Will Coleman – 20 Under 40


Education: University of Texas

Will Coleman has been an entrepreneur since he was 12. As a preteen, he started Coleman Computer Consulting to help clients in his neighborhood set up home networks, install printers, and remove viruses from their computers.

“I was the original Geek Squad, and I learned that being a geek had its perks. By the time I was 16, I’d made enough money to pay for most of my own car, insurance, and gas,” Coleman said. “I loved the freedom of being my own boss, and it made me want to build my own ‘real company’ someday.” 

It didn’t take him long to realize that dream. 

Coleman started his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he became a partner in the Dallas office.

“I loved the freedom of being my own boss, and it made me want to build my own ‘real company’ someday.”

He spent almost 11 years helping consumer travel companies like airlines, hotels, and car rental companies solve their strategic challenges. During the last five to six years of his time as a consultant, a frequent question was, “How do I respond to the disruption caused by the rise of Uber and Lyft?” 

He founded rideshare company Alto about two years ago.

“I’ve always been excited by the travel industry, but it was my work studying the disruption of personal mobility, and the opportunities and challenges faced by incumbent players led to Alto,” Coleman said.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged all rideshare companies. Still, Alto pivoted by launching Alto Market to provide on-demand delivery of essential goods like fresh fruit, produce, bread, as well as implementing strict safety measures for traditional riders. 

The company even expanded to Los Angeles in its first foray out of Texas this year despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“Faced with an existential threat to our survival as a 1-year-old company, I couldn’t be prouder of what the team did to leverage the brand we’d built and pivot our business to stay alive,” Coleman said. “We built more in three months than we’d built in the 18 months prior, and we’ve come out stronger than we ever would have been otherwise.”

Favorite nonprofit causes(s)? 

Anything education. Jesuit, Cristo Rey, The Rise School.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

2020 has taught me that a 10-year plan is worthless. I’m trying harder and harder to live each week like I have no idea if the next one will come or what new twist the world will throw out that I will (we all will) have to adapt to.

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you?

I secretly want to be a bartender.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you? 

Don’t buy that ridiculous car stereo. Invest it in Google instead.

What’s on your bucket list?

Dive the Great Barrier Reef.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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