Inside the TAP building on Technology Drive is a small office. Pictures of students and entrepreneurs line one of the walls. Two tables sit with great open space for laptops and desktops. A white wall doubles as a white board for students.
This is the home of Startup Shell, a student-run, entrepreneurial group that helps students start businesses.
Junior computer science major Samuel Drozdov, the director of events for Startup Shell, said the organization serves as a “community for entrepreneurs.” In the 2012-2013 academic year, four entrepreneurs trying to start businesses grouped together in a large closet that eventually became Startup Shell’s office.
Drozdov said that while he is a computer science major, he thinks it is likely less than 50 percent of the startups that are actually software-based.
Ryan Pillai is an aerospace engineering major, and a “Sheller,” as the group refers to themselves. Pillai left the university to work as an entrepreneur on his own startup.
“At the time, also, you have to understand my mentality was that I was never coming back,” he said. He did eventually return to school to finish his aerospace degree part-time while working on an aerospace startup.
Pillai’s original startup was WeCook, which he explained as Uber for chefs. Following working with Startup Shell on his idea, Pillai chose to leave school and pursue the opportunity.
Thursday, Startup Shell hosted Charles Camosey, a philosophy and theology professor at Fordham University to speak at an event titled, “Scaling your business out of the college bubble.”
Shellers sat in a semicircle to listen to Camosey, who quickly opened up the floor to invite comments and criticisms. The talk quickly became a roundtable discussion about entrepreneurs, ethics and breaking one’s bubble.
Drozdov said they try to have such talks every other week, but it varies from semester to semester.
The goal of having speakers come to talk to Shellers is to help them gain real world experience and perspective.
“In short it’s like a community about learning. Fundamentally for companies you start with a company, and as you grow you reach points you were never prepared for,” said Drozdov. “When you reach these checkpoints, if you don’t know the wrong decisions, you might learn the hard way.”