Computer Science & Business Students
I noticed a commonality at the entrepreneurial institutions at NYU and the University of Delaware.
A lack of integration between business minds and the engineers.
It is common entrepreneurial knowledge that the winning formula to a strong founding team is a strong business dev person and the technical counterpart.
Even more so at a student level, they need each other.
The biz dev student a hungry hustler. Active in the student scene, participating in clubs, pitching new product ideas, building mini businesses, etc. They see business ideas everywhere, and so naturally being on a college campus, they go after some product going after college students.
Problem: there are too many b2c startups going after college students.
So what happens is the student entrepreneurs compete for the same slice of a pie. Even if they do everything right, the startup will struggle to make a dent because the idea never legs.
Then there is the computer science student. You know, the type that was thinking about Bitcoin in 2014. A lot of times, this person is the complete opposite from the biz dev kid in that they have the weird (and big) ideas but lack the skills to bring it to life. Taking a product and turning it into a business is no easy task and so they also fail.
The two students need each other. It is in collaboration where the magic happens.
At the University of Delaware, I saw minimal interaction between the entrepreneurial students and the computer science kids. The department buildings aren’t near each other. In New York, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is in Brooklyn. The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute is in Washington Square Park.
Unless an entrepreneurial student specifically seeks out an engineer or an engineer is interested enough in building a business to come to the entrepreneurship center, the two parties aren’t together as much as they should be.
Creating an environment that fosters relationships is key to building more, better startups and growing college entrepreneurial ecosystems.