CoJMC alumnus began work as an entrepreneur in his dorm room

CoJMC alumnus began work as an entrepreneur in his dorm room

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 10:45am
CoJMC senior Paige Stanard smiles in front of the Opendorse logo on her first day as an intern at the office headquarters in Lincoln.
CoJMC senior Paige Stanard smiles in front of the Opendorse logo on her first day as an intern at the office headquarters in Lincoln.

by Elizabeth Gould, senior advertising and public relations major from Atlanta, Georgia

From day one of his freshman year, Adi Kunalic and his roommate established a unique friendship that would later result in a successful business partnership.

As a refugee from Bosnia who spent his childhood in Germany, Kunalic moved with his family to Texas where he spent his teenage years. He pursued an advertising and public relations major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while playing football for the Huskers. During his post -graduate years, he spent time as a kicker in the NFL and ultimately decided that he wanted to be an entrepreneur working with social media.

It was in Kunalic’s freshman dorm room where he and Blake Lawrence, his roommate and teammate, would constantly bounce ideas off of each other. During the summer going into their senior year, the two wrote a plan that resulted in their first business, Hurrdat. As a digital marketing agency, Hurrdat helps local businesses grow their social media presence.

B2 Interactive acquired Hurrdat in 2014. This allowed Kunalic to focus on his current role as CEO and president of Opendorse, an athlete-marketing platform dedicated to helping athletes share content on social media.

There are currently 29 employees on the team with headquarters located in Lincoln and brand new offices in New York and Chicago, both of which are major sports hubs. Over the years, Opendorse has executed 3,000 campaigns, connected with 4,500 athletes, and established partnerships with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), PGA Tour, NFL, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Kunalic is dedicated to building something great with people he cares about.

“The most rewarding part of my job,” Kunalic says, “is being able to lead this team knowing that each individual is going to do their best to help every athlete in some form or fashion.”

As a CoJMC student, Kunalic said he was fortunate to have a solid support group while balancing academics, athletics and his work as an entrepreneur during his senior year. Kunalic saw first hand some of the parallels between the material he was learning from professors and how social media was evolving in the real business world.

In fact, senior advertising and public relations major Paige Stanard is hoping to translate the information she learns in her classes to her internship at Opendorse. Stanard recently started as an intern, in which she assist account coordinators and managers to find the best-fit athletes for designated campaigns.

“Adi Kunalic genuinely has the best interest for me and the rest of the team, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about a career in social media.” Stanard said.

While Kunalic has primarily focused on expanding Opendorse and achieving internal goals for the company, he hopes to continue to speak to CoJMC students to tell his story. He has this advice for students pursuing a career in sports.

"Jump in and tackle things immediately," he said. "Even if it's not the right thing, you will learn and grow through the process."