How We Won First Place at HackSC March 11, 2014 | Ethan
Telling a Story, “The perfect pitch” February 20, 2014 | Richard
Making Cal Poly Pomona History… January 26, 2014 | Ethan
Why Entrepreneurs must have Financial Knowledge!... December 22, 2013 | Jacob
Building For The User October 28, 2013 | Ethan
Poly Founders: Undeniable Passion September 28, 2013 | Ethan
Startup Wednesdays are Back for February January 31, 2013 | Andrew
Falcon Recap November 19, 2012 | Andrew
Nov 7: Meet the Co-Founders of Travelstrings... October 23, 2012 | Andrew
On Wednesday night, October 24, we’ll be hosting Keith Gibson and Matthew Austin, the co-founders of Falcon for a night of stories, questions, and networking.
Falcon is a mobile app for for navigating without the use of street addresses. Users can list and save their favorite locations, as well as access other publically listed locations created by other users. Navigating is done through the Falcon app which works as a compass. Falcon recently gained traction by providing directions for the second and third TechZulu Tech Crawl along with use at Burning Man 2012. Over the summer they were a member of Startup UCLA.
Visit Falcon at thefalconapp.com for more information on their product.
Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Place: Building 163, Room 1029, Cal Poly Pomona
On October the 17th, we were lucky enough to host Tim Sae Koo and Eunice Noh of Hypemarks.
As student founders, Tim and Eunice had great insight into the life of a student entrepreneur. Tim originally created Hypemarks as a class project, eventually deciding to reach out to friends and work on his startup fulltime.
Both Tim and Eunice graduated early, but they chose two very different post-gradation routes. Eunice decided to take a corporate job in San Francisco, while Tim decided to crank out Hypemarks from his home. After three months, Eunice eventually joined the dark side and left her job to work on Hypemarks.
The team entered the Start Engine business accelerator from January to March 2012 receiving $20,000 to fund their company. After the three months of the program, they pitched Hypemarks to hundreds of investors at Start Engine’s Demo Day. In just a few minutes, they had to persuade venture capitalists and angel investors to believe in their company. Tim’s pitch paid off when he received an email from well respected investor and Idealab founder Bill Gross. After some negotiation, Hypemarks received funding to the tune of $350,000 for somewhere between 20-30% of their company. Tim was quick to note Idealab was investing not only in their idea, but also the team.
Pressure from both Tim and Eunice’s parents has been (and still is) relentless. Without finances to support the team, Idealab’s capital provided some important breathing room. Funds from Start Engine only gave Tim about $700 a month to pay for rent, bills, and expenses. While we didn’t ask their current earnings now, Tim and Eunice both agreed their parents have let off a bit since Hypemarks’ recent financial boost.
After joining the ranks of Idealab, the Hypemarks team hoped to see their site blow up with traffic. Instead they found Hypemarks growing more slowly than they had hoped. Not only was Hypemarks not gaining traction, it wasn’t making money. The team had to make a hard decision and eventually decided to pivot. The result was launched just an hour before our conversation: Tint.
While it’s too early to say whether or not the switch from Hypemarks to Tint will pay off, the initial signs seem positive. Tim was content with admitting Hypemarks was his failure; in fact he encouraged the labeling. He stressed the need for entrepreneurs to fail and to fail fast. Entrepreneurs need to be creating, testing, and moving all the time. Resisting failure only postpones any future time spent on the right idea.
Close to a year in the making, Poly Founders is alive.
Started in January of 2012, Poly Founders was created as a way to get like minded students in the same room. So many other organizations did a good job of connecting students of a specific major, but few aimed to connect the university as a whole. Only the largest organizations had connections to other local universities, and even fewer connected with alumni. It became our goal to change that; it still is today.
The movement all starts through examples. Every Wednesday night we are hosting startups, entrepreneurs, and professionals who will tell us not only about their successes, but their failures. Members are welcome to ask questions, brainstorm, and get feedback. You might even meet your future co-founder. Further into the year we plan to engage our members through hackathons and business plan competitions to put our practice into place.
Help us connect entrepreneurs of all ages, backgrounds, and skills together. We are looking for motivated individuals with a knack for making, prototyping, testing, and problem solving. Let’s change the mindset, shift the paradigm, and shape the culture.
This is Poly Founders, and it’s only just begun.