Startup@Brown: A review

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With all the well-deserved hype around the events of this weekend’s Better World by Design, now in its eighth year, it was easy for many students to forget about the newcomer to the already-ample lineup of fall conferences at Brown: Startup@Brown. Organized and run by Hack@Brown (Valentin Perez ’18 is lead organizer for both) and the Brown Entrepaneurship Program, Startup@Brown was a weekend-long conference in Alumnae Hall and Smitty B focused on connecting students with startups. Through a series of speeches, fairs, office hours and workshops taking place from the 26th-27th, Startup@Brown gave students a crash course in entrepreneurship. Blog checked it out to see just what exactly startup culture is all about, and whether its correspondent’s idea for a chain of nightclubs inside giant floating zeppelins could make it to an initial seed round.

The conference opened with a keynote by Eveline Buchatskiy, director at Techstars Boston, on the general path of beginning a startup, and was followed by lunch and the general startup fair. At the fair, roughly 20 startups and startup-related firms gathered to speak with students and recruit potential candidates for internships and jobs.

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The Startup Fair

The general atmosphere was one of enthusiasm. According to Jason Miller, a representative from data software firm Cloudera, “the fact that [Startup@Brown] was selective was really special. It was branded well, and it makes sense why the companies you invited are here.” Miller also emphasized the extent to which Brown alums and students are enmeshed within startup culture across the country. At Cloudera, “two of the core engineers went to Brown, and about almost a third of our entire data science department is Brown-educated.”

This recurrent theme — Brown’s close relationship with the technology industry and startup culture — often helped make the event feel like less of a professional networking event and more of a gathering of friends and former fellow students united by an interest in entrepreneurship. Brown student and Startup@Brown attendee Hans Wang ’17, a CS and Economics dual concentrator, noted that he’d “seen a lot of former TAs here with the companies.”

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What to expect at this year’s Better World by Design conference

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Tomorrow, the famed Better World by Design conference returns to College Hill for its eighth installment. The theme for this year’s lecture-workshop-panel series, which will take place both up and down the Hill over the course of this weekend — is “access.” According to its website, the conference will strive to “craft a society that is inclusive” by “focus[ing] on collaboration and new mediums of translating ideas.”

So what should you expect this weekend? For one, there’s going to be a lot going on — just check out this schedule. With fourteen different events on Friday alone and a slate of over 50 presenters, this year’s Better World by Design promises to be jam-packed.

The event kicks off today at noon in Salomon, with opening remarks from Annie Wu of Greater Good Studio. Other speakers not to be missed include Alexis Loyd, Creative Director of New York Times Research & Design Lab, and Jason Severs, Executive Creative Director at frog design.

The event exists in blocks that range from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Be sure to check out the schedule to find which presentations spark your interest, as many run at the same time.

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