Andrew Fox is the cofounder and chairman of ClubPlanet and the CEO of Track Entertainment. He has spent the past six years running entertainment and service companies. ClubPlanet is the largest and most comprehensive nightlife destination on the Internet and provides content, listings, tickets, and many other features for nightlife events in over 35 cities around the world. Fox is also the founder of 3-G Communications, which finances and leases cellular towers in North America. He is a member of the executive committee of the Ad Club of New York and director of the New York City chapter of ChairScholars Foundation, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to children and adolescents with disabilities.
SM: To start, tell me about yourself. Where do you come from? What is your background?
AF: I am from New York City. I was born here, but I moved to Florida when I was five. My mom has very bad allergies and needed to move there. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, which was a great place to grow up, but I always knew that I wanted to move back to New York. When it came time to go to college I went back to New York and attended Adelphi. I majored in accounting.
I had a very typical life. I always did entrepreneurial things in the summertime. I never had a nine-to-five job. I always tried to find ways to utilize my skills to make more than the minimum wage. I had all sorts of interesting jobs that prepared me for when I graduated from college. Although I went to work in a white-shoe job at AllianceBernstein, I also started a business called ClubNYC in October 1997. It was the precursor to ClubPlanet, but at the time it was the way for me to get into nightclubs and meet girls for free. That is all it was in the beginning.
SM: What did ClubNYC do in 1997?
AF: Essentially, it was the original bulletin board. It gave listings of where to go, how to get in, and what to wear. We let people use a guest list feature where they could sign up and get guaranteed admittance into the club. Along the way, more and more people started using it. I was still working full time at my regular job, which I later quit because the Internet business was taking off.
SM: What was your real job?
AF: I was a financial analyst, but that was not my personality. I wanted to be an institutional sales person, but the only job I could get with them was in their financial analyst program. It seemed like a great opportunity, but I was not cut out for it. I was cut out for sales and something more entrepreneurial.
SM: How exactly was ClubNYC taking off in such a way that you were able to quit your real job?
AF: We were getting paid a commission for every consumer we were driving to a club. I was making substantially more on my side job than I was at my regular job. At lunchtime I would run out and do a meeting. At my day job I wanted to be the first one in and the last one out, so I did not see much daylight. The Internet business was adding more dollars than my regular job, so I had a long talk with my mom. I told her I would rather have a long career in finance, but I felt I had a great opportunity. I had no kids, no mortgage, and no financial debts. She told me I would always do better working for myself than working for someone else. I gave it a shot, and it really started working. It worked to the point that I now have the most unbelievable lifestyle. I go out and meet people and make a good living at it.