On Friday, April 13, 2018, Chuck Isgar ‘20.5, a student member of Brown EP proudly hosted the inaugural Roundtable Discussion with Grant Gurtin ’12, founder of Fanium and Trend.io. It was an exciting opportunity for student entrepreneurs on campus to have a candid conversation with an active angel investor and fellow student entrepreneurs.

Several students discussed marketing difficulties involving their products and services. To this point, Grant emphasized the importance of having someone on your team whose specialty is marketing. He explained that in this day and age, marketing is very quantitative, which helps to explain why it’s all the more important to have a team member or advisor who can help a startup talk through how they can best market their product or service.

Students at the roundtable also shared their own startup perspectives, such as their positive experiences with Facebook ads as a means of testing marketing strategies. It was a unique environment to have students receiving advice not just from Grant, but also from fellow student entrepreneurs.

Grant revealed that his experiences have taught him that to be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but rather do something better and market it well. A common issue is that there’s often a lack of authenticity in a certain space, which presents itself as a ripe opportunity for an entrepreneur.

Right now is an extremely exciting time for entrepreneurship. Grant encouraged all students who have a passion for entrepreneurship to consider working at an early stage venture this summer. He explained that the experience of working at a startup will throw one right into the mix of the daily madness that occurs in the exciting and unpredictable environment of launching a new business.

Grant explained to students that being on College Hill is a unique place for entrepreneurship — he encouraged students to appreciate the array of talented students on campus, and to take advantage of the “bubble” of entrepreneurial energy and skills that surround them.

Students were left with not just specific advice for their businesses, but also some words of wisdom from Grant: he emphasized that students should not worry about their lack of entrepreneurial experience, but rather focus on their passion for creating something new. He explained that you have to believe wholeheartedly in your passion to make a startup succeed.

About Brown EP: Brown EP is the student-run entrepreneurship group on campus, overseeing the planning on various entrepreneurial-related events on campus. Brown EP supports student entrepreneurs by connecting them with resources and mentors on campus.

About the Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship: Our mission is to make entrepreneurship an essential part of the Brown University experience. We offer curricular, co-curricular, and venture support to students, staff, faculty, alumni and the local community. Learn more here.