09/17/2020

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SoFi Blog

Tips and news—
for your financial moves.

4 Startup Truths You Won’t Learn in Business School

Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding—and terrifying—things you’ll ever do. I started my own business, a business-planning software company initially based in Palo Alto, California, three years after graduating from business school. I’ve succeeded through several decades, but it wasn’t always easy given that I struggled with student loan and mortgage payments, and took care of my family at the same time. But today, I’m financially secure, my business is healthy, and I employ more than 60 people at our new location in Eugene, Oregon. Because I’ve dealt with startups and entrepreneurs for a long time, I’m well equipped to outline what you can expect if you’re planning to start your own business.

B-school has given other entrepreneurs exactly what it gave me: business fundamentals, including basic finance, marketing, and administration. An MBA program also teaches you how to plan and, most importantly, how to understand cash flow. But what school doesn’t teach you is how to wade through the entrepreneur clichés to get to the unvarnished truth.

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How Do You Bring a Smart Pill Bottle to Life? A Startup Founder Explains

In our #SoFiStartups Q&A series, SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin sits down with startup founders who have gone through the SoFi Entrepreneur Program, where we offer mentorship, access to investors, and student loan deferment for founders of young startups. In a candid conversation, he speaks from one entrepreneur to another about their experiences founding a company.

Medications can improve the quality of your life—when you remember to take them, that is. This is the insight at the heart of Pillsy, a smart pill bottle that syncs wirelessly to your phone and beeps when you forget a dose. The set-up lends an effortless, tech-assisted hand to help you keep track of your vitamins and medications.

But if this solution sounds deceptively simple, that’s because it is. In fact, it took the Seattle-based startup two years to get to where they are today, on the verge of launching their product. Challenges like manufacturing cost-effective hardware, wrestling with Bluetooth, and developing a user-friendly format didn’t make Pillsy easy to bring to life. As co-founder Otto Sipe describes the process, “It was long and there were a lot of rewrites along the way. Along the lines of—Oh, this is completely not going to work.

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How To Start A Business While Paying Off Student Loans

Two Entrepreneurs Share How To Start A Business While Paying Off Student Loans

These days, “pension” and “company men” are terms about as relevant as “on fleek” will be in five years. Until just a few decades ago, it was commonplace for a college graduate to get an entry-level job and work his way up the corporate ladder, retiring 40-some years later with a healthy pension and a parting gift.

But not anymore.

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SoFi Entrepreneur Program Member Ben Silverman of Edenworks

#SoFiStartups: How This Cofounder Transformed His Passion for Food and Design into One of NYC’s Hottest Startups

SoFi supports entrepreneurship and startups through our Entrepreneur Program, which provides members with networking, mentorship, and an opportunity to defer their student loans. Our #SoFiStartups series profiles members who participate in the program, highlights the ups and downs of their entrepreneurship journey, and offers advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

With a background in architecture and engineering, SoFi member Ben Silverman spent the early part of his career designing building facades that were highly energy efficient. But his interest in sustainability soon extended past structures and into another one of his passions—food.

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SoFi entrepreneur member and military veteran on career transition

From Soldier to Startup: How This SoFi Member and Army Veteran Transitioned Careers For Entrepreneurial Success

Five years ago, running a startup wasn’t even close to being on Michael Zanetti’s mind. But life is unpredictable—and that’s exactly how he likes it. As a veteran with combat experience in the Army, Michael thrives on unpredictability. After all, in the Army, every mission requires a contingency plan.

After serving in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, and receiving a Bronze Star, Michael went on to serve in the National Guard. He transitioned from the military into civilian life in 2011, and earned an MBA in 2014 from Thunderbird School of Global Management. A year later, he partnered with his friend Brady Bagwan—also a former army officer—to co-found TradesFactor, a professional network for people in the skilled trades.

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