Great interview with Vivek Ramaswamy in India Knowledge@Wharton. Ramaswamy founded StudentBusinesses.com while a student at Harvard and has since sold the website/proprietary software firm. Some great insights into entrepreneurship on campus and the opportunities for further increasing students entrepreneurial opportunities on campus.
Ramaswamy: I saw so much potential among the aspirations of the students who were [at Harvard]. I suspected [it would be the same] at universities across the country. These aspirations weren’t being served and harnessed.
India Knowledge@Wharton: Is there an example of something frustrating that happened or a specific point when you and Travis said, “We can do this better.” What was the spark that made it into something more?
Ramaswamy: We observed, for example, that there were a lot of people at Harvard who were idea-driven but didn’t have technical skills to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish. They were always looking among their own community for people who had technical skills to help them launch a new idea that they had.
India Knowledge@Wharton: The next Facebook?
Ramaswamy: Exactly. And the fact that Facebook was launched during my time at Harvard probably impacted other people’s aspirations. Students had these great ideas. They didn’t have the technical ability to do it themselves, but they knew what they wanted to accomplish and all they needed was to find the right persons, except that Harvard was filled with a bunch of similar people. However, right down the street you have Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has a higher concentration of people with world-class technical capabilities. Though separated by only two subway stops, this distance was enough of a barrier to limit the type of communication that should have been taking place. If that barrier existed within Cambridge among these two heavyweight institutions, one could only imagine the gulf at a national level.