Student start-ups look to DreamIt
The company offers $5,000 to every new start-up team and an extra $5,000 per member
September 13, 2011, 10:12 pm · Updated September 15, 2011, 12:51 am·
In today’s race to be the next Google, some former Penn students are looking to Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures to accelerate their dreams toward reality.
As entrepreneurs themselves, the founding DreamIt team members “were looking for a way to give back” by providing the resources they wished they had when starting their own businesses, explained managing partner Kerry Rupp.
As an “accelerator,” DreamIt provides the support to bring the participating companies to “their next market milestone in a shorter period of time,” Rupp said.
The company offers $5,000 to every new start-up they team up with, as well as an extra $5,000 per member. Additionally, DreamIt eliminates many of the hurdles that keep professionals from working on the “core” of their business by supplying mentors, legal advice, accounting advice and capital, among other things.
Just as DreamIt allows start-ups to focus on forward motion without getting caught up in the nuisance of finding lawyers, for instance, Cloudmine provides hosting for the back-ends of mobile applications, allowing developers to focus fully on their apps rather than on maintenance, explained Cloudmine engineer Marc Weil.
Weil and partner Brendan McCorkle — a Wharton and Engineering graduate — were attracted to DreamIt because, though they believe that they are a “capable team,” they wanted an “independent third party stamp of approval” to rationalize “why any [customer] would trust us.”
Elect Next, founded by former Penn MBA student Keya Dannenbaum and former PhD candidate in classics Paul Jungwirth, resembles the “e-harmony for politics,” a site that helps you find the politicians who share your values and interests.
Though Elect Next currently holds the data to match you to your most suited choice of 2012 presidential candidate, Tannenbaum explained that in the future, Elect Next hopes to help customers make appropriate voting choices at the state and local levels, where they are less likely to be familiar with the candidates.
She found that as voters get to this part of the ballot, they tend to “default” by voting along party lines or skipping the vote altogether, rather than making an educated decision.
Weil has found that the energy and drive in the DreamIt working environment are “contagious,” compared to the “nomadic” coffeeshop working spaces Cloudmine occupied previously. The Cloudmine team has found “the commitment from knowledgeable people in the start-up area” inspiring, and are pleased to be surrounded by “mentors” as well as “potential customers.”
Dannenbaum found that the “acceleration that I see happening is vastly beyond what I [predicted]” before enrolling in the DreamIt program.
Both companies find that they are now working at hyper-speed thanks to DreamIt’s support, and Rupp expects to see “great things from them.”