Viputheshwar Sitaraman, Co-Founder of KorkBoard
College: University of Arizona
Current Venture: KorkBoard
Current Year in College: Sophomore
One word that best describes your experience as an entrepreneur in college:
MCB 399H: Independent Study. Got course credit for roaming around Europe and doing a latitudinal study of biohacking spaces and indie labs.
At this point, it’s hard to choose one. Working on startup stuff is more engaging than school, any day.
Why bother with entrepreneurship?
I’m yet to find a more direct way of realizing ideas and giving them to the world. The day I do, I’ll be working on that.
Tell us about your venture, and where you are on it?
KorkBoard is a mobile app that offers a digital events bulletin of things happening around one’s college campus. Events can range from huge university-affiliated events to pick-up games of football or Ultimate Frisbee posted by individual users. The user interface is a feed (like Twitter or YikYak) and is community-moderated. We’ll be beta-testing within the first week of August and plan to launch at UA this fall.
Where’s your favorite place to do work?
Lying in the grass. I used to really like working in co-working spaces or in my own bed, but—apart from the challenge of laptop screen brightness—working outside is way more refreshing and sustainable.
What’s one way students can start today?
The startup mantra is “identify a problem, make a solution.” There’s no such a thing as a ‘startup idea,’ just a problem that needs to be solved.
What’s your best tip for other entrepreneurs in college?
Choose your team carefully. I found some of my earlier projects falling into the pit where I chose like-minded or talented people—and this works in the short-term. But in the long-run for ideas to grow and survive, I think we need colleagues who challenge us so we grow together and build a company culture. Almost half-a-year into Kork now, I can say with confidence that Jake and I have definitely have that kind of a workflow.
When did you found your company and with how many others?
Jake Rockland and I founded KorkBoard in early February 2015. We’ve been moving quickly to get to launch since then: we registered as an LLC that same month and were accepted to the Thryve Incubator Summer Cohort by Startup Tucson.
How do you manage your week?
Google Keep and Google Calendar. Otherwise, I’d forget everything and never sleep.
What’s the most important lesson you learned as an entrepreneur so far?
Iterate, then scale. I think it’s important—no matter how ambitious you are—to take manageable steps toward lofty goals, rather than trying to leap on the first try.
What resources do you recommend others take advantage of?
The Internet. From apps like Slack & Trello to articles on “How to File an LLC” and Stanford lectures from the likes of Peter Thiel, there’s a lot out there to be learned rapidly without spending hours in a classroom or incubator program.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I try not to think about it.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Elon Musk answer these same questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Avoid certainty…dance with your fears.” I read it in What to Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin, and he later reiterated it in a conversation, followed by “go make a ruckus.” I think we often romanticize the idea of entrepreneurship as having massive ups and downs, but there are time when it feels like you’re just rowing in and endless ocean. This is kind of a mantra I repeat to myself at those times.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
Personal Website: viputheshwar.com