The Interview With Raj Mathai

The Interview With Raj Mathai

In-depth interviews that go beyond one or two soundbites

The Interview: Trevor Traina

San Francisco Society Man Using His Connections for Good

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trevor Traina was born into a life of wealth and privilege, but he's using his connections for a new start-up, that connects anyone to some of the most famous people in the world. Raj Mathai reports.

    Trevor Traina made millions in technology, but in his case, he had big money before he even graduated from elementary school.

    Traina was born into one of San Francisco's oldest old-money families. He's the son of the late John Traina and Dede Wilsey and former stepson of novelist Danielle Steele.

    "I'm actually a fifth-generation San Franciscan," Traina said. "My family came here during the gold rush and for me it's just home." 

    While his home may be among the most expensive in San Francisco, the 45-year old San Francisco native is spending lots of time at his latest start-up, IfOnly.com.

    "If Only is really my fifth company, all based here in San Francisco," Traina said. "I'd sold my last company and I was really looking for something interesting and meaningful to do, and I do a lot of philanthropy, and I like to live experientially and I thought what if I could pull that together, create a store and offer experiences with the world's top talents and a meaningful percentage of every transaction would go to charity."

    To be clear, this is a for-profit business, but Traina said that on average 70 cents on the dollar goes to charity. It also allows Traina to use his connections to help connect celebrities to everyday people.  

    "Let's pick a band you've always loved. If you have $30, we can have them sign a pick for you. If you have $100, they'll sign the set list. If you have a few hundred dollars, you can meet them after the concert," Traina explained.

    To critics who complain that Traina got handed his successes, he says just look at his resume, not his pedigree. "There might be a few photos of me at black tie dinners floating around, but the reality is that I've founded five companies now, sold four companies, created literally hundreds of jobs and that's my day job and I've always had a day job."