This month, five students, one graduate assistant and our very own Derick Maggard made the chilly Trek to Boston to meet some amazing companies and connect with awe-inspiring business leaders. The CIE started its Trek at Raizlabs, where they met with Ben Johnson, the Director of Product Strategy, and Greg Raiz, the CEO. Here they saw the workings of a bootstrap start-up and learned how focus on their core values helps them to create a stellar product.
The next day, the students visited MassChallenge, the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Akamai. At MassChallenge they met with Robby Bitting, the Director of Marketing. Bitting explained the accelerator program and how they help entrepreneurs create successful ventures. Next on their trip was the MIT Trust
Center, where Ana Cuellar, Chief of Staff, described how they foster the entrepreneur community at MIT. The last visit of the day was with Charley Dublin, a VT alum and the VP of Product Operations at Akamai. Dublin showed them around the office and explained how their company works. The third day was filled with two well-known companies, Facebook and HubSpot. Ryan Mack, the Site Lead of Facebook, spoke with them about the infrastructure projects that the office focuses on and career planning. Next the team spent some time with another VT alum named John Kinzer, who is the CFO of HubSpot and Brian Halligan, the CEO and Co-Founder. After touring the facilities, they spoke about in-bound marketing, procuring venture capital, and creating a culture that encourages employees to be innovative.
On their last day in Boston, the group explored Thync and Curata. At Thync they met with the CSO and founder, Jamie Tyler who explained his route to the creation of his product and how he paired science with entrepreneurship. The last company of the Trek was Curata, where Craig Blum, also a VT alumnus, explained their in-bound marketing techniques and gave advice for Blacksburg based entrepreneurs. Everyone on the Trek was inspired greatly by the companies and people they met. They cannot wait to bring what they learned back to Virginia Tech to influence the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.