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Startup Unconference: 3 takeaways from the student-organized event that connected students and entrepreneurs

By Marissa Hu Wharton’s first student-organized “Startup Unconference” got entrepreneurs and students together to talk about their startups and products. Organized by the Wharton Entrepreneurship Club and PennApps, the February event featured keynote addresses from the cofounders of Center City business analytics startup RJMetrics and Kon Leong, founder of ZL Technologies, as well as “a series […]

Photo courtesy of Marissa Hu.
Photo courtesy of Marissa Hu.

Photos courtesy of Marissa Hu.

By Marissa Hu

Wharton’s first student-organized “Startup Unconference” got entrepreneurs and students together to talk about their startups and products.

Organized by the Wharton Entrepreneurship Club and PennApps, the February event featured keynote addresses from the cofounders of Center City business analytics startup RJMetrics and Kon Leong, founder of ZL Technologies, as well as “a series of interactive, 5 to 15 person workshops led by experienced entrepreneurs, VCs and professors to dig deeper on questions and problems faced by student entrepreneurs,” said co-organizer Marissa Hu.

“For example,” Hu said, “Apu Gupta and Nick Shiftan, cofounders of Curalate, gave first-hand insight into their decision to pivot from [their previous startup] Storably, how they discussed it with their institutional investors, and how they were able to prototype ten new ideas in a single month.”

Below, Hu lists three lessons learned from the event.

Matt Gershoff

Matt Gershoff, CEO of Conductrics, led a session on “Testing and Analytics for Entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs.”

  • Communication is important. Talk to your prospective clients every day to better understand their needs, said Robert Moore and Jake Stein, co-founders of RJMetrics.
  • Wait to take outside investment. Stein and Moore said they decided not to raise capital until they’d reached seven figures in revenue (read more about that here).
  • Bootstrapping can be a valuable experienceSteve Welch, cofounder and managing partner of Dreamit Ventures, talked about how he bootstrapped his first business and how he had to prove himself to get a bank loan.
Companies: Curalate / DreamIt Ventures / RJMetrics
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