I'm a Software Engineering student, have lots of ideas and read technology/startup blogs like a maniac. I've been developing web applications and websites for many years and was looking forward to work on a SaaS startup. The biggest problems I am facing at the moment is balancing my school work load and finding a cofounder. Did anyone here try/succeeded in starting a business while at school? Do you have any advice for me?
Personally, I believe founding a startup while in school is the perfect time to start a new venture. There are many reasons for this:
In effect, you got nothing to lose at this point.
Turn off the TV, Video games, Facebook, etc. and go for it! :-)
(And good luck!)
....ah...fond memories of the easy days back in school....but I digress.
I started my first company right at the tail-end of my undergrad program (computer science) and my third company during my time in grad school. I'm a big fan of kicking things off while in school.
In terms of finding a co-founder, that's never easy -- but it's much easier to do when you're around so many other smart people. So, you should allocate some time to it as it's a rare opportunity to find like-minded individuals that you might want to partner with.
Having said that, I'm also a big fan of cranking code and building a product too.
That's always the entrepreneurial dilemma. Too much to do and too little time.
I am currently at the end to a double major in marketing & entrepreneurship. I'm on my third startup idea. My first business product was a complete failure but I learned more in a few months then I had learned in a entire year. My second startup xs650 chopper is a success for what I intended it to be; a experiment in building a site that generates income. I believe starting a small business while in school is smart because it gives you real world experience to test the theory. A resource that I've been devouring and which led me here is the work Andrew Warner is doing at mixergy.com I believe I've listen to almost all of his work. If you're just doing school I don't think having a side business would be too much to handle. However, having a job going to school and trying to start a business is a little ambitious:)
I would try recruiting a co-founder in the business school at the university you are attending. Many business schools have business plan competitions where the MBA students are either developing or looking to develop a business plan and would be looking for a technical partner.
Failing that, the business school should have counseling services available to help you in your search for a partner.
I started a business at the end of high school and it kept me going all throughout college. When I finished my degree in Business Administration with an Entrepreneurial concentration, I came out that much stronger. I'd definitely say go for it. My background is in technology, I'd love to talk with you more and share my two cents with you if you'd like. Feel free to contact me via e-mail (or through my site, I'm not sure if you see e-mails on here). Good luck!
go ahead without a co-founder. It's the rule but there's no stopping you from being an exception. popupchinese.com is a one-person startup based in Beijing if you need a Q.E.D.
You should talk to one of your professors. You sound like you could receive some partial credit for developing further any one of the ideas you have. Credit could come from the entrepreneurship angle, or the software development angle. Either way, it would help you lower your work load.
For finding co-founders, that's what FairSoftware (my current startup) is trying to help you find. Let us know how it works out for you.
I'd go for it. I teach Entrepreneurship at University and we talked about this in tutorials today!
I encourage all my students to start businesses during their study for a few reasons:
Good for you. I'd suggest keep trying both or do whatever captures your imagination and dreams the most. Many schools will allow you to defer for some time period. Your parents will probably be fairly upset if you drop out of school...
If you get a chance to listen to podcasts, check out Stanford's entrepreneurial thought leaders series. There are some fantastic ones - and quite a few of them talk about startups while in school.
There is one presentation in particular from an ex-Stanford student who is a proponent of leaving school and starting a company. (though he also says graduating is a fine choice as well.) He dropped out to start a company and is worth about a half billion USD right now. (at least at the time of the podcast) A few of the other co-founders were able to finish school
See the following links:
http://www.stanford.edu/group/edcorner/uploads/podcast/EducatorsCorner.xml http://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts.html?sess=2256f7389b79e5bd61c9e78bebd9736d Let us know how the progress goes.
I started my website 2 semesters before I graduated. At the time I had a part time job and was a full-time student (15-17 hours). I would put in a couple hours a week(maybe 5-8) and had a working version in half a semester without many time problems.
I did it without a co-founder and I am glad I did because most my buddies that I graduated with are gone to different city's and half other full time development jobs, so coordinating stuff with them would have been tough.
Also when your in college you are still in that mentality that pulling a late night is no problem. Which helped sometimes when the ball was really rolling.
So go and pick the 1 project you want to do the most and get started. The sooner the better!
While others might have had successful startups during school, just be careful. You might get too excited about the startup it might affect your grades. It might also make you drop out of school if it gets successful but successful for a short time before it dies for uncontrollable reasons and you find yourself out of work and out of school and a degree.
It works for some people and it doesn't for others. Decide carefully.