DU Alumni

The Power of Crowdfunding

Written by Draper University Alumni Niti Shree.

Being a startup enthusiast and a budding entrepreneur, I always wanted to attend an unconventional entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley. (Will be sharing in future posts that why I don’t believe in conventional educational programs). When I was in the middle of “Now what…?” phase, my boyfriend ( a Draper University alumnus himself) asked me to apply. I got the selection email for “April 2015 batch” in Feb.

Two of the Draper alumni (my boyfriend and his friend) were just discussing one day that technically I would be the first Indian woman to attend Draper University’s program. Well, to my surprise I received a call from a journalist friend from The Times of India (The No.1 English daily in India) regarding this. She interviewed me and boom — I started receiving calls from my networks on the eve of International Women’s day (Check out the article that appeared on The Times of India). Now, it was confirmed that I am going. Check out my post on “Why did I choose to go to Draper University”.But the question was “How?”. Only a month was left for the April batch and I didn’t have the visa. The bigger problem was “funds” even though I got a good scholarship amount of 4,500$. I had to arrange for 5,500$. I requested Draper University to defer my admission for the next batch to help me buy some time.For a young professional with hardly 4 years of experience with 3 career switches, there was no chance of the term called “savings”. “Family money” — no way, I stopped that ever since I graduated. There is not much you could expect from a middle-class family for an unconventional educational program like this.

While I was unable to see the way out to make it happen, my boyfriend came to rescue. He gave me the confidence that “Money is the least thing you should worry about. It’s going to happen no matter what”. So, I decided to crowdfund. Crowdfunding was a very new experience for me. I started reading articles on crowdfunding regarding — which platform is good, what approach I should have, tips and tricks etc. Wasted some time on launching as I wanted to be “perfect”. I came across an article on TheNextWeb. Taking inspiration from the article, I finally launched the campaign on Indiegogotitled “Superhero Mission: Everyone’s Personal Stylist” after wasting some time on over-analyzing. I thought ultimately this experience is a step towards my entrepreneurial dream. So, it was titled around my startup idea and in return I was offering perks of PR services. Tried making a video too as a lot of blogs written on successful crowdfunding says that it increases the chances for success. Ended up making crappy videos. So, just designed an infographic of my story on Piktochart. For 10 days, I didn’t reach out to anyone.

Just creating a campaign on a crowdfunding platform does not help you. So, no funds came through in first 10 days. Then, I started sending e-mails to my network. 4 years after college I didn’t focus on minting money, but I did focus on learning and working for the cause I believe in. Helping early-stage entrepreneurs through volunteering for Headstart for over 2 years created a ripple effect of goodwill which I realized during the crowdfunding experience. I probably would have sent 200+ e-mails to renowned entrepreneurs, investors and technologists in India and Silicon Valley. The subject line of the e-mail always remained “First Indian woman at Draper”.I also got small contributions from early stage entrepreneurs who replied to my “Thank you” saying “Come on, if we were at a stable stage we would have contributed a large amount”. It was so touching. Out of many e-mails sent, one of them was to Liz Wald, the former VP, International of Indiegogo. As per her suggestion, I changed the title of my campaign to “Send Niti to Draper University”. In another e-mail to Slava Rubin, founder and CEO of Indiegogo, introduced me to Indiegogo Life and I received a good support from Indiegogo team in seamlessly moving my campaign to Indiegogo Life. I raised 4000$ on Indiegogo. Now, the “perks” were irrelevant. Though I communicated to my backers of support/services at any point of time.

I was still short of around 3000$ keeping in consideration the flight costs as well. I got 1000$ in my account through 3 other entrepreneurs. The biggest contribution of 2000$ came through Meera Kaul Foundation’s woman in technology program which was paid directly to Draper University. There were 36 backers including Meera Kaul and offline contributions. The amazing part was most of these backers were renowned technologists, investors and entrepreneurs from India and Silicon Valley.

With this amazing experience, my belief in myself and my work has gone to a whole new level. I will reveal the names of all the backers when the time is right.

Overall, the journey to Draper University became all the more prized experience because of the amazing backers in my crowdfunding experience.

Alumni Profile: Brian Friedman of Loopd

Brian Friedman was part of our Summer 2013 class. He has since founded Loopd, a relational analytics company that uses wearable technology to collect data at events. Read our exclusive profile below. Brian Friedman

June 1, 2015 - Brian Friedman attended a formal boarding school in New Hampshire where dress code was enforced with an iron fist and students attended chapel every Monday morning. After his authoritarian experience in high school, he headed to Lehigh University where he studied materials science and engineering as well as product design and was given the opportunity to start the entrepreneurship club. While attending Lehigh, Brian also worked for Red Bull as a Student Brand Manager. In the back of his mind, however, he knew his experiences in high school and college had prepared him for a much different path.

