This blog is written by Kerry Houston ’16.
On Tuesday, June 16, the Colgate Entrepreneur Network hosted “Fundraising 101,” a panel and interactive discussion led by distinguished Colgate alumni with experience in building their own businesses, marketing their brands, fundraising, and team-building. Hosted by Chairman of The Match Group, Greg Blatt ’90, the panel took place at IAC Headquarters in Chelsea. Moderated by Senior Editor at Forbes, Steven Bertoni ’02, the panel consisted of:
Alexandra Thompson ’02, Founder and CEO of Persifor LLC,
Nick Kenner ’03, Founder and CEO of Just Salad,
Tim O’Neill ’78, Managing Partner at Golden Seeds Fund 2 L.P.,
Katie Nadler ’06, Director of Strategy and Business Operations at GLAMSQUAD,
and Ryan G. Smith ’13, Founder and President of Trupoly.
Discussion included a variety of topics pertaining to entrepreneurship and the risks that are inherent in starting a business. Following the panel discussion, three Colgate alumni were invited to present their business models to the audience. Barbara Patrick ’92 presented her brand “Bitty Birdie LLC,” an underwear line designed specifically for young women. Former college roommates and student-athletes, Chris Brown ’05 and Keith Williams ’05 then introduced “9D Sports,” their sports training company that is a product of their mutual love for athletics and desire to encourage proper training techniques. As a rising senior interested in sales, marketing, and advertising, I was especially interested in learning about how these entrepreneurs harnessed their passions to create impactful companies which they are trying to expand to larger markets.
Before this event, I was well aware of the many challenges aspiring entrepreneurs face in today’s dynamic market where start-ups are increasingly prone to failure. However, the panel discussion and the questions posed by alumni did an excellent job of highlighting the many ways in which you can utilize your liberal arts education and critical thinking and analytical skills to approach such challenges from innovative perspectives. A networking reception followed the presentations, allowing over 200 Colgate alumni and students to share ideas, make connections, and engage with current students interested in entrepreneurship. It was an incredible experience to speak with a variety of Colgate alumni and learn how their time at Colgate, combined with real world experience, has been an instrumental factor in their success. Connecting with such alumni has not only cemented my firm belief in the strength of the Colgate alumni network, and its commitment to help launch the careers of new graduates, but has also inspired me to pursue employment opportunities at emerging and nontraditional companies.