This is a column written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
It’s hard enough to be an entrepreneur, starting your own business. It’s even harder when you come from a family of entrepreneurs who ran many businesses and have lots of advice on what to do and not do. When a father tells his son not to be an entrepreneur, get a steady job with reliable income, it’s easy to let family ties replace passion. For a while.
Meet Stas Casa. He is a Moldovan-born entrepreneur and founder of Can You Solve Me, LLC, a puzzle company with a new twist on a classic idea. His passion for puzzles and brainteasers started when he first attempted to solve the Rubik’s Cube in the middle of dinner. Casa had a successful 7-year career in finance at Bloomberg LP in New York where he had advanced from data analytics to hedge fund management with a great salary.
So what did he do? He phoned a friend and asked him if quitting his job to make puzzles is a crazy idea. Naturally, the good friend friend tells him ‘if you try hard enough, you can do it.’ Goodbye, New York! Hello, startup world.
Enter Arlington’s former TechShop in Crystal City. The member based maker space (now in transition to new ownership) provided access to 3D laser printers where Stas took his puzzle ideas and fabrication to a new level. Adding to his online retail, the Made in Arlington program helped broaden the exposure and support to the startup with visibility opportunities like pop-up shops. Next up was introducing the puzzle maker to other small business growth programs through BizLaunch and being featured at Arlington Premier.
Well on his way, what keeps Stas going? “The challenge of it and then the overwhelming feeling of joy when solved is what I work every day to replicate with the Can You Solve Me? Puzzles.” He never has to find batteries, and he doesn’t think about going back to finance.