As Los Angeles looks to gain recognition as “Silicon Beach,” UCLA faculty and students are playing major roles in the transformation.
From UCLA Magazine:
“When Melanie Gin ’12 was in London with UCLA’s Education Abroad Program (EAP), she wanted to share her experiences with her friends. She posted photos on Facebook, but they didn’t really capture what she was doing. She created a blog, but almost no one read it.
Back on campus, Gin expressed her frustration to Tri Nguyen ’11, who had felt much the same when he was in Japan with EAP. The two, then UCLA seniors, decided to create a website where anyone could make a personal travel journal, “a digital storybook.” They named it Travelstrings and recruited two engineer friends to build it.
Now, after alpha and beta testing, they’re ready to raise capital and create a business based on the website—with a backer already lined up.
Gin throws around terms like “angel investor,” “monetize,” “cash-flow positive,” “seed money” and “beachhead” with the fluency of a seasoned tech executive. But she gained much of that familiarity in just 10 weeks on campus last summer at an entrepreneurship boot camp for students and recent graduates called Startup UCLA.
Established in 2012, the program is designed to bring students and young alumni into a burgeoning entrepreneurial enterprise in Westwood that includes UCLA faculty innovators—who receive $1 billion annually in research funding—and professional school alumni. Last August, in fact, Forbes named UCLA the nation’s eighth most entrepreneurial college…”