From Harvard to the Grammy’s, Ryan Leslie Turns His Sights to Entrepreneurship


One of the most fulfilling things I get to do as a writer and co-founder of this very brand is meet and interview some extremely influencive people. People that to a lot of others out there are on a whole other level. 

I’ve started to learn something when it comes to people that have achieved very high heights of success and its that they all have a tremendous drive to achieve. They don’t let failure bring them down, and they see struggles as opportunities.

While in Austin, Texas at SXSW this past year I had the pleasure to sit down and connect with Ryan Leslie and listen to his story. Leslie is a mega-successful music producer that learned from none other than Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Leslie also happens to have graduated from Harvard and is now the Founder of SuperPhone, a revolutionary new app that allows anyone to stay more in touch with others through texting.

From the Grammy’s to SuperPhone

Think of Superphone as a CMS for texting. Leslie originally had the idea when he was trying to come up with a way to stay more in touch with his followers on social media, but took it a step further and raised some money from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists which included none other than Ben Horowitz.

If you aren’t familiar with who Horowitz is, he’s an influential figure in the tech and startup scene. He’s invested in companies like Foursquare and Medium at very early stages and sold a software company for over a billion dollars to HP before jumping into venture capital. He now co-manages the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm that has invested in our generation’s top companies.

The Early Days of Leslie

One of my favorite things I like to do when I connect with people like Leslie is really dive deep and find out what type of person people are when they are growing up. I like to get the full story of success and see the whole journey through versus just the good and fruitful times. This is something we strive for at Influencive, to share the real story and journey of an entrepreneur, influencer, or celebrity.

Something that stood out to me about Leslie and his early days was how he got accepted into 3 Ivy League schools and was someone who did whatever he had to. He had this tenacity at a young age to go after anything that he truly wanted. I could see this in him when I had the opportunity to sit down with him and learn his story.

It wasn’t all a cake walk by any means, and life didn’t always go as planned. Four years out of Harvard, Leslie actually found himself back living at home. Here’s an Ivy League graduate back living at home. Now that’s not something you hear of or expect very often, especially with credentials like that.

But as Leslie shared his story and didn’t hold anything back, he released a powerful statement that I couldn’t forget.

“Luck really is engineered by intent and conversations”


When you think about what this statement actually means, to me it screams that we all have the power to engineer luck in our life if we ask the right questions to the right people and show our willingness and intent to pursue success. This is such a great statement that I hope sticks with all of you reading this.

From the Music Industry to SuperPhone

Some of you reading this may be thinking why did someone who got a Harvard education that later learned directly from Sean “P. Diddy” Combs raise venture capital to start a company that basically connects people on a more personal level through text messaging? The answer I got from Leslie was pretty simple.

“Be as accessible as possible. Invest time in relationships”


This is something I can 100% relate to because I believe very strongly in relationship building and if you ever want to reap rewards in life you need to invest the time into them. Leslie had to work his way up when working under Combs. He didn’t just instantly have faith and trust in him; he had to put the time in and invest in the process.

Now, with SuperPhone, Leslie is hoping to make this easier and more accessible to everyday people by connecting us all through something we all use daily: our phones.

Like we have shared countless times on Influencive, success comes in many shapes and forms, and Leslie’s story is a very unique one. Remember, where you are today or tomorrow does not dictate the rest of your life. Look to attend events like SXSW, where the a-listers and business leaders attend every year, and who knows – maybe you’ll run into someone like Leslie.

This is a Contributor Post. Opinions expressed here are opinions of the Contributor. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and cannot investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the Contributor to disclose. Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles may be professional fee-based.

Tagged with: