All Keyed Up
Passion for travel inspired this humble young Dallasite to change the industry
Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Jon Alsup.
Travel, economics, and technology fascinate 25-year-old Jon Alsup. Since sixth grade — when he sold well-written book reviews to his peers — the Dallasite has been building companies and exploring new ways to do things.
As the vice president of product development at OpenKey, the well-rounded, well-traveled Alsup has helped build the innovative hospitality company that changes the way people experience hotel stays. When guests arrive at their hotel, OpenKey allows them to access their rooms without stopping by the front desk first — or getting a new key if they lose theirs while out on the town. Users can check-in virtually from the app, and even contact the front desk should they need something.
A bilingual graduate of West Texas A&M University, Alsup is said to be the youngest ever executive in the hospitality technology industry, and he completed a multimillion-dollar acquisition before he turned 22. He may be passionate about technology, but he’s also an artist in his free time and makes a hobby out of adding stamps to his passport, having traveled to 10 countries so far. As if that weren’t enough, he also is a founding partner at Nuckols Real Estate.
We chatted with Alsup to find out more about his work and what gets him out of bed in the morning.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Jon Alsup: My childhood inspires me the most. I didn’t grow up in the nicest of neighborhoods or with a ton of material possessions. I remember the feelings of seeing my family struggle, and I never want to be in that position again. Regardless, every day I wake up and I want to make my life 10 times better than the day before.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans starting a business?
JA: Texas has always been a land of entrepreneurs, from the time the oil barons built up West Texas to the multibillion-dollar tech deals now. Well, it might seem you have big footprints to fill when starting a business, but my biggest advice is to step into your boots and make your own footprints. Do not follow anyone else.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words:
JA: Beer, business, family.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
JA: I have a ridiculous shoe addiction, with over 80 pairs of sneakers. I’m out of space; otherwise, I’d have more!
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
JA: It’s a good day when my to-do list is less than one page long!
RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 3 at Fearing’s, to celebrate Alsup and his fellow Dallas winners.