Dialogue with Amit Gal-Or: Only A Breath from A Dream to A Start-up
This is an era of information explosion. This is an era for dream and action. This is an era for ideas and opportunities. This era pushes many talented and passionate youth onto the path of start-up. This path is promising but rocky. Along with the big dreams, there are plenty of trivial, fatal obstacles. How do they deal with them? Let’s take a closer look of the start-up journey of Amit Gal-or, a NYUSH year-2 student and the founder of WeStart.
L＝ Lin YE /New York University Shanghai
L | Hi, Amit. As the founder of WeStart, could you give us a brief introduction of WeStart?
A | WeStart is a mobile phone app that utilizes a systematic procedure for the creation and development of ideas, starting from NYU global system and then to other universities in the world. WeStart encourages young people to post their new ideas and offer a platform for students to look for suitable partners to make their dream come true!
L | It sounds hard but creative to utilize a systematic procedure for ideas. How did you come up with the idea of WeStart?
A | I think it is quite obvious that it is an ambitious statement. I think we have great opportunity here, in NYUSH. It is a new school, everything is new here, nothing has a traditionally fixed frame and we are greatly encouraged to explore and discover. NYUSH, as the newest part of the global system of NYU, also asks for a way to be better connected to the whole system.
For WeStart, our first target user groups are students in the NYU global system. We think it is a great opportunity to unite this global system and promote the global environment through passion-based entrepreneurship. Also, I hope that by WeStart, I will be able to share my creative mind, incorporate with others, and encourage and inspire more students to share their creative thoughts and build up a more creative environment for students.
I think it is a great opportunity, so why not take it? Why not do something that has a lot of meaning to it? We want to help young people to claim their dreams, and we want to offer a platform for young students to gain partners and resources they want and they need for their dreams. We want to help students succeed, as we believe in young people’s enthusiasm and the magic of teamwork. The combination of huge enthusiasm, higher ambition and group work always wins. So, by identifying these characteristics, I think we can try to combine them and add additional factors to allow more student entrepreneurs to come closer to their dream. I want WeStart to help build a more innovative environment and capture the opportunity I have been given.
L | After working on this idea for several month, have you met difficulties so far? And what’s the toughest problem for your team?
A | Of course, there are many difficulties. And it’s the characteristic of every startup. Turning an idea into reality is extremely tough, and that’s why we are making WeStart — to help any student become an entrepreneur. There are tons of difficulties, from choosing the right staff, choosing the right partners, choosing the right people to join you, people who have similar minds and we are still facing these difficulties. Every single day, we are looking for people to nail down our idea. We are having huge difficulties in the IT department, we are looking for excellent app developers. Even our investor, Infinity Groups, a large venture capital, also have difficulties to find the right IT guys. So we have difficulty in finding the right people, in striking a balance between studying and doing WeStart. But every time you hit a difficulty, you have to burst through it, you have to keep working to solve it. And you have to, this is what entrepreneurs do, because we are fighters. There is never an end for difficulties, you will always see new ones, but you just have to dig deeper and keep doing forward.
L | Although you have met a lot of difficulties, I believe you will definitely make your WeStart dream come true. What’s your expectation on WeStart?
A | My first expectation is to learn — to gain skills you would not gain by going to a class, by joining a club or doing an internship. It’s the skill of managing and leading, of creating something. So my first expectation is to grow as a person. My second expectation is to make it work, to make WeStart existed despite all the difficulties. And then make it change people’s life. Once improving it, hopefully, it will become popular enough so that enough people will use it and create something. Even if only one or two successful project come up, that’s great. Because we have established a business, we have helped other students’ life. Personally, right now, it is not about making money at all, it is about improving a community and it is about learning for myself. If there’s anything more I want to say, that is, to encourage students to go with your own ideas, to take it forward. There are great opportunities for all for us, it is a great time, we are young, enthusiastic and creative, so why not?
L | You mentioned you want to be a successful student entrepreneur, so what’s your idea about student entrepreneurs?
A | On students’ level, it is a great time to be an entrepreneur, it is when you’re at your creative best and you have courage to reach out to any ideas you want to make come true. You don’t have too many trifles to worry about and you will lose nothing even if you fail everything. It is the first time you truly get the chance to express yourself independently. And I think it’s why you see student entrepreneurs in every college. Many universities are actually taking steps to encourage student entrepreneurs, for example, I am right now in Beijing, Peking University has opened an incubator to promote and assist student entrepreneurship. It is time for innovation, for everyone to step out of their comfort zone and try to make their dream come true. Everyone should be encouraged and everyone should do it, so why not?
L | Is the social environment good for student entrepreneurship now?
A | I think it is great, of course it is. The economy today in every section and in every level, especially here in China, is extremely competitive, and innovation plays a significantly important role in the rapid economic development. Through Chinese policy, China saw a huge rise in encouraging student entrepreneurs. It is a great way to create new jobs, but more importantly, innovation and creativity is the key for progress, for economic growth. Once an economy encourages and allows student entrepreneurs, more innovative products will emerge significantly, and people will truly feel the amazing growth and increase in the quality of life.
Along the path of start-up, any obstacle can be the last straw that crushes a project. But if a starter can see the whole journey as a growth of personalities, every obstacle can become a challenge, an opportunity, a stepping stone to the final success.