September 6, 2012
I first contacted Avi Eisenberger about a week ago, sending him an email shortly after 11 pm. A response was in my inbox 15 minutes later.
For the 22-year old Eisenberger, who graduated from the University of Maryland in May, this schedule is probably nothing new. After all, late nights are common for a college student, especially one with an Accenture internship under his belt (that was after a stint as an Apple retail specialist and before working with HD Trade Services in Mountain View, California).
Eisenberger is the CEO of VentureBoard, which he calls “a unified community for all aspiring student entrepreneurs across any academic background at a given institution.” The idea is one that Eisenberger shared with fellow Maryland students Scott Block and Justin Searles for three years before beginning development earlier this summer.
In a nutshell, VentureBoard is a digital platform built to reduce the barriers to entrepreneurship that many students encounter at the university level.
“The lack of communication and interdisciplinary interaction alone leaves many amazing ideas on the table that should have been explored further,” Eisenberger told me. Eisenberger hopes VentureBoard will become the ultimate collaborative environment for student entrepreneurs, who often face a fragmented entrepreneurship education in the university system. “There is little synergy between different academic departments,” as Eisenberger puts it.
Eisenberger plans to include contextual access to educational materials (think pricing models or marketing plan templates) and other resources to aid student entrepreneurs.
For now, VentureBoard is only live at the University of Maryland, but according to Eisenberger, it’s already receiving interest from students and faculty across the country. It’s still early, and not all the functionality has been built. Here’s a flavor of what’s yet to come:
1. Mobile version. For students working on executing their ideas in between work, classes, and everything else college has to offer, the app will allow them to log a stream of consciousness for later retrieval.
2. External partnerships. VentureBoard plans to bring in third parties instead of spending resources reinventing the wheel. Integration with domain acquisition tools, GitHub, and more is in the works.
3. The “nudge.” It’s Facebook’s iconic poke, but with a purpose. Eisenberger envisions it as a way to keep your teammates accountable.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the University of Maryland. In the meantime, students from other universities can request VentureBoard here.
VentureBoard was one of the startups showcased at the Tech Cocktail DC mixer in August.
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