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From Liberal Arts to Entrepreneurship: Colgate Grads Talk Innovation and Leadership

By Contributing Writer on March 5, 2019

Carin Rollins ’94 and John Marlow ’90 are two Colgate graduates who are rapidly becoming household names in biotech. Both were invited back to Colgate on February 11, 2019 to speak about their experiences as innovators and industry leaders. The event, “How Liberal Arts Grads are Driving Innovation”, was co-sponsored by Career Services, Thought Into Action, Colgate’s Biology department, Neuroscience program, and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Rollins is CEO and co-founder of Hinge Bio. Inc, a California-based biotechnology startup putting multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical innovations on the market. Marlow is co-founder and senior vice president of RingCentral, a cloud-based telecommunications company that boasts 4,500 employees and offices on four continents. Marlow also serves as legal director of Brainsonix, an ultrasound-based brain mapping system intended for faster and less invasive surgery and treatment.

RingCentral was among the first corporations to design wireless, centralized communication systems, intended to break away from the clunky, on-site phone boxes used by many corporations when the company was founded in 2003. Today, they’re the largest business communications provider in the world, and still growing rapidly as many businesses modernize their systems.

John Marlow ’90 (left) and Carin Rollins ’94 (right)

“Innovation, to me, is a way of thinking,” Marlow said. “We just replaced hardware with software, and that was a big thing.”

Rollins agreed. “You have to show that a prototype is working—that the market is pulling for your product,” Rollins said. “Otherwise you won’t go anywhere.”

Both Marlow and Rollins admitted that being an innovator and entrepreneur demands a tremendous amount of work—and some luck. Marlow used his own experience as evidence.

While seeking out funding for RingCentral in 2003, he was rejected by hundreds of investors during formal meetings. But he happened to run into a Class-A investor at a bar. That individual “instantly got it,” Marlow said, and agreed to fund the project. That support led to a second top-level firm investing as well. While it wouldn’t have been possible without a functional product, the amount of painful luck was, according to Marlow, “undeniable.”

Rollins also reflected on her experience at Colgate during the seminar. “The skills I learned in the liberal arts gave me the skills I needed to succeed,” Rollins said. “It’s how I am able to wear so many different hats as a CEO and entrepreneur. I wouldn’t be where I am without Colgate.”

Matthew Lee ’18 interns in software engineering

By Contributing Writer on January 9, 2018

Matthew Lee '18

At Fleunty, which is a company that builds chatbots and other AI related platforms, I improved and added features to the chatbot analytics program using Python. I was also introduced to Natural Language Processing and was able to gain a lot of insight through collaborating and learning from my supervisors and other engineers.

At Trippie, I was given the task to build the Android version of the app. For six weeks I was able to finish 2/3 of the features. I was responsible for planning the project outline and development in a fast, test-driven environment.

I’ve learned that I do want to study more after getting two or three years of work experience after Colgate. More specifically, my experience at Fluenty spiked my interest to learn more about AI and machine learning.

Jessica Friedberg ’16 Interns at Date My Wardrobe

By Contributing Writer on May 13, 2016

Jessica Freiberg '16 was a Software Engineering Intern for Date My Wardrobe

Jessica Freiberg ’16 was a Software Engineering Intern for Date My Wardrobe

This summer I worked as a Software Engineering Intern for Date My Wardrobe, a small startup located in Boston, Massachusetts. Date My Wardrobe is a fashion company that allows users to monetize their wardrobes by posting designer items to rent out to others in the area. This also allows users to then expand their own wardrobes by renting the posted items and effectively saving money. As the Engineering Intern, I was responsible for creating an app for the iOS platform that modeled the functions of the company’s already existing website. Therefore, my main responsibilities included designing the layout of the app, programming the functions of the app, as well as communicating daily with the rest of the team to update them on the progress and problems encountered. Read more