Alumni Updates: Matt Sheldon and Greg Fean, Touchdown Tailgates, AEP Class of 2018

A good game day begins with a great tailgate. At least, that’s what Applied Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) alumni Matt Sheldon and Greg Fean are selling through their startup, Touchdown Tailgates. So far this season — it appears they’re correct with this assumption, with projections of being out of the red in just one season.

While this may seem like a small feat for those that have never launched a business, let us tell you that it is not. More often than not it takes five or more years to see black on a company’s P&L statements. Keeping in mind that Touchdown Tailgates purchased over $60,000 worth of equipment for their rental business that kicked off with a small investment from RISE after Greg and Matt pitched to a panel of investors last spring, this is an incredible accomplishment! The RISE investment enabled them to acquire a local business with a client list they were able to leverage with the elevated experience Touchdown Tailgates provides.

Matt is currently a student at Holy Cross and Greg graduated last year from Holy Cross. Through constant dedication, conversations, and iterations, Touchdown Tailgates came to life and is thriving. In fact, just this past month, Matt and Greg delivered a check back to Iris Hammel, executive director of RISE, to pay back their loan in full!

Greg and Matt are working on starting a partner company that will cater to offering “turn-key” graduation parties, birthday parties, and more in the South Bend Elkhart Region. They are still in the brainstorming stages, but hope to launch by early spring.

The future continues to shine brighter for both Matt and Greg, and the South Bend – Elkhart region is fortunate to have such top talent staying local to launch their business.

About Touchdown Tailgates

Touchdown Tailgates provides the optimum tailgate experience tailored to any occasion. You are able to customize your tailgating package and a devoted Touchdown Tailgate team will help quickly set up and swiftly take down the party so you can get to the game on time.

In addition to custom tailgate parties where they organize everything, they offer basic pick up and drop off packages, too. Customers can reserve the equipment online, pick up the equipment before the game on Friday, and return it after the game on Sunday.

Touchdown Tailgates has serviced over 75 customers as of the Stanford game and will service over 100 by the end of the season. They are on track to do over $80,000 in sales in their first season.

To learn more about packages and other services offered, call (815) 546-6399 or visit us at

Image: Matt Sheldon (left) and Greg Fean (right) repay their investment to RISE Executive Director Iris Hammel.