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Detroit As a Startup City: Josh Luber and Dennis W. Archer Jr.

“StockX is not about thousand-dollar sneakers,” said Josh Luber, CEO and co-founder of StockX. “The future of StockX is for everyone. StockX is really about access.”

On the Sound Board at the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, the IBM consultant turned tech entrepreneur joined Conference Chair Dennis W. Archer Jr. for a conversation of what’s driving Detroit’s startup culture.

With high-profile attention from figures such as 50 Cent, LeBron James, Mark Wahlberg, Detroit’s own Eminem and an investment from Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert, StockX is the world’s first online “stock market of things” for high-demand consumer products, including sneakers, handbags, and watches.

“StockX is Econ 101,” Luber said. It’s based on supply and demand—buyers place bids, sellers place asks and when a bid and ask meet, the transaction occurs automatically. The marketplace, modeled after the stock market, is within the robust business of sneakers, and houses authentic Retro Jordans, Nikes, Yeezys, and more.

“We’re the largest marketplace for sneakers, but we get to work with brands. We can become an alternate retailer,” Luber said.

Headquartered in Detroit, with authentication facilities in Arizona, Corktown, London, and New York City and prospective locations in Tokyo and Amsterdam, StockX has a global reach. StockX currently has 650 employees and hired 500 people last year alone. The rapidly growing company is seeking top-level executives.

When asked about the future of Detroit, Luber said it was humbling to be a part of the conversation. The headquarters will remain in Detroit and they will hire from within the city along with outside talent. When prospective hires or visitors come to StockX, Luber makes sure to give them a tour of the city, regardless of who they are. It’s led to them coming back.

“We bring them to Detroit, give them the tour of the city and a tour of StockX, and that breaks down all of the barriers,” Luber said.

Archer noted that when people come to Detroit, their mindset changes—they become evangelists for the city.

“They leave saying, Detroit is dope,” he said.

While StockX does not currently work on Detroit projects specifically, Luber said he speaks to students, from middle schoolers to graduate students. Often, he learns that educators use StockX to teach their class about supply and demand. He’s looking to delve into the education front with StockX in the future.

“Detroit is a startup city,” Luber said.