Nicole Shariat Farb’s path from English teacher to entrepreneur may seem unusual, but there’s a common thread connecting all stages of her burgeoning career. “I’m always searching for impact,” Nicole says. “Where can I go and make a difference? It’s the reason I became a teacher, the reason I moved to a career on Wall Street, and ultimately the reason why I started Darby Smart.”
Nicole is the cofounder and CEO of Darby Smart, a fast growing video platform that lets you share, watch, and shop videos. She started her career teaching high-school English, but changed gears after earning her MBA. While attending the Full-Time Program at Booth, she participated on the teams for not one but two startups that won the school’s Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge. After graduation, Nicole worked at Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division before finally pursuing her entrepreneurial vision. An avid DIY-er, she started dreaming up ways to help creatives turn their hobbies into side hustles.
With that, Darby Smart was born. Launching in 2013, Farb's venture raised $1 million in seed money from angel investors and advisors, including Warby Parker cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa, Twitter COO Anthony Noto, and Kirsten Greene of Forerunner Ventures. Darby Smart has since grown into a 6,300-square-foot office in San Francisco, and now has 8,000 video creators making videos that reach roughly 60 million views monthly. In August 2015, the company announced a strategic partnership with retail craft giant Michaels Stores, Inc., and they have developed video engagement campaigns for such brands as Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and Smirnoff.
The Booth community continues to be an important source of inspiration and support. “My Booth network has always helped me navigate my professional and personal evolution,” says Nicole, who lives with her husband Michael—a fellow Booth graduate—and their twin sons in San Francisco. “We make each other rise and challenge each other.”