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CHICAGO ( MainStreet) -- Getting access to a luxury suite at a sports event such as the Super Bowl usually means signing a multiyear lease, often tying up millions of dollars of capital. But just as NetJets has done with private jets and HomeAway(AWAY) has done with vacation rentals, Suite Experience Group is matching unused skyboxes with renters, lowering barriers to suite access and opening the door for well-heeled executives and individuals to entertain in style without long-term commitments.
The man behind the business is Scott Spencer, whose path to luxury entrepreneurship was literally circuitous: after graduating from Cornell University, Spencer deferred a job at a prestigious consulting firm to follow his dream on the professional tennis circuit.
Scott Spencer is the entrepreneur behind the Suite Experience Group.
"It was really humbling to fly halfway around the world to places like India, China and Venezuela to play in tournaments and more often than not end up getting my butt kicked by someone I'd never heard of before," Spencer says.
Topping out with a world doubles ranking of 1,688, Spencer said the experience only made him more hungry to do great things in other facets of life, particularly in business. Having since worked in strategy consulting at
Deloitte and private equity at
The Lessing Companies, Spencer started an indoor advertising company, got an MBA from Harvard Business School and found himself ultimately thinking outside the box about being inside the skybox.
What motivates you?Spencer: From a professional perspective, the opportunity to help people create a really great, maybe even a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We're uniquely positioned to do that at Suite Experience Group, and it's something we don't take lightly. From a personal perspective, I'm inspired by people who work really hard to overcome meaningful obstacles and achieve great things, people like [father and son athletes] Dick and Rick Hoyt.
How did you come to start Suite Experience Group?Spencer: When I was in my second year at HBS, I was considering launching a search fund. In the process of networking with prospective investors, I ended up crossing paths with the leadership team at
Kleiner Perkins-backed ticketing company. They pitched me on launching a first-of-its-kind ticketing venture focused entirely on providing access to luxury suites on a game-by-game basis, as opposed to signing multiyear leases with venues. We made really great progress with the business, but the parent company soon found itself in trouble, and building a suite business was all of a sudden pretty far down their priority list. So I ventured out on my own and launched Suite Experience Group.