A Successful Mentor Recommends a “Leap of Faith”

“A fellow advisor and mentor recommended that I apply to Draper University,” says Brian. “He is a very successful entrepreneur, and I knew if he told me to go then it would be worth taking the leap of faith. I was right, after all! For the first time I felt that it was possible to dream about anything.”

Most of Brian’s fellow classmates at Lehigh didn’t share his strong drive to start a venture, with the majority going to work as technical sales reps with materials companies in the middle of the US or as lab assistants in dark rooms throughout New Jersey. But Brian believes that his experience at Draper University allowed him to take advantage of his creativity and also meet other like-minded individuals. Brian actually met his two co-founders, Sambhav Galada and Allen Houng, at Draper University, and they all hit it off immediately.

Sambhav Galada is the Head of Product of Loopd. He pursued his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M. Sambhav has implemented and designed an ARM low power chip for wearable technology that enables users to get feedback on their personal fitness analytics.

Allen Houng is the Head of Software of Loopd. Allen graduated with honors in electrical engineering in Taiwan and produced an award-winning gesture-recognition engine via FPGA application. Allen has been featured on TechCrunch and StartUp Weekend Blog for his startup called Drimmit, which he built by himself from the ground up full stack.

During the program Brian learned about new trends that were the bleeding edge in Silicon Valley, including 3D printing, space mining, anti-aging pharmaceutical and blockchain technologies. He also learned that in order to build a scalable business you need to stay focused and conquer one problem at a time.

The idea for Loopd was conceived during a competition at Draper. The night before, Brian had seen a video of the Budweiser Buddy Cup, which gave people the ability to exchange Facebook information by tapping glasses. The next day in BizWorld, a startup contest, his team had to create and sell a wristband concept. Immediately he thought of BuddyBand, which was the initial idea for Loopd, but since then the concept has evolved.

“Our team put in several hours to develop our initial prototype and business model. We are a hard working group and while at Draper University we learned that you need to execute as a team if you want to build a great company,” Brian says.

After Pitch Day (and Some Refinement) Loopd Is Born

Brian and his team were in the top 10 on pitch day, the culmination of the program and what every student works toward while at Draper. While their idea was applauded by many, it was also questioned by the panel of experts, which helped Brian and his co-founders refine their concept for Loopd. Since pitch day they’ve raised $1.2MM from Tim Draper, Marc Benioff, Rick Dalzell and other notable angel investors.

Loopd is a relational analytics platform that measures proximity-based human interactions and engagement for corporate events. Loopd is the industry’s only bi-directional solution that enables attendees to exchange contact information, collect marketing materials and passively check in to speaker sessions. Using physical analytics, marketers are able to have a more sophisticated understanding of their most valuable business relationships and bring clarity to murky ROI measurements. Additional use cases for Loopd are boundless, from helping healthcare workers glean details about patients instantly, to facilitating military ground troop communication, to turning handshakes into information swaps.

In the past 12 months, he and his team have designed and built a complete analytics platform, iOS and Android app and bi-directional beacon. Loopd won Wearable Tech Product of the Year, was selected as a top-eight finalist for smart data and enterprise at SXSW Accelerator and was selected as top 48 finalist at CeBit CODE_N. Since the company’s launch at SXSW, the team has closed its first enterprise deal with Box, and has Accenture, Salesforce and Cisco in the final stages. They have also assembled a great team of 15 amazing people in San Francisco and Taiwan who have skills in machine learning, wireless protocols, big data infrastructure and mobile development.

“Right now we are focused on building the next version of Loopd, which will be more cost effective, powerful and feature rich. Over the next eight months our team plans to power 20 Fortune 2000 Corporate Conferences with our hardware solution and 40 high quality events with our software solution. In the future, our technology will be the leading offline analytics provider for MRO in health, manufacturing, retail and developing nations worldwide. And this is all because of Draper University,” Brian finishes with a big smile.

