Building Your Team

Akash Raju
Draft · 4 min read

What you can do at Purdue to find the right people for your startup

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Introduction

Having the right team is argueably the most important aspect to a startup’s success. If you don’t believe that, think about all of your group projects throughout the years; I’m sure you can think of atleast one not so great experience. It’s even harder when you have a startup idea because the team won’t be assigned and you have to find people who see your vision just as clearly as you.

According to Crunchbase Insights, the third largest reasons startups fail is because the team is wrong (23%). A diverse team with different skill sets is critical — lots of failed startups usually lament that they wish they had a technical person from the start or they had a founder who loved the business aspect of things.

You can’t necessarily predict whether your startup will succeed or fail but you can take necessary steps to make sure you are working with people you enjoy being around who have a diverse array of skills and opinions.

This post will outline some steps you can take to find people for your startup, whether they will be a co-founder or part of the intial team!

Where to find talent at Purdue

  1. Participate in Competitions — If you have a startup idea, don’t be afraid to share your vision. Go to competitions such as Startup Weekend Lafayette, 3 Day Startup Purdue, EcoMake, DMK Startup Weekend, and more. Pitch your idea with confidence and keep your eye out for exceptional talent. The team you finish the competition with may or may not be your ideal founding team, but through the competition, you will network with people of all backgrounds and could potentially find someone! There is a good chance someone could approach you after as well, which already shows they have passion for the idea. Keep an eye out for specific skills, presence, hustle, etc.
  2. Join the Entrepreneurship Community — Organizations like Delta Mu Kappa, The Anvil, Ms. Tech, and more offer a diverse array of members who come from various backgrounds but are brought together by an entrepreneurial mindset. Here is the place you will find people you really click with if your entrepreneurially driven and a few of them could become parts of your founding team! These organizations offer students from a variety of majors so always keep an eye out for expertise in various areas and hustle to get things done.
  3. Look for Skill Based Clubs — If you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current team, you can identify talent by looking at the gaps you need to fill and then finding the right person to fill that void. This may include technical help, marketing/business development help, etc. Check out these other Startup Purdue articles for specific places to find technical help (link to article) and marketing/business development (link to article).
  4. Attend Networking Events — There are lots of events on campus and around the country that bring together entrepreneurship communities. Try to attend them whenever you can with the intent of finding like minded people interested in the same problems as you. Some great local events include the Anvil’s Pitchin Nights, Matchbox T-6.6, and Foundry If you are in the ENTR Certificate Program, they will help support your costs if you just shoot them an email! Other programs definitely could support you if you take the first step to reach out.
  5. Ask Your Friends If They Know Anyone — You never know who they may have met by following the same steps above! In addition, they could intro you to the person as well so the initial contact is easier.

Conclusion

You don’t need to feel the same as those surreal stories you may have heard from successful startups, but make sure you wake up excited knowing you’ll be making good progress on your startup with people you enjoy being around.


If you have any suggestions that you would like us to add to this guide, please let me know by emailing me: raju3@purdue.edu

The Anvil is a student run, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and empower the entrepreneurs of Purdue University and the Greater Lafayette, Indiana community. We provide a space for students interested in creating their own companies to meet other like minded peers and exchange ideas with one another, while providing events and resources for the student-run ventures getting their start in West Lafayette.

Delta Mu Kappa is Purdue’s premier entrepreneurship fraternity whose mission is to build a strong entrepreneurial community and instill the entrepreneurial mindset in the Purdue student community.