MBA Student Pitches at Startup San Diego Event for Entrepreneurs

Saturday, March 16, 2019TOPICS: Conferences and WorkshopsInnovation and Entrepreneurship

Image of current MBA student William Scott
begin quoteMy company is an ed-tech startup called ARA - Artificial Research Assistant. We want to better prepare high school students for college-level writing by connecting them to professors and PhD students at universities.

From our campus-wide pitch challenges (V2 Pitch Competition and Global Social Innovation Challenge) to the Torero Ventures Catalyzer and The Brink Small Business Development Center, among others, the University of San Diego plays an essential role in San Diego’s startup ecosystem by offering a wealth of resources for budding student entrepreneurs. Just ask current MBA student, William Scott!

Recently, Will was introduced by Associate Professor of Management and Faculty Director of Torero Ventures Catalyzer Priya Kannan-Narasimhan to participate in Startup San Diego’s Student Founders Fight Club pitch competition at Convergence 2019, a three-day event geared toward early entrepreneurs.

“When Will Scott pitched his nascent idea for a research automator last spring for the Torero Ventures Catalyzer’s (TVX) pitch event, we took on the Artificial Research Automator (ARA) as a high-risk but high potential project in the TVX,” shares Professor Kannan-Narasimhan. “Will worked extremely hard with us and his team to bring ARA to reality. Throughout the semester and after, he and his team worked on customer discovery and developing prototypes. I am delighted that we were able to offer Will this opportunity at USD and, being the naturally-driven entrepreneur that he is, was able to use it and make us all proud by making it to the student pitch event at Convergence!”

The Student Founders Fight Club pitch competition invited student finalists to present a one-minute pitch to a panel of early-stage investors. Hear about Will’s startup and his experience pitching at one of San Diego’s prominent events for entrepreneurs.

1. What is your startup business idea?

My company is an ed-tech startup called ARA - Artificial Research Assistant. We want to better prepare high school students for college-level writing by connecting them to professors and PhD students at universities.

2. What motivated you to start this business?

I graduated from a high school here in San Diego, which had a low graduation rate. I saw many of my friends from there attempt to go to college. Since they didn't have scholarships, they took out loans. Nearly all of them dropped out with no degree and a significant amount of debt. Now they have to repay thousands of dollars while working as waiters or baristas. If they had been better prepared for college writing, I think they might have stood a better chance at finishing college.

3. What resources at USD have helped you develop your business?

I have used resources and services from The Brink Small Business Development Center, where I met with a couple of consultants and attended a couple of their pitch events and mixers. I am also part of Professor Priya’s Torero Ventures class and LAUNCH, through the USD Changemakers Hub.

4. Describe your experience pitching at Startup San Diego's Convergence event.

Very exciting! It was a great opportunity to meet some other startup founders and get my company's name out there to more people. There were several startup companies there and each was doing something different. Some wrote HR software, while others did video game advertising. Every time I go to an event, I get more people interested in my idea. At the very least, I get questioned about some aspect of my company, which I had previously overlooked. Then I get to go home and incorporate that lesson into my company.

5. How did you perform at the event and what did you take away from this experience?

I placed 3rd or 4th. The two finalists competed against each other, so 3rd and 4th place were decided at the same time. My biggest take away was probably this --  it is much better to act, produce results, and then talk about those results. If your idea is the slightest bit complicated, nobody will understand it, and everyone will poke holes at it. But, if you show results, e.g. fast revenue or user growth, people will be more inclined to listen a little longer, even if they still don't understand your idea.

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658