University and several other schools.
Matlick’s story begins even before he arrived on Hamilton’s campus. While at Westminster School the year before starting at Hamilton, Matlick developed his business idea. Wanting to upgrade his cell phone, he sold his old phone on eBay. It occurred to him that he could easily begin collecting additional old phones and mp3 players from his classmates and resell them for a profit on eBay. Within a month, he had racked up $12,000 in sales, and SellYourTech was on its way to becoming a reality.
As he plans for the future, Matlick points out that with more than 725,000 college students in New York alone and with the infrastructure and support of Sunnking, there exist great opportunities for the company’s growth. In addition to achieving business success, this environmental studies major also knows that his company is contributing to the well-being of the planet in its recycling operations.