Disruptor 50 Roadshow takes Philly: transforming the economy and changing industries


The Disruptor 50 Roadshow brings together executives from CNBC Disruptor 50 companies, along with leading voices in business, to deliver engaging discussions on a range of issues that are top of mind for entrepreneurs and small business owners who are trying to grow their businesses, find investors, and attract and retain top talent.

The second event in the Roadshow series, presented by CNBC on October 24 in Philadelphia, included Kevin O’Leary, Chairman, O’Shares Investments; Michael Rubin, Founder and Executive Chairman, Fanatics; Co-Owner, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils; and Maureen Sullivan, COO, Rent the Runway.

Watch the video highlights to discover how companies and leaders are transforming the economy and changing industries.

Philly Fanatics: Changing the Fan Apparel Game and Rebuilding the 76ers

Philadelphia native Michael Rubin disrupted the market for official sports team apparel. Fanatics, the company he created just 7 years ago, pulls in more than $2 billion in annual sales, turning celebratory sports moments into real-time global merchandising opportunities. Rubin is also one of the front-office leaders responsible for the resurgence of the Philadelphia 76ers – an inspiring sports business turnaround story.

Renting and Revving: Ecommerce in the Age of Amazon

The e-commerce free market is alive and well. Retail startups continue to disrupt the old guard. Some go narrow and deep, building passionate digital communities where commerce thrives. Others find pricing inefficiencies in a market,exploit them on behalf of consumers and pass along the savings at scale. Whatever the model: the more successful the firm; the faster the growth; the more likely the team will find itself – at some point – looking in the rear-view mirror for a guy in Seattle named Jeff Bezos. CNBC Disruptor 50 company Rent the Runway and Philadelphia-born RevZilla have each uniquely found a place in the hearts of a healthy following of customers who’ve remained loyal as they’ve built formidable brands.

Disrupting Dinner: Food innovation from seed to table

Is your cheesesteak getting cheaper? If not, you may want to ask “why not?” Sales of wholesale processed cheese are set to decline for the fourth straight year in 2018, and prices are falling with the drop in demand. It’s another slice of evidence that consumers continue to raise the bar for manufacturers when it comes to what’s in their food and where it comes from. In particular, people (and not just millennials) are demanding local, organic, and sustainable food, and many are willing to pay more to get it. All of this makes for a hearty opportunity for venture capitalists and big food companies investing in startups that make food grow easier, last longer, and taste better.

Philly’s Got Talent: Competing with Silicon Valley

Earlier this year, Duolingo put up a simple billboard along Highway 101 in San Francisco. “Own a home. Work in tech,” it said, and then “Move to Pittsburgh.” The appeal seems to have worked, and about 85% of Duolingo’s workforce moved to Pittsburgh from somewhere else, many from Silicon Valley. So, what can Philadelphia startups do to make similar appeals for high-quality employees? What about keeping some of the half-million talented local undergrads from heading west after graduation?

The Big Deal: A conversation with Kevin O’Leary

Entrepreneurship is not about the pursuit of wealth or money. It’s the pursuit of personal freedom,” says Kevin O’Leary, the prototypical entrepreneur who, from the middle seat on “Shark Tank,” has helped dozens of startups in their pursuit of their own personal freedom. He also relishes the opportunity to share his wisdom with his fellow entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to maximize their time and effort.

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