Entrepreneur Profile: Adell Badgett
Entrepreneur Adell Badgett sees plenty of opportunities for the technology behind VR – or virtual reality – gaming. His company, Dellstar VR, looks to not only provide fun and entertainment, but also address the mental health crisis, particularly in the African American community.
Dellstar VR is a virtual gaming business, with a location at Generations AdventurePlex in Mishawaka, as well as a mobile gaming unit that can be rented for private parties and events. Players have a variety of virtual reality games to choose from. Goggles make the gaming experience immersive.
Originally from California, Adell moved to South Bend as a young child. He always felt inspired to start his own business, but it wasn’t until the COVID pandemic that he was drawn to act on it.
“The pandemic was obviously a bad situation, but there were opportunities,” Adell said. “The fact is it offered a pause where you could actually acquire some new skills, if you wanted. You could actually focus on what you really wanted out of life. The pandemic just allowed me to bet on myself.”
Adell lost his previous job during pandemic-related layoffs. While on the job hunt, he researched and experimented with VR technology and discovered it was a viable business opportunity. During this time, he was also going to therapy. Looking back, he credits the therapy with giving him the confidence to start Dellstar VR. He is looking to incorporate therapy and education into his business.
“One of the main things that I’m focused on right now is using virtual reality for mental health and wellness to connect specifically Black people with Black therapists,” he said. “It’s something that’s really needed in our community.”
He also wants to use virtual reality technology for experiences like education and job training, as well as other therapeutic uses.
“One of my passions is being able to offer families with kids with autism not only an experience that can come to them, but also be able to offer more therapeutic experiences that can actually put them in situations virtually that might be triggers,” he said. “Working with the therapist, they can learn coping mechanisms to be able to better function in the real world.”
Adell always felt he was meant to be an entrepreneur. He participated in HustleSBE’s Cohort 5 and found the business bootcamp for Minority and Female business owners beneficial. Each of the eight weekly sessions featured a different topic and guest presenters.
“Hustle – by far – has been the best one that I’ve been to,” he said. “It’s a lot more digestible than most of the other workshops that I’ve been through. It’s not about cramming you full of five different subjects all at once. Every class offered a gem.”
Adell finds his biggest struggle as an entrepreneur is taking the time to focus on marketing while undertaking all the other key business tasks needed to keep the business afloat.
‘I think it’s an essential part of any business and without that resource – to be able to market and get people in the door or get services and clients – can be the hardest task,” he said. “Especially when you’re doing it by yourself, it can be extremely tedious to not be able to afford to have somebody take that on while you actually run your business.”
Dellstar VR was previously a stand-alone business in downtown South Bend. Adell found that to be a time of learning as he pivoted his business model when it no longer was financially viable to keep the space open.
“That’s what being an entrepreneur is,” he said. “Now I have a mobile trailer where I don’t have somebody come to me. I can go wherever I need to go. And then I also have Dellstar VR inside of Generations AdventurePlex, where it’s already customers in there. It makes it a lot easier.”
Adell says being strategic is one of the best skills an entrepreneur can have. A self-described introvert, he feels it is important pull yourself out of your comfort zone.
“For an entrepreneur, that spirit is the person that just doesn’t give up, like you’re going to take on any obstacle that comes your way,” he said. “You’re just going to take it on, right? You’re going to use whatever resources that you have. Leverage those against whatever other resources you have, especially when you come from a disenfranchised community or oppressed community or marginalized community. You won’t have a lot of the resources that some people have. So, you got to use the tools that you have to the best of your ability.”
For more information on Dellstar VR, visit www.dellstarvr.com.