Most AEPi Brothers know all too well that planning an event is no easy task. But, sometimes all of that work planning events for AEPi can lead to something greater! Brother Adam Richman (Arizona, 2012) is the co-founder of Medium Rare Entertainment, planning events and festivals at the highest level for the biggest names, ranging from Shaquille O’Neal to Guy Fieri.
Growing up in Boca Raton Florida, Brother Richman went to a private Jewish Day School and a Jewish sleepaway camp. “My Jewish upbringing really helped plant the seeds of who I am today. Not only from a personal perspective but also from a business perspective.”
Brother Richman joined AEPi in 2008. “I was considering other fraternities but the Jewish community at AEPi felt like a no-brainer. I went from Florida to Arizona which was quite the big journey and AEPi felt like home.” He created some lifelong friends and memories.
Brother Richman has always been entrepreneurial and college was no different. “I started a company called Zonabox at the end of my freshman year, which was an off-campus meal plan.” Unfortunately, just before his sophomore year he received a cease and desist notice from the University saying that the word “Zona” was trademarked by the University and that they had to rename the company. “It was pretty demoralizing and scary to get a notice that you were being sued by your own school. It was so upsetting that the school would come after one of their own student entrepreneurs.” That didn’t stop him, though.
Brother Richman then had an idea of producing a concert at AEPi. “I had the idea that I would book Mike Posner, who was really hot and upcoming at the time, at the AEPi house.” He quickly learned what an interesting business model that was. He would pay Posner a certain amount and spend money on sound, lights, the stage, marketing and, hopefully, at the end, make a profit. “It’s really cool how it all stemmed from a concert at AEPi. I realized from that day forward that I enjoyed that type of business as an entrepreneur. I tried a lot of different things up until that point and for some reason producing that event really stuck with me. I wanted to go all in on this and start producing more events.” He went on to rent a minor league baseball stadium near campus and produce a festival. For him, that was the point of no looking back.
After graduating, Brother Richman had to figure out the next steps to follow his passion. The owner of SFX Entertainment was putting together a billion dollar fund to merge several festivals and events together. Seeing this, Brother Richman asked for a job and was hired as the company was forming. The company bought some of the biggest festivals in the world like Tomorrowland, Electric Zoo, Mysteryland and more. “That experience was really insane, just learning it all from another perspective and still running my concerts and festivals at the University of Arizona. My events in Tucson were like a hundred thousand dollars and now I was working on events that were 20 to 30 million dollars.”
Brother Richman met his business partner, Joe Silberzweig, at SFX. In 2018 they started working together on some side projects one of which featured basketball star, Shaquille O’Neal. “We actually met Shaq at Tomorrowland, which we were producing in Atlanta. Shaq came as a guest and Joe formed a relationship with him and Shaq asked him to DJ at the next Festival. I came up with this crazy idea to create an event around Shaq called Shaq’s Fun House.” In March of 2018, at the Ultra Music Festival for Miami Music Week, it became a reality.
Working with Shaq was on a different level than anything Brother Richman had ever done. Fortune 500 brand sponsors that weren’t responding to SFX, started to reach out when they learned that Shaq was in the equation. “Just by working with someone like Shaq, was an overwhelming success and it went really viral.” At one of Shaq’s Fun House events another future client, Rob Gronkowski, showed up and had a dance battle with Shaq. The next day it was on Good Morning America and ESPN. “Seeing this, Joe and I were looking at each other like holy crap what did we just start. We knew we were on to something pretty amazing here and that was really the start of Medium Rare.” The first event they did officially for Medium Rare was Shaq’s Fun House at the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta. “We chose the Super Bowl because we knew it was the biggest sports entertainment weekend. Every brand is looking to activate around Super Bowl weekend.” They ended up doing four pop up events during that week including Guy Fieri’s FlavorTown tailgate, Gronks Beach, and a Sports Illustrated party.
Brands can hire Medium Rare to produce events, sponsorship activations, and one-off events. For example, they partnered with Virgin Voyages new cruise line and produce a festival in the Bahamas when the ship docks. “We’re really lucky that our business model doesn’t pay them with an appearance fee which is what they’re used to. They’re actually taking a gamble by saying I’m going to do this amount of work and I own 50% of it.”
Medium Rare doesn’t just do parties and festivals they also do other events year round. They helped start Black Entrepreneurs Day with Daymond John from Shark Tank after the summer of 2020. They did an event at the Apollo Theater in New York and livestreamed it to five million people. The event featured black entrepreneurs, including Kevin Hart, Shaq, Michael Strahan, Tyra Banks, and Spike Lee. “The entrepreneurs shared insights and inspiration with the audience of how they as a black entrepreneur can succeed. We’re really passionate about creating these unique events for our partners.”
The number one goal of Medium Rare is to deliver on what they promise. “If something goes wrong at Gronk’s Beach, no one is going to blame Medium Rare, they’re going to blame Gronk. It’s his name. That’s a lot of responsibility, these guys are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in some cases billions. They have built an incredible brand and goodwill around their name. They’re trusting us with their name to make sure we produce something that’s going to live up to their reputation.” If Medium Rare doesn’t come through with a good amount of revenue their clients might not be so interested in doing business moving forward. Luckily they have delivered every time with incredible events.
“It starts with sitting down with our partner and dreaming up what’s going to be reflective of them, that’s the most fun part. From there, it’s months and months of planning. I think people have this misconception that planning these events is fun. It’s the furthest thing from that. It’s a very stressful job, making sure we always have the best professional team. The biggest thing is don’t take any shortcuts to success. You really have to work hard because there is way too much on the line. There isn’t a cheat sheet or a secret formula. You may have a great idea but you really need to work for it.”