At the Founders’ Club we aim to bring together people who share the goal of launching a startup. Our members have diverse backgrounds (e.g., engineers, lawyers, product developers, medical students) and include students at both the undergrad and grad level from several schools at Penn and Drexel, as well as alumni and Philly locals. We hold weekly, specially focused meetings to address key topics for founders. Our goal every semester is to cover the areas that most student founders contend with: raising money, hiring, product validation, accounting, operating agreements, etc. We also help organize the Founders Retreat for MBA students at the beginning of the school year. This year I (W ’15), Zach Simkin (WG ’15) and Carlos Vega (WG ’15) co-preside over the Founders’ Club.
As an undergrad, I am often asked why I choose to spend my time in an organization primarily composed of graduate students. The answer lies in the people that make up the club. Our members are both talented and devoted; they are students who are genuinely interested in building successful companies and show up every week ready to share their stories and support the startup ecosystem. They contribute actively to the Founders’ Club listserv, which is currently comprised of hundreds of students, alumni, and others. The listserv is used almost daily by founders facing challenges in their businesses. Within minutes, every question sent out is answered by 5-10 people with interesting responses, resources and feedback. Between the speakers, pitches and the conversations among members, I can honestly say I’ve taken away as much from the Founders’ Club as I have from some of my classes at Penn.
Our latest initiative is the Founders’ Club/Wharton Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club (WUEC) Mentorship Program. Through the program, undergrads interested in entrepreneurship from WUEC are paired with Founders’ Club members. Mentors are not expected to have entrepreneurship experience, rather industry/work experience that undergrads can learn from for their own ventures. We believe this program will prove invaluable to undergrad founders, particularly those lacking industry or work experience. Moreover, the program is a great way for Wharton grads to connect with talented undergrads and to give back to the Wharton community. To date, we have successfully paired 30 students with one another.
I would highly recommend attending at least one Founders’ Club meeting. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the listserv, be notified of meeting times/locations, etc.