Welcome RDV Class of 2018 — Announcing the Boston Venture Fellows!
Four years ago, Rough Draft Ventures held its first pitch meeting in Harvard Square, with the goal of helping student founders get their ideas off the ground. Since then, RDV has been supporting and connecting the nation’s largest network of university entrepreneurs. We’ve backed more than 250 founders representing over 100 companies with some major success stories along the way: 17 RDV founders have been named Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees, MIT-born Workflow was recently acquired by Apple, and Harvard College-born law enforcement software startup Mark43 now provides emergency response software for the Washington D.C., Camden, NJ, and Los Angeles County police departments.
With more than 74 colleges and universities and 250,000+ students, Boston has seen a great density of founders. From MIT-born Stripe and HubSpot, to Harvard-born Mark43 and Catalant, and Babson’s OnboardIQ notable companies emerge from Boston-area schools each year. At the same time, we’ve seen new startup programs take shape across universities . From MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund to BU’s BUzz Lab, there are more resources than ever before.
We’ve been lucky to work with the next generation of student founders over the past four years, and are excited to continue growing and supporting our Boston community alongside our newest class of Boston Venture Fellows. RDV Venture Fellows meet once a week to hear student founder pitches and make recommendations for backing highest potential companies. They are ambassadors for RDV on their own campuses, helping to identify and support student founders, working closely with student groups, and collaborating on events & programs to bolster the student entrepreneur community across campuses in Boston.
Manasi Vartak: Manasi is a PhD student at MIT focused on systems for analysis of large scale data. She has led various research projects at MIT (including ModelDB, winner of the AI Grant for open-source AI projects) in an effort to make machine learning and visual analysis faster, interactive, and more efficient. Her research is informed by her experiences at Google, where she worked on geo-targeting ads automatically; at Brigham and Women’s hospital, where she developed document classification techniques for allergies; at Facebook, where she worked on Scuba, the real-time analytics system; and most recently at Twitter, where she applied deep learning for improving Twitter feed ranking. Manasi is a recipient of the Facebook PhD Fellowship and the Google Anita Borg Fellowship.
Nick Abouzeid. Nick is a senior at Babson College where he studies business administration with a concentration in legal studies. He currently works at Product Hunt, focusing on social media & growth, and contributes to BitcoinMagazine, the oldest cryptocurrency publication to date. At Babson, he’s served as the Director of Partnerships of eTower, Babson’s entrepreneurial community & founded a entrepreneurial bootcamp for high schoolers.
Samantha Kaminsky. Samantha is a second-year MBA student at Harvard Business School. Prior to HBS, Samantha worked in operations, strategy & analytics at Eventbrite and before that, spent many years as an investor at J.P. Morgan. This past summer, Samantha worked as an associate at BDMI, a New York venture firm focused on digital media investing. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Middlebury College with degrees in Economics and Political Science. While at HBS, Samantha is an active member of the tech, entrepreneurship and VC&PE clubs. She is also a Rock Venture Partner, a select team of students that determine investment and funding for HBS startups.
Risham Dhillon. A senior at Harvard College studying computer science, Risham is most excited about the intersection of healthcare and software, as well as empowering women in tech. These interests are demonstrated through her many experiences over the past four years: she’s interned in business dev and marketing at RDV-backed Tetrascience, was a software engineering intern on Cisco’s Innovation Edge pilot team, and most recently was on the Azure Automation & Cloud Shell team at Microsoft. Previously, Risham served as the External Relations Chair for Harvard Women in CS and was the former Director of Collegiate Outreach for Harvard’s WECode Conference. This past year, she’s launched Four94 — building mentorship, community, and a launchpad for up and coming women student entrepreneurs on the east coast.
Valentin Perez. Valentin is a senior at Brown concentrating in Computer Science and Applied Math. He interned at Snap last summer and at Uber the summer before, both as a Software Engineer. We met Valentin in 2015 when we backed him for co-founding Daycation, a travel startup still run by his Co-Founder in Miami. He’s been making iOS apps for a while and is an Apple WWDC Scholar. At Brown, Valentin was the previous Co-President of The Brown Entrepreneurship Program, was on the leadership team for Hack@Brown, and founded Startup@Brown, an entrepreneurship conference at Brown connecting students with tech startups and inspiring future founders. He’s also a Peer Entrepreneur in Residence at Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship.
Mojia Shen. A senior at Wellesley, Mojia has spent the last four years building up the startup ecosystem across campus. As a sophomore, Mojia founded WeStart, the Wellesley Entrepreneurship Club, which serves to encourage students who aspire to be an entrepreneur, in both commercial and social areas. Mojia’s entrepreneurial spirit can also be found in her creation of Flavory, a platform that helps stay-at-home mothers in Mexico sell home-made food, and Revive, a nonprofit that supports families who have lost their only child. A computer science and psychology major, Mojia interned at Redfin as a product manager this past summer and previously McKinsey.
Anum Hussain. Anum is a second year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan, where she was a part of the leadership team for Breaking the Mold, an initiative promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership, and a competition finalist in the MIT $100k Pitch Competition. Anum started her career at HubSpot focused on growth marketing. This past summer, she joined Snap Inc where she worked with the inside sales team targeting the SMB market. As a marketing expert, Anum has guest lectured at UMass Amherst, StartUp Institute, Northeastern College of Business, and George Washington University.
Jeremy Batchelder. A junior at Tufts focused on Computer Science and Economics, Jeremy is interested in financial literacy, investing, and blockchain technology. Jeremy started his first company in high school, creating an online marketplace to help students buy and sell goods in a simple and secure way. He gained finance experience with the Tufts Financial Group, a student-led investment fund, and expanded this focus to Blockchain as a product development intern at Cambridge Blockchain. Jeremy started his own blog, Small Money Big World and his writing has been featured in Decentralize Today, Adventures in Consumer Technology, Keeping Stock, and The Ascent.
Tieshun Roquerre. Tieshun is a sophomore at MIT studying computer science and math. After spending a year as a software engineer at Teespring, Tieshun started his own YC-backed company, StrongIntro, a recruiting tool and service that 10x’s employee referrals. This past summer, Tieshun worked at performance management company, Lattice.
Jenny Wang. A junior at Harvard College studying CS & math, Jenny has interned at Carbon, Kensho, Google, and most recently, DoorDash. On campus, Jenny has served on the leadership teams of Harvard Ventures, Women In Computer Science, WECode, and Kairos Society, was the creative producer for the IDENTITIES fashion tech show. An advocate for women in tech, Jenny is a student leader at Lean In-terns and is a Grace Hopper Scholar.