Hi all! Join us as we keep up with co-ops, explore the different aspects of entrepreneurship, get to know the students who love the Sherman Center and what this space means to them. We would love to hear back from our readers. Let us know what the Sherman Center means to you!
Andrew Purdy (on left) and co-op partner Justin Lin (on right) disassemble the Venture backpack.
Where are you co-oping currently and what’s your position?
“I’m co-oping through the Sherman Center, working on Venture Backpacks.”What is your favorite restaurant around Boston?
“Gaslight in the South End. Everything on their menu is fantastic and they may have the best bread I’ve ever had.”What work have you done on your venture before coming to the Sherman Center co-op?
“A lot! We started working on Venture pretty seriously last summer, and conducted tons of customer interviews to understand every detail of someone’s commute and the problems that arise with the bags they bring. We also did extensive competitive research to understand the landscape we are trying to enter. This research informed our feature set, competitive positioning, brand story, and a lot more. We got most of our industrial design finished before starting co-op, though we’ve made some iterations since then.”What do you plan to achieve during your 6 months in this co-op?
“We want to have a finished product, and lay the foundation for a successful launch on Kickstarter. The product development process is a long and iterative process, and we’re learning more each day about the complexities that come with sourcing and designing a backpack from scratch. If we can walk out of this co-op with a product that’s ready for mass production and the digital assets that we need to support our launch, we’ll be in a really good place.”
Have you had to overcome any obstacles during your co-op this far?
“Starting a company full-time is very different from working on a side project, and it didn’t take long for me to realize this. I’ve had to adjust to working on this business as my singular focus, and while I wouldn’t say that in itself is an obstacle, you have to learn how to “turn it off” every once in a while to detach a little bit. There’s always so much to do, and it can be overwhelming to prioritize and manage the things that need to get done. That said, that adjustment has been an extraordinary learning experience, and getting to come in and work on something I’m passionate about every day is incredibly fun and doesn’t feel like work at all.”What does the Sherman Center mean to you and how did you find out about it?
“The Sherman Center is a hotbed for intelligent, entrepreneurially-minded people, which makes it super interesting to come in every day. The community here is extremely supportive and welcoming, and I’ve loved getting to know everyone that uses the space. I found out about it through some close friends who have been involved with Generate, and I couldn’t be happier to share the space with so many awesome people.”Any advice for those about to go on co-op in the spring?
“Be a sponge. Figure out the things that you want to learn or gain from the experience (technical skills, connections, how an industry works, etc) and be relentless in pursuing opportunities to learn about and experience them. Whether its setting up meetings with interesting people in the office or taking initiative to work on a value-adding side project, try to steer your experience in the direction you want it to go, and you’ll get more out of it.”
How did you come up with your idea?
“I came up with the idea for MentorMatch when I was a junior in high school. College applications were right around the corner, but I had no idea what to major in or where to apply. I reached out to one of my teachers with my concerns and he connected me with some accomplished high school alumni in his network from whom I could ask questions and get a feel for where I wanted to apply and what I wanted to study. Through this experience, though, I discovered the resourcefulness of my high school’s untapped alumni network, and realized that many other public high schools nationwide were experiencing the same thing.”What was the process like?
“After discovering the need for an extended mentorship program reaching from high school students to alumni, I taught myself how to build web platforms on an app called bubble.io and began building my MVP (minimum viable product) the summer going into my senior year. That fall, I introduced MentorMatch to my high school and received overwhelmingly good feedback about it, with over 150 students signing up just from me showing them the website and word of mouth. From there, I continued to make improvements to MentorMatch during my senior year, and began the Husky Startup Challenge in the fall. Post-HSC, I went back to my high school and got all of the guidance counselors registered as administrators on MentorMatch, and shared my ideas with principals of neighboring schools.”
What road blocks (if any) did you run into?
“My biggest roadblock has been time. Pursuing a start-up as an engineering student has definitely been a challenge in terms of balancing studying with doing what I love. I’m hoping to expand my team soon, though, which will significantly help ease up some of my time from the app development portion of MentorMatch so that I can focus on customer relations.”What are you doing now?
“Now, I’m currently a client of Generate, where I plan to have a more polished second prototype rolled out. I’m also continuing to work on my bubble.io MVP and plan to have four more local high schools registered on it by the springtime.”How did you hear about the Husky Startup Challenge?
“I heard about the HSC through a friend who met Chris Barry, one of the directors at the time. He was so enthusiastic about it, and it sounded like something that would be right up my alley.”What does the Sherman Center mean to you?
“I’m a client of Generate this semester, and am really looking forward to working with my team of engineers and designers! All of the engineers in Generate seem driven and career-oriented and I’m excited to get to know them, as well as discover other opportunities that the Sherman Center has to offer.”
In the first episode of season 2, we discuss what it means to be a “young entrepreneur” with current co-op students Steve, Andrew, Justin, and Keith. This season is hosted by students Kendall Meenan and Izzy Stepanek. Check back every two weeks for a new episode. Thank you to all our listeners and everyone who helped produce this podcast!
! Poll Update !
There was an overwhelming vote from podcast listeners to be called “Shermits”.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated!
👀 Sherman Center events to keep an eye out 👀for this month!
Interested in Sherman Center funding and resources to launch your very own venture? Join us for a panel discussion featuring some of our current co-ops, and enjoy Georgetown Cupcakes! Sign up using this link!
💡What’s going on around Boston, the Sherm, 💡
and Northeastern this week?
Northeastern: Husky Startup Challenge
January 25th, 2020 12- 2:00 PM
📍NU Entrepreneurs Club, 012 Hayden Hall RSVPBoston: Founders Live Boston – Tech and Startup Pitch Event!
January 30th, 2020 6:00 PM / CIC
📍50 Milk Street, 02109 Boston (20th floor)
Fee: $10 (reserve ticket here)Boston Startup Founders Social
January 29th, 2020 5:30 PM
📍Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
115 Stuart Street, 02116 Boston
Fee: Free (register here)
The Sherm: Team Leadership Step-by-Step
Every Friday @ 1:00 PM
📍Sherman Conference Room, 008C Hayden HallVenture Coaching: Product/Market Consulting
January 27th, 2020 3:30 PM
📍Sherman Conference Room, 008C Hayden Hall
Appointment Only! Contact e.buff to reserve your spot.Venture Coaching: Product Development
January 28th, 2020 12:00 PM
📍Sherman Maker Space, 010 Hayden Hall
Appointment Only! Contact j.hutchins to reserve your spot.Sign up for workshops here.
🔖 What are we reading this week 🔖
Following up with MLK Day earlier this week, check out how Martin Luther King Jr. continues to inspire all, including entrepreneurs!
In this article, previous Google Doodles celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. are revisited. Check out what the artists had to say about their work and what we can all learn from from King’s legacy.
Although he was not an entrepreneur himself, his journey is an inspiration for many entrepreneurs. He identified a problem, came up with a unique, creative solution, took a chance, defied convention and made a difference.