David Sudolsky: The Importance of Outsourcing and How to Incorporate Social Impact Into Your Business Model
by DC Startup Week Team
Welcome back! We are excited to interview leaders in the DC entrepreneur scene who are making waves in our community. This week we interviewed David Sudolsky, founder and CEO of Boldr, a social impact organization committed to making it the standard for outsourcing companies to upskill their workforce and connect their talent pool with social good.
1. What do you love most about the DC Startup Community?
While the DC start up community is smaller than say, New York or San Fran, I think it’s size is what makes it so special. One of the quickest things I learned after starting Boldr is that if you do a good job in DC, people talk. Last year at Boldr, we won 70% of our business through referrals and introductions from Clients and ambassadors of Boldr. This ‘give-first’ approach to doing business is what I love about the community.
2. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I was born in New York, but I lived in Orange County, California for most of my childhood. I was 22 when I joined a business venture and first moved here in the Philippines six years ago. What struck me the most during my first years here in the country is the apparent opportunity gap and how greatly it impacted people on both sides. That was the gut-punch that motivated me to start a purpose-driven company, and that’s how Boldr came to be. We exist not only because of my desire to use outsourcing as a vehicle to bridge that gap but also to help people grow and develop. I’m fortunate to have met equally passionate movers that worked with me to turn that vision into reality.
3. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always wanted to be in business. Growing up, I’d seek out odd jobs from neighbors and family members and then hire my friends to help me get the job done.
I really enjoyed having a disposable income. So at the age of 16 I started working as a busboy. After a few years of this I started to appreciate the benefits that a world class education would offer me. I learned how going to College would enable me to live abroad (always a life goal of mine) and increase the percent chance of me being successful.
I went to Junior College and transferred into the University of Southern California. At University, I studied Entrepreneurship and International Business and was able to attend the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a semester.
University was a difficult time for me, I was intimidated by my peers and didn’t know how to be myself. What added to the difficulty was that I knew I wanted to start a business but didn’t know what type of business I wanted to start. Seeing my peers start and run their own businesses created even more stress. Not figuring it out but needing to start paying off my student loans I took a job in an international logistics company.
This was the best decision I’ve ever made. It connected me to a global economy, and the best part is that some of the people I worked with are still in my life today: business partners, Clients, advisors, friends.
It was here I met my first business partner. Three years into the business unfortunately my business partner, best friend, and mentor suddenly passed away. After his passing, I learned a lot about why I wanted to start my own business and realized how important his vision truly was. I started Boldr based on Jeff’s belief of helping people grow and develop.
4. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give yourself when you first started your business?
Be confident in your decision to start a business. Consciously choose to devote yourself to this endeavor; it’s completely unrealistic to think that you can start a business without devoting yourself to it. Manage commitments but also seek balance.
5. Why did you decide to incorporate social impact into your business?
We have to. I compare our industry to that of the mining industry; essentially we’re extracting value from a developing country and taking that value and returning it to developed nations. This business model we have to do better. It’s our challenge to ourselves that we invest in the communities in which we operate in, from creating employee engagement activities within our community to financially supporting non profit organizations.
6. Why is important for you to get involved with DC Startup Week?
Asides from being apart of DCSW we’re incredibly excited to be sponsoring the social impact track because we want to let companies know that you can have an impact while running a profitable business.
7. How do you measure the success of your social impact model?
As a purpose-driven organization, we measure the success of our social impact initiatives based on how the lives of all the people we’ve helped have improved. First, we have several partnerships with NGOs like A Million Voices (AMV) and Elevate Lives, and just earlier this year, we also shared the good news of working with Streetlight Philippines. Our goal is to extend our support to the community through youth empowerment. Also, being in a highly competitive industry, especially with the rise of AI/ML, we invest heavily in creating a “future-ready” workforce. We prepare our team to ride and embrace this wave instead of fearing it and running away from it. For us, the bottom line is: a positive social impact has to have a positive outcome.
Thanks for your thoughtful answers, David! We can’t wait to see you at DC StartUp Week this year. We are looking forward to seeing what Boldr has in store for the future of social impact.