Hello Gauchos! As part of a busy May full of networking opportunities, Career Services was pleased to welcome 3 successful entrepreneurs, graduates from established start-up accelerator Y-Combinator, to speak on their respective journeys in the start-up world.
At our Y-Combinator Discussion and Networking Event, students from all majors and all years were present—the common thread being a serious interest in entrepreneurship and start-up challenges. Based on outreach done to increase UCSB’s exposure to the Silicon Valley start-up culture, Career Services and the TMP program teamed up to bring 3 successful start-up Founders to campus to expose students to the thrills, challenges and hardships of starting or working in a start-up. Each of the Founders has a relationship with Y Combinator, one of the most well-known incubators in the bay area, and Y Combinator has supported them throughout much of their entrepreneurial experience.
Gaucho Cameron Yarbrough, Founder of Torch Leadership Labs (Torch.io), was instrumental in the make-up of the panel and is outspoken about his desire to help UCSB students enter this market. Cameron expressed his willingness to help out any Gauchos who are looking for guidance in the entrepreneurial space, so feel free to reach out to him!
In addition to Cameron, Lauren Schulte, Founder of The Flex Company (medical devices/feminine care) and Panpan Wang, Co-Founder and Board member of the Flex Company as well as a Venture Capitalist, rounded out the panel. The program started with an overview of the Founders’ career progress and the steps that got them where they are today, a review of what they are currently working on, and an important review of success factors entrepreneurs need to be keenly aware of, including understanding markets (size, accessibility, interest), product design and creating/producing a product that will be in demand, and the challenges of finding capital. The Founders were then divided up and students rotated between each of them for small group discussions and Q&A
Cameron Yarbrough, cofounder and CEO at Torch Leadership Labs (https://torch.io/), is a Gaucho with a goal! He has created an executive coaching marketplace that leverages principles of psychology and management training to help managers become better leaders. He combines his 15+ years owning and operating companies with 10 years of training and working in the field of psychology. While working at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and running a private psychology practice, he supervised a pilot executive coaching program at Y Combinator and assisted executives with the leadership challenges of scaling successful teams.
After more than a decade into her marketing career, Lauren Schulte was tired of getting infections from tampons. She founded The Flex Company to solve her own problem (https://flexfits.com/). She raised over $6M in venture capital to manufacture and sell menstrual discs, the most innovative breakthrough in period products since 1930. The Flex Company grossed $4M in sales in its first year with 12 employees. Lauren considers herself a social entrepreneur and has been featured in TechCrunch, The New Yorker, WIRED, The Washington Post and NPR. She earned a B.B.A. in Marketing from Georgia State University. Follow Lauren on Instagram @laurenschulte and Twitter @lmschulte.
Panpan Wang is cofounder at The Flex Company (flexfits.com). Prior to The Flex Company, Panpan was a venture capitalist with Fosun Kinzon Capital, a $300mm cross-border early stage fund where he led the digital health practice. He joined Kinzon Capital after building the business development and sales teams at Jiff, which was recently acquired by Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT). The first company that Panpan founded after his time at Haas was CareAnywhere, a medical tourism marketplace, which crashed and burned from a very low altitude. Panpan is dedicated to empowerment of at-risk youth through arts education and is currently a film, photography, and storytelling mentor at Venice Arts (venicearts.org).