DU Alum Plans to Shake Up the NYC Housing Market with HomeSwipe

May 26, 2015 -- Michael Lisovetsky, member of our 2014 summer class, was featured in Business Insider and ED News Daily this week for a startup idea that's set to rock the NYC housing market. Michael is co-founder of the app, HomeSwipe, dubbed "Tinder for apartment hunting." The app uses the swipe interface popularized by Tinder to connect house-hunters with realtors. Users can swipe through New York apartment listings based on their preferences and chat directly with realtors if they're interested in a property. Michael, 22, attended Draper University while studying business at NYU. At DU, Michael was introduced to a flurry of "Tinder for X" ideas, but he wasn't fully sold on the utility of the swipe platform. He asked friend-turned-business partner, Dean Soukeras, what the swipe model could facilitate besides dating. Soukeras, a seasoned NYC entrepreneur, promptly suggested "real-estate," and HomeSwipe was born.

Michael and Soukeras sought a tech whiz to build the app and sent out a blast on Facebook. They struck gold with a response from Jason Marmon, a talented teen coder who would eventually drop out of high school to focus on HomeSwipe full time. Once the partnership was formed, they needed seed financing. Naturally, Michael reached out to Tim Draper, who was so impressed with the HomeSwipe prototype he agreed to invest.

Michael (left) and Jason (right)

Tim urged Michael and his co-founders to raise their seed round to $500,000. They started strong, but plateaued at $400,000. The HomeSwipe team returned to Tim, who set them up with an introduction to Marc Benioff. This was the final push they needed. Benioff's interest was piqued, and he agreed to bump up their funding to the requisite amount.

Soukeras worked with New York City realtors to build a customer base for the app. In effect, it will charge realtors a small transaction fee to chat with interested parties. The app will begin exclusively in New York, but the team has plans to expand to Chicago. With the apartment hunting process in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs notoriously difficult, there is already a huge demand for the app. Since it's gone live, HomeSwipe represents 85% of available NYC real estate, boasts 47,000 downloads, and is supported by 2,200 real estate agents.

Michael credits his success to DU. Not only was he granted the networking opportunities that got HomeSwipe off the ground, but also the team building skills that come with experiential learning. He told ED News Daily, "The $150k+ price tag on my education could’ve been funneled a lot more effectively towards practical learning, and Draper U is an excellent example of that. I learned more about myself and the world in the seven weeks at Draper U than the four years of university I drudged through.”

Michael is a great example of a student who took full advantage of DU's resources to launch a meaningful venture. The HomeSwipe team will hit Sand Hill Road this week to secure more investors, and with all the app's promise, success seems inevitable. Read more on these accomplished young founders, and the full story of HomeSwipe's evolution at  Business Insider.

DU Alum Co-Authors the World Economic Forum Report on Emerging Technologies

May 18, 2015 — The 2015 World Economic Forum Report on Emerging Technologies, released in March of this year, is the most read World Economic Forum report to date. The report introduces ten rising technologies -- including next-generation robotics and digital genomes -- and gives an overview of their applications. Apurv Mishra at Draper University

The report counts Draper University alum, Apurv Mishra, as co-author; along with Bernard Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM; and Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of the Scientific American.

Apurv was a member of our Fall 2013 class and also completed the Boost VC Program. He is the Founder of Glavio Wearable Computing. Read the full report on today's top ten emerging technologies here.

Draper University Alum and Ex-Skyper Launches Virtual Whiteboard Tool Deekit

May 12, 2015 — Kaili Kleemeier, member of the Draper University Fall 2014 online class, just launched Deekit: a virtual whiteboard to aid remote teams with research and development. Kaili is a former operations manager at Skype, and she drew from her experience there to design Deekit. Kaili recalls the struggle to collaborate with coworkers in different offices. After the unsuccessful search for a virtual tool that would allow them a visual brainstorm session, Kaili and her cofounders created exactly that product.

Deekit is a virtual whiteboard with screen sharing capabilities where users can sketch, chat, and build models together all in real time. Deekit comes with sophisticated templates for projects like blueprints or flowcharts, and boards can be shared or saved for future reference. Kaili claims that the standout element of Deekit is its simplicity. Deekit is formulated for ease of use with intuitive features and straightforward tools.

The Deekit team hopes to revolutionize online education with the platform. With extensive interactive capabilities, Deekit allows students to participate in lectures rather than simply listen to them, and already they've had success using the tool to teach 7-10 year olds programming. Deekit has been in private beta for over a year, and launched publicly on the 7th of May. With over 350 users in 21 countries, they are sure to see rapid growth in a market where global collaboration is increasingly commonplace.

Read the TechCrunch profile on Deekit here, and an interview with the team on Wired UK, where Deekit was featured as startup of the week!

