University of Maryland alum Tyler Denk was fond of physics in high school and found it a “natural progression” to study mechanical engineering in college.

Years after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2016, he earned a spot in the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 media list for being the co-founder and CEO of a company that has a $20 million valuation.

Denk co-founded beehiiv in 2021, an all-in-one platform for creating newsletters. He’s served clients such as The Boston Globe, Overtime and Exec Sum.

“Business has always been super interesting to me, like problem solving, I’d say more than anything” Denk said.

The Dingman Center and the Hinman CEOs program are what he says fostered his entrepreneurial spirit.

VentureStorm was his first business which he started with two friends. They noticed a problem on campus: Students in the computer science and business schools weren’t collaborating to build companies.

As a result, they created a web app that connected entrepreneurs and startups to talented software developers.

“That was a huge entrepreneurial experience that we spent most of sophomore, junior and senior [year] working on,” Denk said.

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After college, Denk struggled to keep VentureStorm afloat while juggling student debt, so he decided to move on. A friend asked him to join his media company, Morning Brew, to work on a social sharing feature, which he readily accepted.

That summer, Denk lived out of his parents’ house working on tech solutions and features for the company. He never planned on sticking around at Morning Brew until an offer to work at its headquarters in New York City changed his mind. He saw the potential and helped the company grow from 100,000 subscribers to 3.5 million before he left.

During his time, he was able to study the inner workings of how to build a top newsletter and found there was a huge appetite for anyone who wanted to build one. Since starting his own company in college, Denk thought it was time to parlay the tools he’d learned to use at Morning Brew and start his own business.

“I love staying in [on] Friday nights and working till 2 a.m. because it’s my thing, and I would never feel the satisfaction of doing that at another company,” Denk said.

Denk said the constant stress, dependency, grind and competition of the CEO position is difficult, but he’s pleased with how far his company has gotten in the time since beehiiv launched 15 months ago.

Early on, Denk said getting the first handful of users was a tough stretch, but his college experiences helped him navigate.

Michael Pratt, a lecturer at this university’s engineering school, taught Denk and has been on the Hinman CEOs team for seven years. He’s helped guide students like Denk to build successful companies.

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“The entrepreneurial spirit was natural to him,” Pratt said. “I’m very proud.”

Now, beehiiv has 13 other employees including EJ White, who also joined the Hinman CEOs program and graduated from this university in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance.

White had worked in marketing and consulting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore before Denk asked him to join the team. Despite having no background in newsletters, White saw the potential in the industry.

“We’re building the best platform for building newsletters on the web today; there’s no better place to launch,” White said.

The company is entirely remote. White said their ability to recruit talent from around the world has contributed to their success.

Denk said he can’t imagine limiting their talent pool within a small proximity.

“There’s so much more to build and I want us to be the de facto top platform in this space,” Denk said.