Rick Marini '94 Wants You To Like His Company
Rick Marini ’94
He started his first Internet company, personality-testing giant Tickle.com, in graduate school after he got his BS at the Whittemore School. His next venture, Superfan.com, created social games for viewers of popular television programs such as CBS’ Survivor and MTV’s Jersey Shore. His latest foray is BranchOut, a career-networking service on Facebook. Serial entrepreneur and social media guru, Rick Marini ’94 has accomplished a lot since graduating magna cum laude from the Whittemore School. But, as UNH Today learned, he’s just getting started.
UNH Today: With LinkedIn touting 100 million users, why did you start BranchOut last year?
RM: Facebook has 750 million users. Why shouldn’t a social network of this size offer a professional network of corresponding power? BranchOut delivers millions of job postings, thousands of internships, and millions of prospective employees all in one place.
UNH Today: How many friends on Facebook do you have?
RM: About 1,600. I know that sounds like a lot, but, hey, it’s what I do. BranchOut is a Facebook app so I’m on Facebook about 10 hours a day. The other four hours I’m in meetings.
UNH Today: You’ve worked at large companies and start-ups. Which do you prefer?
RM: Both have something to offer. It depends on what you want. After graduating from UNH, I worked for Fisher Scientific for three years. Companies like Fisher offer well-defined training and job titles and greater resources. Start-ups offer none of that but let you wear many hats and learn as you go—albeit very quickly. At this point in my career, I love being an entrepreneur.
UNH Today: So, embrace the chaos?
RM: Absolutely. Personally, I love the chaos. I love rollercoaster rides, too. Being an entrepreneur can be tough at times but when it works, it feels incredibly rewarding.
UNH Today: What are you best at?
RM: Building great teams to create engaging consumer products. Tickle grew to 200 million users before Monster bought us for $100 million in 2004. In the last year, BranchOut raised $24 million in venture capital. The best advice I can offer, especially to students, is to work hard, be smart, and have a good attitude. If you do that, people will mentor you.
UNH Today: Speaking of mentoring, what stands out about your Whittemore School years?
RM: I took a capstone strategy class in my senior year that I really enjoyed. I was able to pull together three-and-half years of theory and apply economics, finance, operations, and marketing all together. That was very helpful to me when I went to Harvard, which is 100 percent case study. It showed me how much I had learned at UNH. Sometimes you don’t know how much you know until you’re in a position to access that knowledge. That was my “Aha!” moment.
UNH Today: Do you get back East often?
RM: Not as much as I would like. I still have many close friends and family in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I miss Red Sox games... my dog’s name is Fenway.
UNH Today: What is your personal philosophy?
RM: My mantra is to learn something new every single day until the day that I die.
For more stories about UNH alumni entrepreneurs, visit http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/f11/entrepreneurs.html.