 

DU Alum's Rideshare Service "Scooterino" Takes off in Rome

May 11, 2015 — Draper University alum, Oliver Page, has created a unique ride-sharing service in Rome with mounting success. In a city where scooters are one of the most popular forms of transportation, Scooterino allows you to hop on the back of someone's scooter who is traveling in the same direction. Oliver's idea was to adapt American ride-sharing services (like Uber) to Italian culture. Romans rely heavily on Vespas to zip through the congested metropolis, and Scooterino allows users to locate travelers on a similar route and catch a ride for just a few Euros. The service is meant to be efficient and cost effective, and Oliver will eventually take a small cut from each transaction. So far, Oliver has about 2,000 users and $50,000 in seed capital. He will test the Roman market for viability, but the service has already sparked interest in other scooter-happy cities across Europe. Read FastCompany's profile on Scooterino here.

scooterino

The Rise of Tech Superwomen: Surbhi Sarna

tech superwomen surbhi sarnaFebruary 2, 2015 - Sheryl Sandburg. Melissa Meyer. Meg Whitman. These powerful and successful women have all become household names as the female execs behind Facebook, Yahoo, and eBay. But there's a new group of female thought leaders and power brokers who have all beaten the odds to succeed: Tech Superwomen. In this Forbes article, we take a look at the four Tech Superwomen below, including one of our very own alumni: Surbhi Sarna of nVision Medical!

Surbhi was listed on Forbes 2014 30 Under 30 in science and healthcare. Her company nVision Medical is "developing technology that can be used in the doctors office for diagnosing both infertility and ovarian cancer - which remains one of the most lethal cancers worldwide due to the lack of early stage detection options."

Her advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs: "Don't let them stop you!"

Draper University Alumni Launch "Loopd"

San Mateo, CA – October 16, 2014 – Draper University, the innovative and disruptive school for entrepreneurs, announced that four alumni have launched Loopd, a proximity marketing solutions tool for marketing executives. Loopd closed $1 million in angel funding from Draper Associates and Draper University founder Tim Draper, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, and Vuclip Co-Founder Xinhui Nui. Alumni Startup Loopd“At Draper University we teach our students to think differently and provide all the necessary tools to start a business. We are thrilled to see four of our Draper University heroes going out into the world and disrupting the traditional way of marketing at conferences and events,” said Draper.

With Loopd, marketers are able to prove event ROI, deliver higher quality leads, gather accurate attendee profiles, optimize event marketing strategies, and enhance attendee engagement. Unlike stand-alone event apps, beacon systems, or traditional lead retrieval systems, Loopd combines the three essential components for an event marketer: a mobile app, event hardware including bi-directional beacons, and rich analytics.

The team of seven is based in San Francisco, CA and Taipei, Taiwan. The chips cost less than $5 dollars to manufacture and can last up to two weeks. The chip also allows users to take notes and export the information received from the app to the user’s sales software, thus making it easier for conference attendees to create contacts rather than solely relying on business cards.

“Draper University changed my life; this is almost an understatement. During my session, I met my two amazing cofounders, came up with our idea for Loopd, and decided to move to Silicon Valley to start my company,” said Brian Friedman, CEO at Loopd. “I would recommend the program with flying colors to anyone and everyone that wants to learn more entrepreneurship.”

Former Draper University alumni are out changing the world – former students have started over 60 companies, raised over $7.4 million in capital, are working at large companies including Tesla and Google, as well as at startups, and attending business school at Harvard and Stanford. Draper University is now accepting applications for its Winter 2015 programs. Application deadlines are at http://www.localhost/sites/html/apply.


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What Are Draper University Alumni Up To? Sept 2014 Update

San Mateo, CA – Sept 3, 2014 – Draper University entrepreneurship program graduates are making waves in startup communities across the globe. Launched in 2012 in Silicon Valley by successful venture capitalist Tim Draper, Draper University runs startup training programs for entrepreneurs from all over the world. Students learn to think differently and are encouraged to start businesses that will change the world. Tech DriveRecent graduates from the entrepreneurial program include female racecar driver Collete Davis, who graduated from the Spring 2013 cohort. Collete, a Formula 1 racecar driver and STEM education ambassador recently co-founded TechDrive online magazine with Bravo! TV Silicon Valley cast member Hermione Way and was recently featured on the cover of FSHN magazine.

