How To Get Tech Work Done, a Guide for the Non-Tech Founder

By Isaac Sukin, W’14, Founding Member, Dorm Room Fund Philly Investment Team

You’ve got a great idea, you’ve validated the market—but you don’t have the technical skill to build it yourself. What do you do? As a programmer myself and a member of Dorm Room Fund, one of the first venture capital funds run by students, for students, I get asked about this a lot. The advice that I give depends on how much you need done—and how much you’re willing to pay.

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Balancing School & Startups

By Will Fry, Huntsman Program Class of 2017, Dorm Room Fund partner

A question that often plagues student-entrepreneurs is how to balance working on startups and performing well in school. With tuition and fees priced at the upper side of $60,000/year, you want to have the peace of mind that you’re doing the best with the resources you’ve been provided (and paid for!) at school.

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The Good Side of Having No Career Plan to Follow

By Lynne Kielhorn WG’94, co-founder of NovaKera and NanoDrop Technologies

Most people probably will tell you that high achievers must set an aggressive goal, develop a smart plan and work hard putting that plan into action.  And indeed that is how many entrepreneurs find success.  However, there are others, like me, who are quite content to be drawn toward one challenge after another without a specific career plan or path in mind.  For us, life thrills do not come from meeting big career milestones, but rather from the excitement of learning something new and never knowing what will come next.  My new hypothesis is that having this outlook attracts a disproportionate share of opportunities.  And when it comes right down to it, I’m not sure there is anything more valuable in the entrepreneurial world than great opportunities.  This is my career story, still without a plan.

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Serving It Up in the Sharing Economy

By Jeff Henretig WG’09, Founder of East Fourth Partners

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on the Wharton Magazine blog.

During a recent dinner, my mom told me she thinks I’m going through a “phase of creative ferment.” What’s this? A self-discovery process where you’re exploring ideas and “letting something good bubble up,” she said. In the past 18 months I’ve worked with one of the most creative people in business and her most creative retail store, an MIT roboticist and her robotic furniture company, an award-winning retail pop-up company, and a number of other incredible entrepreneurs and artists. In that time I’ve also researched, analyzed, tested and written business plans for three or four different business ideas and brainstormed countless others. If this life moment isn’t a “creative ferment,” then I don’t know what is. Like champagne fermenting from fresh pressed grape juice, there are some good things bubbling up.

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One of Jeff’s concoctions: “Love and Happiness,” which includes blueberry, cucumber, ginger, lime juice, cinnamon-infused agave and gin.

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Advice to Graduating Entrepreneurs

By Thanh Pham C’14, founder of fashion startup Jean & Isola

For many of us student entrepreneurs, graduation marks an exciting time—the finish line of academia and the beginning of a full-time career in entrepreneurship. Without the time limitations of academic commitments and physical limitations of university, postgraduate life offers the freedom to fully and freely invest our time.

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Honoring Excellence at the SBDC

By Erin McGowan, Associate Director, Wharton Small Business Development Center

The Wharton Small Business Development Center celebrated its annual recognition and leadership event on April 24.  Over 70 guests gathered to recognize the accomplishments in 2013-14 of Wharton SBDC’s small business clients, Wharton MBA and Undergraduate consultants, professional advisors, and many organizational partners and friends – programs and accomplishments that are a mainstay of Philadelphia’s small business community.

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Leslie Mitts, Managing Practice Leader of the Wharton Small Business Development Center, and Katlyn Grasso W’15, founder of GenHERation.

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Single-State Crowdfunding—a Quicker and Cheaper Alternative

By Tom Sharbaugh, partner, and Randy Barr W’10, associate, in the Business & Finance Practice Group of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

The new crowdfunding provisions in the “JOBS Act of 2012” have received a lot of attention.  The Act exempts certain crowdfundings from the registration requirements of the federal securities laws (the Federal CF Exemption), and the SEC proposed regulations in October 2013 to implement the exemption (the Proposed CF Regulations).  The SEC received numerous comments related to the significant costs imposed by the proposed requirements, and the Federal CF Exemption will not be effective until the SEC issues its final regulations.  However, many states have found a way to go ahead with crowdfunding—by adopting their own intrastate crowdfunding exemptions.

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How to Approach VCs as a First-Time Entrepreneur

By David Klein, Wharton MBA alumnus, co-founder of CommonBond

When people ask me, “When is the right time to talk to VCs?” my answer is, “Yesterday.” Why? Because many entrepreneurs – especially first time entrepreneurs – never really feel “ready” to talk to VCs. “Everything has to be perfect… Results aren’t good enough yet… All ducks must be in a row.” Right? Wrong.

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CommonBond’s first Wharton borrowers.

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Funniest Moments from the Wharton BPC

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog.

The Wharton Business Plan Competition (BPC), in all its 15 years, has hardly been merely a ha-ha affair. Among the first and best in academia, the competition spans two semesters every year, during which time students strive through multiple grueling rounds to reach the Finals and their chance to be number 1 startup on campus. It’s a legitimate opportunity to earn prize money and recognition that could help propel a startup closer to sustainability and success.

Co-chairs of the Wharton Business Plan Competition Committee, first-year MBAs Manasa Tanuku and Johannes Quodt, present during the Finals closing reception. Photo credits: Alyssa Cwanger, C’04, CGS’06.

Co-chairs of the Wharton Business Plan Competition Committee, first-year MBAs Manasa Tanuku and Johannes Quodt, present during the Finals closing reception. Photo credits: Alyssa Cwanger, C’04, CGS’06.

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Burnt Out? Sell it All and Embark on a Careercation

By David Niu, Wharton alumnus, serial entrepreneur and author of Careercation

book cover

“You’re CRAZY!”

I was getting used to hearing that when I told family and friends that I was selling everything I owned and buying one way tickets to New Zealand to travel around the world with my wife and 10-month-old daughter.

After being a serial entrepreneur for over a decade (I took a leave of absence from Wharton in 2000 to start my first startup with a classmate), I was flat burnt out. Continue reading 

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