Jordan Calderon, founder of StratDev Digital Marketing and 2021 University of California, Santa Barbara, graduate, started his first company in high school as more of a passion project, creating a platform where you could buy and sell digital currencies online.
Until he got a cease-and-desist letter.
The Stevenson Ranch resident has always been the entrepreneurial go-getter and high-risk taker.
Within a couple of months of starting college, Calderon had begun an e-commerce company that sold men’s accessories.
“I had no idea what I was really doing. That was my first time building out like an e-commerce store,” he said. “That one went down in burning flames, but I learned a lot of lessons along the way.”
Days later, Calderon again tried his luck, creating another e-commerce company that sold wholesale-designed shirts.
Calderon found a similar company at a school in the Midwest and reached out, and though he had never met the three college-aged kids running that company in person, they decided to merge companies under Calderon’s — a business move that ultimately allowed the company to scale up quickly, as they built a strong customer base in the Midwest.
“I started out with like 500 bucks in the bank and turned that into a national company,” Calderon said, adding that at the height, there were more than 50 schools and 300 ambassadors involved.
At the end of 2019, Calderon decided to create StratDev, wanting to emulate what he’d done for his own company for others, adding, “I realized that I had this glorified case study of my own company in my hands.”
Calderon began to grow StratDev quickly — until the pandemic hit and most of his clients took a step back.
But as soon as companies began to realize the value of digital marketing in the midst of the pandemic, Calderon was again able to prosper, scaling the company tenfold from March 2020 to present day, and has since built a team of eight others.
Now just 22 years old, Calderon has spoken at TedX conferences, won marketing awards, such as the MARsum Top 100 marketers award in Las Vegas in June, all while just graduating from UCSB.
Calderon has also learned how to use his age to his benefit — though not a true millennial, he branded himself as the millennial marketer, who could bring in a fresh approach.
Whether working with a larger company or a smaller startup that’s working to scale up, Calderon has been able to provide specialized marketing tactics.
Calderon also brought on his friend, 20-year-old Matt Scarpa, as project manager, who, much like Calderon, has had a fast track through his early years, graduating high school at 15, then college at 19.
“He’s always been somebody that I looked up to in a lot of ways, particularly his entrepreneurial spirit,” Scarpa said of Calderon, adding that getting the call to come on board StratDev was a game-changer for him.
“Marketing, especially as an agency, you get to touch all different types of businesses,” Scarpa added. “You get to help all different types of businesses grow, and you get to learn a little bit about everything, dip your toes in everything, and I like that. … (And) it’s very rewarding to see people actually succeed as a direct result of the work that we do.”
Calderon believes young, driven individuals shouldn’t limit themselves to the entry-level jobs available at any given time, as they can also take a stab at building their own company, using digital mediums as a driving force.
For more information, visit stratdevdigitalmarketing.com.