Jarrett Shine ’96 raises capital for startup companies and founds own ventures
By Kate Helm
When he was a Lafayette student, Jarrett Shine ’96 may not have understood completely the lessons he was learning. But as an entrepreneur, he can see exactly how they are helping him achieve his goals.
“Lafayette really challenged me,” he says. “I wasn’t the best student, but there were concepts that I could grasp. My most successful class was business finance and that’s what I was most comfortable with. Lafayette taught me how to be organized, which probably didn’t hit me until after I graduated – sort of like when you see lightning in the distance and five seconds later you hear the thunder. There are people who get it right away, and there are late bloomers. I was a late bloomer.”.
Shine’s ultimate goal is to become a venture capitalist, helping startup and small-capital companies. He is consulting for two startup companies. He was instrumental in raising capital for Webbe.com, an online communications tool for instant communication and file sharing. He also raised initial capital for NanoStatics, a nanotechnology firm based in Circleville, Ohio, that manufactures nanofibers for the filtration, medical, and textile industries.
Shine served as director of sales and business development for NanoStatics before taking a job in logistics at Foot Locker’s corporate office. He recently signed a distribution deal with Nanostatics to start his own spinoff, IAQ Group Inc., which will sell energy-efficient air filters that Shine says removes more particles than any other product on the market.
He also is a founder of Shinewear, an athletic apparel company that inspires youth to achieve their dreams. As a teacher and football and baseball coach at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., Shine felt a connection with students who seemed to lack confidence. He conceived the idea on a road trip to North Carolina with best friend Rawle Howard ’96, an economics & business and government & law graduate.
“‘Hey, it’s your time to shine,’ I said. ‘Let’s make that the slogan,’” he recalls. “I want to change the way people think. Be positive and let their light shine while impacting others’ lives – having the Shinewear acronym set true to their hearts – Success, Heart, Inspiration, Never give up, Excellence, Winning attitude, Ever-determined, Able to Rise.”
His goal is to grow IAQ Group to a level enabling him to fund Shinewear to match his dreams for it, he adds.
It was at Lafayette that Shine realized his true passion is business, having changed majors from civil engineering to mathematics-economics. He also formed strong friendships that have helped support him through the ups and downs of his career.
“Lafayette has a lot of great professors, so I tried my best to take bits and pieces from each of them,” he says. “Changing majors helped me to realize what I could be most successful doing and enjoying. Because I changed my major, I had a chance to discover my real interest is business.
“Aside from my academic experience, I have lifelong friends from Lafayette, and the ones I keep in touch with sometimes have been my biggest cheerleaders. Lafayette is what you make of it. It can be anything you need it to be; it is just up to the individual to take advantage of it.”
Shine took away valuable lessons from his years on the football team. A captain in his senior year, he played various positions throughout his collegiate career, including running back, receiver, kickoff coverage specialist, and return specialist.
“Football was my passion,” he says. “I ‘shined’ on the field, but never really at one position. When it was time for me to stand out in the spotlight, I faced a major setback – getting injured and missing most of my senior season. Disappointing, yes; the end of the world, no. I was knocked down many times, and I had no choice but to pick myself up time and time again. That’s what football taught me to do.”
Once someone “extremely scared of what the future held,” Shine is excited by what it may bring because he knows how to adapt and learn from each experience.
“I am a true believer that destiny is a form of your dreams never changing regardless of the obstacles and setbacks you face,” he says. “Ever since I was very young, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have experienced failures, setbacks, and major obstacles, and I continue to do so, but it is only making me stronger. Although it has been an emotional rollercoaster for me, I have learned a little about a lot and being a part of various ventures has allowed me to understand business and how all the pieces fit into the puzzle – seeing the big picture. I have learned by trial and error, teaching myself each business, and I can truly say that the learning never stops. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I believe it can only get better from here.”