BIO Mason Kemp has been an entrepreneur his entire adult life. After graduating from the entrepreneurial program at UW-Eau Claire, he sold the business he had started senior year and moved back to Madison, where he took a job in banking to better understand the inner workings of a large corporation. From there, he accepted a position in executive recruiting and quickly identified an opportunity in the market for an organization that matched employers with potential hires. His entrepreneurial spirit took the reins and he went on to co-found First Gig, a SaaS startup connecting students with small to midsize employers. After growing the company for four years, Mason left to pursue a partner position at an executive search firm that recruited for software sales companies. He was, again, finding himself at the intersection of business and technology, which is exactly where he wanted to be. Mason drew on his extensive experience to help co-found The Digital Ring with his brother, Matt, and his friend, Nick. Mason’s passion for technology and business continues to drive him. Technology is the future and he’s honored to be part of a team leading the charge and taking the marketing industry by storm. Outside of work, Mason loves to spend time with his family: his wife, three daughters, and German Shepherd, Zara. He serves on the Emerging Leadership Board for the UW Carbone Cancer Center and rarely misses a Badger sporting event.
How long have you been in the game?
Entrepreneurial game? My whole life. From software companies and recruiting, now to marketing...I’ve always had a passion for technology and business and I’ve always been inquisitive about how businesses operate, make money, etc. The Digital Ring provides me the opportunity to explore all types of businesses through our clients and it’s what drives me. Marketing is just one of the engines used to fulfill business needs.
When did you first find your entrepreneurial spirit?
The day I started talking. Even before that, I’m sure I was negotiating with my parents. Ever since I was a kid I was finding ways to make money. I was the one combining different lemonade flavors and repackaging it. I would sell it to the other kids that would sit around and wait for the cars to drive by.
What's the most difficult part of running your own company?
Finding balance. Something I still struggle with. Most of the entrepreneurs I know are highly competitive. What I’ve learned is that there is always someone smarter than you so for me it comes down to outworking the competition. With that, you sometimes sacrifice time with your family that you can’t get back. So, every hour must count. On top of that, you have your work family that you don’t want to let down and the pressure of making payroll, giving advancement opportunities, and overall creating a good environment for them. This constant juggle is a grind but I don’t see myself doing it any other way.
What’s something no one really knows about you?
I was a mistake! No, really! Let’s just say my Dad had already taken the necessary action to stop baby making, yet my Mom surprised him a couple months down the road. Phew...that was a close call.
The Digital Ring just transformed into a food of your choosing, what would it be and why?
Stir Fry. Combination of many food groups and flavors. Just like no day is the same at TDR, either is making stir fry when making it the second or third time.
What’s your personal motto?
Get shit done.
What do you love most about The Digital Ring?
#1. Spending my days with my brother. #2. Building relationships with the crew and watching everyone evolve skills to benefit our clients
What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back to the beginning of your journey?
Hire smart people. You can’t do it all.