Bistro Cat FeederOther Draper University alumni include Mu-Chi Sing and Colin Heilbut, both from the Winter 2014 cohort, who successfully crowdfunded over $200,000.00 for Bistro, the smart feeder that recognizes your cat’s face. Bistro is the world’s smartest feeder that can track appetite and weight change using an innovative cat facial recognition technology.

Q BraceletMore innovative graduates, all from the Summer 2013 cohort, include the founders of two wearable technology startups. James Kernan founded the startup Q Designs and launched the Q Bracelet, an innovative stylish bracelet that charges your smartphone. Brian Friedman and Allen Houng founded the startup Loopd, a platform that streamlines interaction between business professionals.

Peanuts4PeanutsIn the social entrepreneurship sector, alumnae Lizzie Faust and Kendra Wilkins are supporting malnourished children in Haiti with sales of their all-natural peanut butter through their startup Peanuts4Peanuts.

Blast BuzzInnovative marketer Kerstin Karu of the spring 2013 cohort launched Blast Buzz to help brands connect with people to co-create and amplify word-of-mouth buzz across social media. Kerstin was recently featured on VentureBeat speaking on the future of marketing.

Other notable alums include Apurv Mishra, a developer and engineer who is launching TAP, an app that will be the fastest, simplest messaging application. Users simply “tap” their smartphone to send a notification. In the gamification sector, alum Alex Chen is changing the landscape by creating TestLegends, a tool for educators to make test preparation more fun and engaging. Disrupting the moving sector in India is Mithun Srivasta, who launched Blowhorn, the Uber of home delivery, in order to bring easy delivery into homes across India.

Draper University is now taking applications for its Winter 2015 cohort, which runs from January 25 to March 13, 2015. Apply online at http://www.localhost/sites/html


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What Are Draper University Alumni Up To? Oct 2013 Update

Draper University AlumniOctober 7, 2013 – Draper University alumni are changing the world with their gusto and enthusiasm. Their startups are already making an impact and creating disruption. Check out what some of our alumni are up to: Loopd - Re-imagining how you connect with people with wearable tech products

New Tide Commerce - B2C Consumer Product Exchange

Booth4 - Amazing rental photo booth service for parties and events

Roomrr - A safe, community marketplace for you to rent storage space to and from people like you

Trumo - A truly mobile application that allows you to easily access your contacts from any phone when yours is unavailable

EquityLancer - A global equity marketplace that enables startups to use their equity as a currency, instead of cash, to find and acquire critical resources such as talent, products, services, and funding, to develop their business idea

JayStay - Airbnb for exclusive networks

Actively Learn - An online literacy platform that empowers educators to transform reading

Coup - A new 21st century interpretation of the classic private social club, provides innovative and modern offerings and experiences more appropriate and attractive to its specific demographic of successful and upwardly mobile young professionals

Draem Ventures - Pre-seed impact venture fund dedicated to finding, founding, and funding the next generation of socially, environmentally, and technologically conscious businesses

Aimwith - Social equity marketplace for impact

Galaxeeds, Inc. - Creates a stress-free, comprehensive and reliable hiring, training and placement system solely based on job candidates' proven problem-solving capabilities and cultural fits with the companies.

NutKase Accessories - Design and manufacture high end personalised tablet and computer cases for educational institutions and corporates

BluVPN - Online privacy cloak and website unblocker

This is only the beginning - keep an eye on these amazing heroes - they are changing the world!

Loopd is Born: My Entrepreneurial Journey

Student Post – September 17, 2013 – Sitting on a bamboo chair at Mama’s Fish House below the overhanging palms, I stared into the distance where I could see a shimmering sunrise above the Maui horizon. The crests of the waves glistened from the light, and at that moment it occurred to me that this was it. The environment and atmosphere was pristine and perfect around me, however I was missing one thing. I had been observing the stunning innovation of Mother Nature, but within this beautiful picture I was just an observer. The desire to be part of this elaborate scene made me question my motivation and direction for the future.

Sunset View at Maui Film Festival

Soaring in the air I spun three rotations, and safely landed down on the downslope of a breaking swell. Guiding my kite to the left, I directed myself towards the beach, while digging the edge of my kiteboard into the Pacific. The wind was consistently racing through the air allowing my kite to harness its immense energy. Sending my kite back to the right, I raced towards a large wave. Approaching the lip of the wave, time started to slow down, and I entered a state of hyper focus. Each droplet splashing off the wave suddenly started to float. I could envision my route into the air where I would be once again part of the elaborate scene. Time sped up rapidly, and the wind blew against my body like a Maglev train racing towards its destination. Flying up towards the cumulus clouds, I looked below and felt at home. This feeling was pristine, and I had achieved my place next to the shimmering sun.

