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“I found it really inspiring to be around a lot of other young people that wanted to do something meaningful and impactful.” - Mark Chung

(click to tweet)

Many Universities around the country support innovation and technology development. There’s groups dedicated to seeing entrepreneurs on campus move forward with their projects, and major companies have taken notice to what students are doing. Everyone knows it’s practically impossible to start up your own company while being a full time student.

What’s exactly why major companies like Dorm Room Fund and Verizon Ventures has begun partnership programs where they find and fund the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Welcome to Verizon Ventures! Today, we discuss on campus innovation and the different approaches companies take to seek out new talent and products in development.

Download this episode today to hear from top experts and leaders who are searching for new talent, and hear from entrepreneurs who went through these types of programs.

Our guests include:

  • Lemu Coker, who is the partnerships lead on the open invitation team at Verizon. He works with campuses to bring in talent, product, and insights into verizon.
  • Mark Chung, the CEO of Verdigris Technologies. Verdigris Technologies makes the world’s most intelligent energy monitoring systems for high end commercial building.
  • Rei Wang, the Director of Dorm Room Fund, which is dedicated to funding student entrepreneurs.
“We believe there is a LOT of innovation happening on campuses today.”

(click to tweet)

  • Rei explains that the Dorm Room Fund started in 2012 to help full time students be able to start their own business while staying in school.
    • They recruit and trains selected students in each region they are active and let the students make investment decisions.
    • Students meet with founders, and make the pitch.
    • They invest in all kinds of products, not just mobile or tech.
  • Mark discusses how working with startups at Stanford was very inspirings, surrounded by other young people who really wanted to do something meaningful and impactful.
    • Since the beginning, standing for climate change and something really impactful stood as a unifying piece for the company.
    • Evolving into a company means more grounded reality outside of the company’s mission
  • You have to learn to scale what you build when making a transition to a profitable company.
  • Verizon looks for students who have an entrepreneurial drive, but may not be ready to step out into the world and start their own business.
    • They look for students who can help build out current products and what products should come next.
  • Verizon has a concept studio, where they go bring in ten students with various skills. They give them a challenge to overcome and a six month deadline.
    • At the end of 6 months they may be offered a job, or the chance to continue on that project as a startup.
    • It’s basically a six month full time on boarding position.
  • Verizon is willing to spend money to invest in projects, which can spin out into their own companies with Verizon as an investor.
    • They want right to use the product, but don’t require exclusive rights to a product.
  • Verizon engages with over 50 schools all over.
  • Most of the investments Verizon Ventures makes are very young companies that already have a product ready to go.
  • Both teams and individuals are supported by Verizon Ventures.
“Most people who think of university founders think of consumer mobile apps, but that’s actually not the case.” -Rei Wang

(click to tweet)

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