College Startups

Posted in College Startups on March 22nd, 2015 by Choton

Over the last decade there has been a serious increase in the number of college startups. Students are flocking to start something that will be “theirs” which is not easy to do but definitely worth pursuing. I wanted to make two observations in this blog posting:

The idea vs implementation:

First, I am a huge fan of trying to gauge if the student(s) has what it takes more than getting caught up in the initial idea. My primary reason is that most initial ideas never remain the same after a solid customer discovery and pivots to the business model. But taking a mediocre idea and following through via solid customer discovery and hard work has better results. In other words I am huge fan of the process and if done correctly can yield amazing results.

Categories of startups:

In the last 2 years I am convinced that the following categories of college startups exist:

  • Scalable startups (suggest that you find some materials by Steve Blank – Stanford on this)
  • Social Entrepreneurship-type solutions – focus on social impact BUT have services and/or products that people pay for
  • Lifestyle Businesses – This is a term I am using very liberally to describe generic business types such as a restaurant, studio and so on
  • Design startups – this typically involves a twist of an existing product and/or a new product that the student wants to start to manufacture
  • Intrapreneurship – where a student wants to work in a large organization identifying new products/services and working within the creative/innovation segment in those large companies
  • Other categories – some of the others that do not fall “cleanly” in any of the above items

I have observed that a majority of the resources are being channeled towards the first one though we should not ignore the other categories. I am currently working on ways to ensure that this does not happen in our university. We have incredible students who fall into each of the above segments and need our attention and access to resources.

Some interesting links and resources:

I will end this blog entry with some interesting links. The first two are really the same article with a slight twist. The third link is an interesting resource I found that shows several resources and opportunities related to startup initiated by the Whitehouse.

Coolest College Startups if 2014: http://www.inc.com/college-startups

Better link for the above updated for 2015: http://www.inc.com/ananya-bhattacharya/coolest-college-startups-2015.html

Whitehouse Initiative (useful resource): https://www.whitehouse.gov/startup-america-fact-sheet