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David Vanderveen

Founder of XS Energy

Click here to go to David's interview >

Growing up in West Michigan, David Vanderveen and his older brother learned how to surf among the sometimes ferocious fresh-water waves created during storms on Lake Michigan. He was arrested for skateboarding in empty city pools and was kicked out of school three times—twice for his poetry (once in 7th grade and again during his junior year at Wheaton College) and once for his exceptional cocktail mixology skills (also in 7th grade, but not at Wheaton). After some negotiations and promises to stop with the poetry, David matriculated to and graduated from Calvin College, Wheaton’s sister school, with degrees in philosophy and political science. 

Due to a market shortage of philosophy career positions, he worked as a daily news editor and hand model in Japan, a director of public affairs in Michigan, co-founder of a bespoke crystal-powered chakra aligning jewelry company in the Midwest, a marketing director in the Napa Valley, the co-founder of a chaotic Venezuelan biotech and pharmaceutical company, a grassroots political organizer, an exporter of artificial heart valves to Pakistan, a technology sales and marketing executive, and chief technology officer at a series of small and large tech companies. David participated in the Dot-Com revolution (neither proletariat nor bourgeoisie) and briefly owned a small Red Bull distributorship as part of said revolution. Never one to quit, he failed to get off the Dot-Com merry-go-round before the music ran out. He left tech when the founder of Znetix, where David was the CTO, was arrested for the largest case of investor fraud in Washington State’s history. Oh, and David also co-founded XS, a global energy drink brand that has generated over US $2 billion in revenue, sold more than one billion cans, and shared over US$500 million in profits with an army of independent business owners around the world.

David has leapt from the frying pan into the fire multiple times and lived to tell about it. He doesn’t recommend it. That said, if you’re interested in a career-as-roller-coaster-ride and life as an adventure, David has a lot to offer.

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