Relationships are of paramount importance in business, and nobody can attest to this more than serial entrepreneur, Richard Blankenship. This is evidenced by the random meeting between Blankenship and David Metz in Las Vegas two years ago, which was the beginning of Blankenship’s greatest venture to date. The meeting between Blankenship and Metz sparked a journey to create Prizeout, a New York based fintech company that has raised around 4.5 million dollars in series A.
When Blankenship and Metz met two years ago, Metz was the CEO of FleetWit, a trivia app, and Blankenship was the Chief Revenue Officer of Poker Central, a poker media company. FleetWit was looking to collaborate with Poker Central as it was looking to create a mix of a trivia and poker show, Poker Central has vast involvement with live productions, and holds the rights to the notorious World Series of Poker. A deal was imminent as a collaboration would be beneficial for both companies. Blankenship and Metz became very familiar with each other during their negotiations which spanned three months, during one of their meetings, Metz mentioned an idea to Blankenship for a financial technology company, and Prizeout was born.
Blankenship has an extensive background working for the gaming industry, and he recognized that companies in this industry had billions of dollars of consumer funds, and that the consumers needed a better withdrawal option. Blankenship knew that if they could withdraw the funds quicker, and with an added perk with like the use of gift cards, this idea would be very successful with gaming companies and consumers alike.
The inception of Prizeout came the following month, as Blankenship wired Metz seed capital for the startup. The trust the two established over three months of negotiations enabled them to make an old-school handshake deal, without a need for contracts. Metz was always fond of Blankenship, and the relationship evolved as Blankenship was the first investor in Prizeout, and added substantial value to the company where Metz made him a cofounder, as well as the Chief Revenue Officer of Prizeout. Metz is not the only person to find value and trust in Blankenship, as many others who have worked with Blankenship left glowing reviews. Several other of Blankenship’s business partners raved about his empathetic nature, as he has an uncanny ability to inquire about the personal lives of others, fostering a bond which leads to prosperous business endeavors.
Blankenship lives by the motto, “Work hard and be kind”, he is a people person who takes the time to listen to what others have to say, and the topic isn’t always business. He is able to build strong relationships as he likes to engage others in dialogue about their family, and other personal issues. This sort of communication makes it easy to create friendships, as Blankenship is not the type to just look at what financial benefits he can extract from the other person. Serial entrepreneur Jeff Liboon is a perfect example of how Blankenship is able to build relationships into successful business ventures. The two first met when Liboon was the head of marketing for the Amazon App Store and Blankenship was the Chief Revenue Officer at Poker Central. Liboon was keen on using Poker Central’s skills in live production as seen in the World Series of Poker, and wanted to utilize that in application to Amazon’s Esports events. Liboon and Blankenship became friendly, in turn, their friendship created a relationship for their respective employers, Amazon and Poker Central. Liboon and Blankenship teamed up to create Estars Studio, an esports production company that serviced companies like Amazon and those alike. Liboon then became an early investor in Prizeout, and Blankenship reciprocated by investing into Liboon’s company, MightyKidz. MightyKidz is childcare facility that is quickly ascending to the top of its industry, as it was ranked #344 on INC’s 5000 list.
Liboon says that Blankenship is very different from most of the business relationships he previously had, Blankenship was able to connect with Liboon on a very personal level, where the two are not just investors in each other’s businesses, but also take family vacations together. The two became so close that Blankenship is now the godfather to Liboon’s daughter.
Blankenship has amassed a very impressive resume in only ten years, he was the Chief Revenue Officer for three companies, two of which he later became a cofounder. Blankenship also has a robust venture capital portfolio that many investors can only dream of, he is only 29 years old. Blankenship is a firm believer in reciprocity, he does good things for people and they do the same for him. Such is the essence of the success of Blankenship, he is the perfect example of his favorite quote, “Your network is your net worth”.