Finance Alum Ventures Off the Beaten Path to Entrepreneurship

Photo of Mike Gelber

Mike Gelber ’17

When Mike Gelber ’17 graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in finance, he was ready to make his mark in the world by working for one of the nation’s largest banking institutions. But, once he decided to trade in investments and financial markets for code, he struck gold.

Six months after working in the finance industry, Gelber left to pursue a career in technology ­— a tough feat considering he did not possess the background. Despite that, he landed a job at the internet advertising exchange company AppNexus in New York. While working there, he began to teach himself how to code and eventually enrolled in a coding boot camp at Columbia University. With two years at AppNexus, four months of boot camp and a new wealth of knowledge under his belt, Gelber left AppNexus to start his own company with his co-founder, Paul Ballas.

The company was built from the ground up thanks to endless hours spent coding — 14-hour days, seven days a week, for over a month, to be exact.

“In the end, we built a deeply powerful, but stunningly simple product,” says Gelber. Enter AdHouse.

AdHouse is a revolutionary online advertising product for health care providers such as doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists and nutritionists. It gives health care providers autonomy while providing them more bang for their buck.

“Many healthcare providers are tasked not only with providing a service, but also owning a business and building a brand to get patients in the door,” explains Gelber. “Not only is that an incredibly difficult thing to do, but they are up against huge management companies that are paying agencies millions of dollars and can’t compete.”

Gelber says that AdHouse fills an important gap by giving small businesses access to a tool that large ad agencies use, but stripping it down enough to make it easy to use and inexpensive.

“Our service is so easy to use that a health care provider with no advertising experience can buy ads in less than 60 seconds,” he shares.

Healthcare practitioners can use granular targeting to display ads across the internet according to specific zip codes and those who have specific insurance providers. Their ads will appear in places like the New York Times, WebMD, USA Today, Men’s Health and more.

Although his current career may not directly align with his degree to the naked eye, even as a numbers-focused finance major, Gelber’s time at the School of Business gave him a glimpse of entrepreneur life. He credits his involvement in entrepreneurship classes offered by the School and the School of Business Investment Program led by Mark Pyles, Ph.D. as great trial runs for the duties he now performs as a co-founder.

“Constantly presenting in front of people and front loading that nervousness as a student helps so that later in life, you’re more comfortable talking to a room of people.”

According to Gelber, people made the transition from finance to owning a tech business easier.

“It really comes down to who is willing to talk to you and who is willing to teach you,” he says.

AdHouse officially launched last month to help health practitioners brand their practice at the lowest cost, with no prior knowledge and little time commitment. For more information, visit the website.

Skip to toolbar