Kiteboarding Tweaked Grab, Pro Beach Maui

Two weeks earlier I had applied to an entrepreneurship program called Draper University, started by the famous venture capitalist and superhero Tim Draper of DFJ Ventures. The program is a six-week intensive pre-incubation and concept generation experience for future entrepreneurs ranging from age 18 to 28. Even though I had sent in my resume and completed my interview, I was still not sold if this was the right track for me. I have always been intrigued by start-ups ever since I was born. My dad ran a successful trade show company on three continents, and he had inspired me to take the leap. Freshman year at Lehigh University, I started a technical entrepreneurship club called CREATE, where I was inspired to help students bring their ideas to life from the paper stage. This is where I had my first romance with entrepreneurship, and I knew the rest was history. I was going to start my own company, and finally I would find my way to add my own splash of innovation to society surrounding me.

CREATE Club 3D Printing Workshop

Halfway through freshman year at Lehigh University, I declared my major Materials Science and Engineering. This was a step away from business, but I knew that with my new knowledge I would be able to make physical products that acted as disruptors for other technology. The curriculum was challenging and enduring, but I enjoyed learning about the building blocks of plastics, metals, and ceramics. Form and function both intrigued me, and I was motivated to create something that tied the two together in a simple harmony. Thinking about my future as a Material Scientist and Engineer, I realized that the normal track would not be entirely satisfying, and once again I would be looking out at the sunrise. Draper University accepted me for their summer program, and I knew that it was my calling from the Valley to the Bay.

Apple Company Store at Cupertino Headquarters

While at Draper University I met two extraordinary minds and my future cofounders: Allen Houng and Sambhav Galada. They were both trained Computer Scientists and Electrical Engineers. Allen was from Taiwan, and Sambhav was from India. We had all come from different backgrounds and cultures, but our desire to create a company unified all of us. Halfway through the program, I came up with a new concept for connecting with people physically while using new technological advancements. Recently I had observed that from the emergence of the smartphone technology, most people had become more virtually social and more physically antisocial. My goal was to use the existing platform in a new way, so that everyone could optimize the process and become more physically social. With the rise of smart wearable devices and SaaS platforms, I saw an opportunity to invent a simplified product that allowed people to interact with others in a sentimental fashion, while awarding themselves among their virtual presence. Sambhav and Allen shared the same vision that I had, and we agreed this was our new path. As a romanticist for ideas I had several projects that I was devoted to, but I had never found “the” idea. This new project was “the” idea, and my new love.

500 Startups Demo Day San Francisco

Jumping up and down from trampoline to trampoline, I was officially a superhero. My cape swayed behind me in the air, and I moved across the vast room like rolling thunder. I sat down on a bright blue beanbag and watched the rest of my class leap across the room with their unique style. It was our Draper University graduation, and my class finished their short 6-week journey one by one as they bounced from the podium. The day before graduation, student teams participated in a pitch day to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors. Each team had two minutes per person to share their life-changing plan to beneficially disrupt the world. There had been a rumor moving quickly among our class that a few lucky teams would be chosen to receive funding. Every team delivered an extraordinary pitch, and I knew that any team could be worthy. I walked outside through the double doors and sat down next to the pool. Looking at the water’s surface, I saw my reflection, and I imagined a new life in Silicon Valley.

Draper University Summer Class

A deep voice caught my attention, and I turned around. It was one of the investors from our pitch day. He wanted to help my team make our venture a reality, and immediately my dream had come true. I had been waiting for the right pieces to come together in a harmony, and finally an upbeat and energetic melody had formed. I had a great team, investor, location, technology, market access, and supply chain. Lehigh University was my current plan, but I knew that this was my shot for the big leagues. If I didn’t go for it, then I could regret my decision for the rest of my life.

I would have never of thought that all within one summer I would start a company, move to California, and take a leave from school. The first two on my list were life goals, but I had always planned to finish what I had started with minimal interruptions. A new chapter in my life has started, and I am excited to share it with the world.

Santa Cruz Surf Break at Lighthouse Point Park

“We need to learn how to want what we have NOT to have what we want in order to get steady and stable Happiness”  – Dalai Lama

~ Guest post by Brian Friedman who is from Massachusetts and was part of DU's Summer 2013 Class. This article is cross-posted from his blog: https://medium.com/@bfried9131/loopd-is-born-b1b7a5ecad2f Check out his startup Loopd at: http://getloopd.com/