Investing / Universities

If you want to pitch this investor, you have to walk him home

What do you do when every startup-minded Wharton student wants to pick your brain? Take them on your commute.

Kartik Hosanagar, Wharton professor, investor and entrepreneur, outside his home in Society Hill. (Photo by Juliana Reyes)

It was 2008, during the Great Recession, when Kartik Hosanagar started to noticed the switch.
Wharton students began choosing entrepreneurship over careers in consulting or banks. That meant Hosanagar, a Wharton professor who cofounded startups and has invested in nearly a dozen others including Monetate and RJMetrics, was suddenly more in demand than ever.
It ramped up even more over the last three years: he’d get emails from students every day, asking to meet with him to get his feedback on a startup idea or advice on a startup job offer. Coupled with normal office hours for students in his classes, it started to get out of hand.
His solution? Walks.
Hosanagar does a daily “brisk walk” from Penn’s campus to Center City (he lives in Society Hill with his wife, SmartyPAL founder Prasanna Krishnan), accompanied by a student who’s signed up to walk with him — and pitch him or ask for career advice. He uses a Google spreadsheet to organize the walks.
Even throughout the winter’s snow, ice and rain, Hosanagar kept up the walks. During a recent interview, Krishnan said she knows all too well about her husband’s walks.
“Sometimes I’m forced to do a walk with Kartik,” she said, winking at him.
Hosanagar’s recent investments include those in Sunnyvale, Calif.-based OpsClarity and New York City-based MaestroIQ, both of which were founded by Wharton students. He’s also working on SmartyPAL, the iPad platform for children’s books that his wife is running.

Companies: SmartyPAL / Wharton School
People: Prasanna Krishnan / Kartik Hosanagar

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