Dropping out of college to pursue his dream of creating something that could bring people together when they are physically apart, Ben Rubin, CEO and Co-Founder of Houseparty, shared his story with students as part of UT Entrepreneurship Week.
On Houseparty, a group chat video app, users can video chat with their friends in rooms, where friends of friends can join, mimicking the social circles that manifest at parties.
Rubin, without a traditional business or computer science background, wanted students to know that an entrepreneur can come from any field.
“If you’re really passionate about something, then you’re passionate enough to make it happen,” Rubin said. “I don’t know if it’s about the title, if you’re an architecture major or a business major, but if you really think that something needs to exist and you want to see it through, then you’ll see it through.”
When asked how to pitch to potential investors, Rubin said he sees any monetary investment as an emotional investment.
“They need to see that you have this fire burning, that you’re very excited about your product,” Rubin said. “You have to have a statement, so if you’re talking about product features, you’re probably doing it wrong. You need to talk about the story.”
Hosted by the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency, the conversation with Rubin is one of Entrepreneurship Week’s 15 events.
Kelsi Kamin, vice president of marketing promotion for the agency and corporate communications senior, said this event reflects their goal of bringing speakers who are relevant and interesting to students.
“Given that so many students are users of Houseparty, this is an alternative perspective on an application that has become embedded in so many of our peers’ lives,” said Kamin, a corporate communications senior. “Instead of just looking at it as another social app on their phone, it’s their chance to sit down with the founder face-to-face and understand what goes into creating this kind of phenomenon.”
Jake Seife, supply chain management senior, said he sees these talks as a chance to learn from the variety of success stories.
“There’s no set in stone path to becoming an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur has a different path, different way of going about how they do it,” Seife said. “What I like to do is pick my favorite things about each of them and adapt that into my life.”