Four more LAUNCH alumni returned on April 3rd to speak to members of the current LAUNCH cohort about their experiences and offer advice for their entrepreneurial journey. Karen Yee Taylor from onederful, David Rodriguez from Kiwi Campus, Orion Parrott from Lendsnap, and Austin Walker from Innovein answered questions about their own experiences in LAUNCH and their unique paths after leaving LAUNCH.
One focus of the panel was on understanding investors and what they want. Taylor, CEO of onederful, a software company with an API for dental insurance, emphasized the importance of using investors as connections, to look at who they’re involved with and leverage that to your advantage. She used the personal example of wanting to reach out to quip, a relatively popular electric toothbrush startup, and how she was able to immediately speak to the CEO through her investors.
David Rodriguez, Head of Business Development at Kiwi Campus, the startup that brought Kiwibots to campus also spoke about his own experiences working with a startup that relies very heavily on community support and student attention.
“We are building a logistic platform to deliver goods in a space, in a college space,” Rodriguez said. “In the end, we don’t want to be the people that execute it, we want to be the ones who made it possible in the first place and then told the community to take it and use it to some benefit.”
Rodriguez also explained facing challenges at Kiwi Campus and the key to dealing with a hectic startup environment. “I would say that in the end, mental toughness is number one. You need to be super adaptable, you need to be able to understand change and embrace change, and see that things are fragile and you really need to work a lot and put your mind and spirit into it.”
“You have to evaluate everything you do and understand how you bring your core value to your product at all times. It’s easy to get distracted… when you have the minimum quantity of success, many distractions will come to you. Sometimes they’re conferences, sometimes they’re calls with people, you need to focus on what’s important. If you let yourself go on things that are not important, you will lose momentum for many things, and those distractions will not be there for you when you’re not hot,” Rodriguez said.