An interview with Startup@Brown lead organizer Valentin Perez ’18


Even in an era of startup culture, where buzz terms like “disruptive innovation” and “knowledge economy” dominate headlines, College Hill stands out for its potential for digital creativity and innovation. The presence of both Brown and RISD on this elevated land has given rise to events like Hack@Brown and a Better World by Design, programs dedicated to the marriage of tech and aesthetics. And yet, for all these opportunities, there remains a notable lack of events focused solely on the startups themselves–with all the creative, financial, and corporate challenges that actually “starting up” a startup entails.

Filling this niche was the idea behind Startup@Brown, a self-described “weekend-long conference from Sept. 26–27 at Brown University that brings together innovative startups and talented students.” Blog sat down with Startup@Brown’s lead organizer Valentin Perez ’18, a sophomore dual-concentrating in CS and Applied Math. Originally involved with both the Brown Entrepreneurship Program and Hack@Brown, Valentin talked to us about some of his influences, the goals of the conference, and what attendees can expect from the first ever Startup@Brown.

What led to your decision to revive Startup@Brown?

I was looking through a Google Drive with photos from Hack@Brown and happened to see a logo for Startup@Brown, so I asked what it was. I’m really into startups. The original creators–Mackenzie Clark and Molly Long–had the idea together, but it had never fully happened because they didn’t have the time to follow through with the event. For me, when I saw it, I asked and they explained what happened and I told them that I had actually been thinking of doing something like this, partly because of my involvement with the Brown Entrepreneurship Program. I was thinking it could be a collaboration between the Brown Entrepreneurship Program and Hack@Brown. Then Atty and Sharon (Atty Reddy ’17 and Sharon Lo ’16, co-directors of Hack@Brown) put us in contact with the CS department in May and that’s when we started talking about what the event could end up being. Jeff Huang, a professor in the CS department, and Ugur Cetintemel, the department chair, were all excited about it, and said that we could take the lead of organizing it as students and that they would sponsor the event. They helped us a lot with contacts and people in the tech world. It was also super useful to have Lauren Clarke, who is the manager of the Industrial Partners program, helping us. After that I just started cold-calling startups. It was a pretty cool experience because some didn’t reply and some replied right away. Sometimes the CEO would even respond.

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Demystifying concentration gender breakdowns

As sophomores have (hopefully) finally declared their concentrations, they’re asking themselves many questions: Did I make the right choice? Do I actually like Orgo? What are my odds of finding lust or love within my concentration?

Below are the top ten concentrations at Brown broken down by gender enrollment. All information was obtained from the Registrar, which does not account for non-binary genders. This is the first part of a series that will explore identities within concentrations.
Apma Econ

10. Applied Math-Econ: This concentration is for the brave of the brave. Currently, 109 students have declared this concentration. The breakdown is heavily skewed towards males, constituting 65 percent of students enrolled.


9 and 8. Political Science and International Relations: With 156 concentrators in each, Brown is buzzing with political jargon at any given time of the day. Political Science is pretty evenly split, with 83 females and 73 males. International Relations, however, is heavily dominated by females who make up nearly 67 percent of all concentrators. Who says we can’t have a female president?


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SPONSORED: Startup Weekend Providence


Are you interested in business? Do you yearn to follow dozens of other college students in their quests to create startups? If so, be sure to check out Startup Weekend Providence. Startup Weekend Providence is excited to invite students of Brown University to join us for a fun, inspiring, entrepreneurial weekend beginning Friday, October 18.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where designers, marketers, product managers, developers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch businesses. Come join us to validate your idea, perfect your business model, practice your pitch, and collaborate with smart, talented people. The weekend culminates with team presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders for feedback and prizes. Special deals are offered to Brown University students.

Startup Weekend has had over 400 different events in 100 countries since its founding in 2011. Tickets for students are only $50 for the whole weekend. You’ll get access to young professionals, leading business owners, and other like-minded and driven individuals. Get in on the action this weekend by registering here.

For more information, be sure to check out Startup Weekend Providence’s website.

What to do this weekend: SEEED Summit

We all know Brown students are constantly looking for ways to innovate and change the world–a lot of college students are. What is unique to Brown students, however, is their continued efforts to engage in social enterprises. The Social Enterprise Ecosystem Economic Development (SEEED) is the first national conference that emphasizes conducting business to improve communities, rather than simply to make a profit. The effort is a collaboration between the University and Social Venture Partners Rhode Island.

The SEEED Summit spans Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. Registration begins on Friday at 8 a.m. in Sayles Hall. The conference has many guest speakers and table discussions that cover topics ranging from social impacts of business to mobilizing the social enterprise movement. At last year’s conference, there were more than 425 social enterprise leaders from 15 states. Many business leaders visited and helped coach current social entrepreneurs. Make sure to check out the website and, if you’re interested, register. Tickets are discounted for students and are available for either one or two days.

Hangover Helpers to the Rescue

This is when you would call Hangover Helpers

We’ve all been there. The splitting headache. The sea of red cups. The anonymous vomit in the corner. Last night you threw the wildest rager. But now its Sunday, and you’ve got to deal with a hangover and a destroyed post-party house. To some this might seem like a nightmare, but to a couple students at University of Colorado students, this was a business opportunity. Hangover Helpers, a student run business, brings fellow students and party-throwers breakfast burritos and Gatorade and will also clean up the party mess, all for a price of course — $15 per roommate. So, any students in Engineering and New Ventures, here’s a possible idea for a final!