6 Ingredients for Business Staying Power

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog

By Matthew Brodsky, Editor, Wharton Magazine

Staying power. That’s the key phrase for entrepreneurs. Unicorns and deca-unicorns may be what wide-eyed students, business editors and investors like to hear about. Staying power, however, is the process by which most startups become viable, long-term businesses. Ask Victoria Taylor WG’86 about her staying power and her company’s 18-year trajectory.

“It’s been brutal,” she will tell you.

The brining blend that started a trend.
The brining blend that started a trend.

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Tragedy Averted, Business Plan Born

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog

By Matthew Brodsky, Editor, Wharton Magazine

The entrepreneurial lightbulb went off for Kim Gorsuch WG’96, unfortunately, during a moment of fear and panic. About three years ago, her father—“one of those people who is never ill”—fell ill. It was a case of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart brought on by viral infection that can cause your internal organs to fail overnight.

Weeva book.
Weeva book.

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Walk Before You Launch: Starting a Company While Disabled

By Tim Dugan C’14, Co-founder of Numo

Four years ago, I was wheeled out of Penn’s hospital, my knee the size of a melon.  I had been cut open by orthopedic surgeons, and they had removed sharp bone growths from inside my tendons. I went through this process again and again, but the bone growths returned again and again, until I decided more surgery just made me worse. Since that day, I have been unable to walk more than a block or two.

The Numo team.
The Numo team.

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An Intern In EdTech

By Kunal Nayyar WG’16, Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

I’m two weeks into my grand experiment for the summer: an internship at Zaption, a seed-funded education technology (edtech) startup that’s making video learning interactive. The goal of this experiment, like that of most internships, is to learn about a new type of work and figure out how I like it. The experiment isn’t particularly well-designed, in that so many variables have changed relative to my previous job—but so far it’s been illuminating and fun in a variety of ways.

This is what working at a startup looks like: Kunal Nayyar WG'16, at his standing desk at Zaption.
This is what working at a startup looks like: Kunal Nayyar WG’16 at Zaption.

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A Walt Disney for the New Media Age?

By Jason Choi W’17

One of the benefits of being a member of the Penn community is the accessibility to its alumni base. I reached out to Bing Chen C‘09, Co-founder of Victorious, via email after stumbling upon his story in the Daily Pennsylvanian last year. Through our conversations on phone, via email and in person, I have pinpointed several key insights that are of paramount importance to success as a young entrepreneur. Here’s what I learned about Bing—and through him, entrepreneurship.

Earlier last month, a mobile application based on a single Hawaiian took the new media world by storm.

Victorious in action.
The TeeHee App.

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What Do Startups Look For When Hiring?

By Karthik Sridharan W’07/ENG’07, Co-founder and CEO of Kinnek

“What do startups look for when hiring?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time, and unfortunately, there’s no simple, all-encompassing answer. It’s of course difficult to generalize across startups in different sectors and sub-sectors, and every team has their own preferences as to how they want to build their organization and culture. However, I think a very important thing to understand is how the hiring needs of a startup vary tremendously according to what lifecycle stage the company is in.

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The 5 Heroes of the Entrepreneurial Journey

By Sara Haq W’06, Founder and Principal of SH International

The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely, and it is certainly beset with challenges. But as any quest, the path toward founding a company will include heroes—people who step in and aid you at just the moment when you need them most.

In this post I’ll tell you a little about my own entrepreneurial journey thus far, and describe the 5 hero archetypes I’ve met, and how they helped me along the way. It’s a little bit of a public “thank you,” and also, I hope, an inspiration to those of you at the beginning, or a low point, of your entrepreneurial quest. You will meet heroes along the way. Keep an eye out for them.

#entrePENNeur sm Read more The 5 Heroes of the Entrepreneurial Journey

Why I Went Back

Michael Taormina WG’15, Co-founder of CommonBond

Last Sunday, I graduated as a member of the MBA Class of 2015. Sure, it took me four years to graduate from the two-year program…but it was for good reason and certainly worth the wait. Originally a member of the Class of 2013, I took a leave of absence in 2012 to focus full-time on CommonBond, a marketplace lending platform for student loans that I co-founded in fall 2011 during my first semester at Wharton.

Mike Taormina WG'15 with his fiancee Sarah at Commencement.
Michael Taormina WG’15 with his fiancee Sarah at Commencement.

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An MBA on Launch Day

By Nimish Shukla WG’15/G’15, Co-founder of Abaris

For me, becoming an entrepreneur has been an exciting (albeit somewhat unexpected) journey. This isn’t where I thought my MBA would take me, but here I am, working with a team of amazing Penn students—Matt Carey C’07/WG’15 and Adam Colombo ENG’14/W’14—to build a company. Since first meeting in late 2013, we’ve put in months of building, testing and iterating, and now we are excited to announce the launch of Abaris.

Abaris team sm
The Abaris team (L to R): Matt Carey C’07/WG’15, Adam Colombo ENG’14/W’14, and Nimish Shukla WG’15/G’15.

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