The Center for Entrepreneurship hosts various Venture Cafes throughout the semester as a way to connect students with an expert in their field of study. They are a great way for business oriented students to learn the ins and outs of the various aspects of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
After a brief introduction by John Glazer, Director at TechGROWTH Ohio, the event was turned over to our guest speaker Ryan Watson. Watson was the co-founder and principal of Upsourced Accounting, a tech-enabled accounting practice in Columbus, OH, and is now currently working as the head of finance and operations for Ahalogy, a Cincinnati based startup focused on content and influencer marketing for Fortune 500 marketers.
Watson started off the event with a brief introduction about his time at Upsourced Accounting. He explained that their goal was to build the accounting model for the future, but also to start their own business. Watson and his team started Upsourced Accounting as a “nights and weekends project”, meaning that they would work on it as more of a side project until it was fully functioning and able to produce enough capital to sustain itself.
While working at Upsourced Accounting, Watson saw that there was a problem with the current accounting model. This was when he decided to create Sqrl, a SaaS tool that would help transition the current accounting model into software.
“The problem with the model at the time was that it lacked a communication piece between the accounting firms and their consumers. So, we built a document collection tool as a way to compete with other accounting firms”, said Watson.
Soon, a couple of firms actually reached out to Watson and his team in hopes to use this newly created software. That’s when they decided to sell the tool to other accounting firms, instead of keeping it to themselves. Watson then applied, and was later accepted, to the Brandery, an accelerator for startup based out of Cincinnati. Eventually, Watson sold Sqrl to another group and then later went on to join Ahology.
Throughout the event, Watson touched on various ideas surrounding startups, such as startup creation and funding. He proposed that it really doesn’t take a lot of capital to actually create a startup. He also talked about the differences between bootstrapping and venture capitalist funding. Watson explained that only a small number of companies are really appropriate to raise venture capital. He also suggested that it is much harder to make a profit by using venture capital.
Overall, the event was a huge success. Students were able to take away a lot of valuable information from this Venture Café. If you were unable to attend this event, or are simply interested in learning more information about any upcoming events, stay tuned to our blog. We look forward to seeing you at our next Venture Café!