Carter Reum is a tech startup entrepreneur and is now engaged to Paris Hilton. The heiress shared the news of their engagement on February 17 on Instagram with a video that showed Reum getting down on one knee. She wrote, “When you find your soulmate, you don’t just know it. You feel it.”
The couple was first linked in January 2020 when they attended a Golden Globes after-party together, E! News reported at the time. But Hilton and Reum have actually known each for most of their adult lives. Hilton explained to People in September 2020 she had met Reum 15 years ago and described him as a family friend.
Hilton told the magazine that romance blossomed when they reconnected at his sister’s Thanksgiving celebration in 2019. “Reum’s sister Halle Hammond invited us to Thanksgiving and we just had this incredible chemistry. We had our first date and haven’t spent a night apart since. It’s pretty amazing.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carter Reum Grew Up in Illinois & Got a Job at Goldman Sachs After Graduating From Columbia
Carter Reum is a midwestern native. Born in February 1981, he was raised outside of Chicago alongside older brother Courtney and young sister Halle. According to the Chicago Tribune, Reum played soccer at Glenbard South High School and graduated in 1999.
Reum followed his older brother to New York City for college. All three Reum siblings attended Columbia University. According to his LinkedIn profile, Reum studied business and managerial economics and graduated in 2003.
Reum’s first job out of college was for Champ Ventures in Sydney, Australia. According to his professional bio, Reum was responsible for “helping incubate young start-up companies” and this experience gave him a “taste for entrepreneurship.”
Reum returned to the United States in 2014 and went to work on Wall Street. He got a job as an investment banker, specializing in industrials at Goldman Sachs. Older brother Courtney was also working at the investment bank. But after two years with the firm, Courtney convinced Carter to join him on a new business venture.
2. The Reum Brothers Created a Liquor From Acai Fruit & Launched VEEV Spirits in 2007
Courtney Reum first sampled the acai fruit during a surfing trip to Brazil, he explained to Columbia College Today in 2011. That culinary experience later served as Courtney’s inspiration when he started thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. He told the alumni magazine that he came up with the idea to invent “the world’s first acai spirit.” Courtney persuaded Carter to join him on the venture.
The brothers teamed with fellow Columbia University alum Britt West, who was working on branding for Grey Goose Vodka at the time. They tapped into their Goldman Sachs contact lists to raise money for the start-up and then got to work with a distiller to create the liquor. Courtney explained to the magazine how he came up with the name VEEV: “It has no meaning but is close to the word for ‘life’ in several Latin-based languages. We also like it because it’s one syllable and a palindrome, making it an easy call to a bartender in a crowded bar.”
Once the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau signed off on the recipe, Carter and Courtney Reum started getting the word out about their new brand by selling bottles out of their vehicles in Los Angeles. They also traveled across the country promoting the brand and were able to take advantage of inexpensive advertising spots to further spread the message.
Their gameplan worked. VEEV recorded $2 million in sales in 2010, the Reums told Columbia College Today. In September 2011, VEEV was recognized by INC magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States. Goldman Sachs also honored its former employees in 2015 by naming them to the firm’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs list. Carter Reum told Columbia College Today that taking the risk with his brother was the best decision he could have ever made: “The experience I’ve gotten at such a young age never would have been possible if I’d continued at an investment bank. I always say that VeeV is our ‘business school.’ And the success we’ve had has been even sweeter given that my brother and I are doing this together.
Carter and Courtney Reum sold a majority stake of VEEV Spirits to the beverage company Luxco in mid-2016. According to a news release about the acquisition, VEEV was praised at the time for donating one percent of its sales to support environmental causes. The Reums had also chosen to make VEEV “in the only distillery in America that operates on renewable wind-powered energy.”
3. Carter Reum & His Brother Now Run a Venture Studio Called M13 & Have Invested in Startups Such as Lyft & Slack
After selling VEEV Spirits, Carter and Courtney Reum launched an investment firm they called M13. According to the company’s website, the name was inspired by the Messier 13 star cluster. The site explains that the cluster is “full of remarkable individual stars. But when those stars come together, they create something that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts. At M13, we’ve learned the same.”
M13 has invested in dozens of companies including Lyft, Pinterest, Rothy’s, FanDuel, GirlBoss, Headspace, MeUndies, Pressed Juicery and Rubicon. The brothers explained to Medium in 2018 that in addition to investing in startups, they aimed to guide entrepreneurs in order to improve their chances of succeeding. Carter Reum also explained on his M13 bio that they both had a desire to give back:
M13 came out of two major motivations. The first one was pretty simple—intellectual curiosity. We wanted to be around the smartest people doing innovative things every day.
The second reason is that we wanted to give back—and we wanted to do it in a scalable way. Along the road of building VeeV, there were so many people who helped us and believed in us, but there were also so many things we needed to learn from scratch when really, they were repeatable processes, things we could have flown through if we’d had the right tools.
4. Carter & Courtney Published ‘Shortcut Your Startup’ in 2018
Carter and Courtney Reum have been sharing their business insights and offering advice to other entrepreneurs for the past several years. The brothers have been contributing writers to INC magazine since 2015. You can see their articles here.
That writing experience ultimately led to their own book. They published Shortcut Your Startup: Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches in early 2018. The book was described on Amazon as a “practical playbook for both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs, filled with unconventional yet accessible advice for maximizing your business venture.”
One of the key pieces of advice Carter and Courtney Reum share in the book is that entrepreneurs should focus on perfecting their product before attempting to expand. As Carter wrote on Instagram ahead of the book’s launch, “Not every business is a speedboat. In fact, most businesses are sailboats. Our startup, VEEV was a sailboat. We focused on nailing our systems down tight before we scaled. This worked well for us when we went to sell.”
5. Reum Gifted Hilton a Puppy & They Rewatched ‘The Simple Life’ During Quarantine
Ahead of the debut of her documentary This Is Paris, which dropped on YouTube on September 14, 2020, Hilton gushed about Reum to People magazine. She shared that since their first date in November, they hadn’t spent a single night apart.
Part of that closeness may have been due to lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The couple quarantined together at her Beverly Hills home. Hilton shared on Jimmy Kimmel Live that she and Reum watched The Simple Life during the lockdown. She joked to guest-host Nikki Glaser, “He’s not, like, a reality show type of person because he’s a very intellectual man. So to see him watching something like that is very fun and entertaining.”
In early August, Reum surprised Hilton with a new dog. Hilton shared on Instagram at the time, “My boyfriend just surprised me with this new puppy for our anniversary! 🥰🐶 So in love! 😍 She is a Teacup Pomsky, a Pomeranian mixed with a Siberian Husky. She is so adorable with beautiful baby blue eyes!” Hilton shared a few days later that she decided to name the puppy Slivington, which is also the name Hilton gave her Beverly Hills home.
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