Starting a business is never an easy task. Some would even say it’s even harder to start a business with the people you know. Tradeblock co-founders Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, Darren Smith and Tony Malveaux have been fascinated with consumer technology since they were kids. A combination of playing NBA 2K22 or organizing their “top 8” friends on Myspace always kept them in sync with technology growing up. Ironically, “the concept around creating Tradeblock was never to get into the tech industry, but more so a chance to create a unique community that we loved known as sneakerheads,” according to Ghogomu.
Co-founder Tony Malveaux, also known as the biggest sneakerhead of the group, came up with the idea to create a system where people could trade sneakers online, similar to the way ESPN’s Trade Machine (a mock player trade system) would let you simulate different sports trades as if you were the GM of a team. “One day he decided to combine his passion for sneakers and technology and here we are today,” according to Ghogomu. They simply saw an unmet need for a platform that would allow people to facilitate securing sneaker trades and the rest is history.
There has never been an app that could give you the best of both worlds. The trio of entrepreneurs wanted to fill a gap that they felt was surrounding the trading market. Every move that they’ve made has been strategic in a way to better serve sneaker collectors on a broader scale. “The best part about going into business with your friends is knowing that you can trust them,” Ghogomu shares. As the friends/entrepreneurs have continued on their journey to create a more diverse app for sneakerheads across the world, they know that finding balance is key even when it can seem challenging. “When you own your company there is no such thing as being done.” There are always going to be opportunities to improve that business. “In most Black households, you are taught that to be successful you have to work twice as hard as your counterparts.” While that may be true, it’s important to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out and the co-founders make sure they make time for family, friends and exercise among other things. “To be effective entrepreneurs, everyone’s non-work-life must be in a great place also,” Ghogomu.