Student’s Business Named a ‘Coolest College Startup’

Published: Mar 25, 2014
Beatmerch, a company created by Duncan Abdelnour ’14, was named one of the Coolest College Startups for 2014.
Beatmerch, a company created by Duncan Abdelnour ’14, was named one of the Coolest College Startups for 2014.
Every year since 2008, Inc. Magazine scours through a list of nearly 100 college startups and chooses 16 as the best of the best. UT students have been named to this list twice — once in 2012 and again this year.

Beatmerch, a company created by Duncan Abdelnour ’14, was named one of the Coolest College Startups for 2014.

BetterBoo, launched by former UT Student Government President Nick Chmura ’12, received the honor in 2012.

“I was excited to hear the announcement,” said Abdelnour, of Somers, NY. “My whole family was excited for me.”

Abdelnour, a marketing and entrepreneurship major, and a business administration minor, created Beatmerch with partners Kevin O’Connel ’12, Aaron Musicaro and Alexa Blackburn ’13. Beatmerch is an interactive and full-service merchandising company that focuses on the biggest names in electronic dance music. It provides on-tour merchandise services, online ecommerce platforms and the ability to put together creative licensing agreements for artists and brands. Inc. Magazine states that Beatmerch is “one of the largest merchandising companies in the electronic music space.”

Abdelnour started Beatmerch just months ago in October 2013, but his connections go back further. He was a DJ in high school, started a promotions company in Tampa his sophomore year at UT and then got into brokering tour buses for a friend.

While brokering buses in December 2012, he met artist Fedde Le Grand and began serving as his tour manager for North America. While touring, Abdelnour started to discover a niche for a new business — merchandising for electronic dance music artists. He met his first client, Nicky Romero, during a show in Mexico.

“I’ve been able to transition past ventures in the entertainment business into what is Beatmerch,” said Abdelnour. “I’m a fan of all music, but electronic music is seeing a huge growth trend as an emerging market. There are really only two or three competitors for this genre.”

Abdelnour, who has racked up frequent flyer miles traversing the nation and world while growing his business, currently counts as clients three record labels, two Miami-based nightclubs and six artists. He said the flexibility of the professors in the Sykes College of Business has been invaluable.

“The last two months alone have nearly doubled my business,” he said.

The combination of exhilaration with a high level of stress fuels Abdelnour, who is excited to make Beatmerch his full focus after graduation. He plans to move to Los Angeles in May, where he wants to expand the business.

Inc. Magazine is hosting an online poll to chose the top college startup among the 16 listed. To vote, check out the March Madness-themed tournament, the winner of which will be announced April 8.

Read the Inc. article.