Shrimp Cocktail

A young Miami entrepreneur provides a support system for startup founders.

Growing up in a Chicago suburb, Chris Daniels was always entrepreneurial. At 16, he acquired a hand-me-down truck and started Mulch Maniacs, employing his football-player friends. By the time he graduated high school, he had sold that business to another Chicago area landscaping company, using the proceeds to help pay for college.

At the University of Miami, where he majored in accounting and finance, Daniels “went down the tech rabbit hole,” even working as a venture consultant at the campus entrepreneurship hub called the Launch Pad, helping students, faculty, and alumni work through their business concepts.

As he finished his studies in 2017, Daniels and a college friend launched a robo-
adviser for crypto. They were trying to network with so-called “whales” (large investors) but “felt like we were shrimp in every room we went into. We were inexperienced, we had no network, no connections, no money,” says Daniels.

In early 2021, Daniels decided to create the kind of environment that he was missing. He founded the Shrimp Society, aiming to bring together 20-something early-stage startup founders with meet-ups, workshops, peer mentoring, and media offerings. “When you are in a room with people on the same level as you, it’s much more collaborative: the feedback, the creativity, the insights.”

Daniels initially reached out to a few founders on LinkedIn and assembled a group of about 10. Within a year, the Shrimp Society was supporting 100 early-stage founders. In November, the Shrimp Society launched a non-fungible token (NFT) project to evolve the community into a “society.” About 1,700 people joined; purchasing an NFT was their membership.

“Now anyone can plug in, whether you’re a developer, an investor, a marketer or whatever, and then our job is to route you to wherever you want to go based on what you’re looking for,” says Daniels. Among those 1,700 members are artists, athletes, and a few “big tunas” — ecosystem leaders and serial entrepreneurs.

“You have an idea, you join the Shrimp Society, and we help you grow that to an MVP in the Shrimp Lab, and then you can go through our fellowship, and we help you get funded,” he says. “We help you find your team from the Shrimp Talent Network. You go on to have major success, and then you come back and invest in Shrimp companies and mentor the up-and-coming generation.”

“No one has an ego,” says Daniels. “Everyone is here to collaborate, share, and learn.”

I’m passionate about saving the Earth and plan
to major in agricultural engineering at University of Florida to help solve environmental issues through applying creative agricultural solutions.

Andrew Diaz Fall 2023 • Senior
Samuel W. Wolfson High School • Jacksonville

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