What would you do if you could meet the founders of Facebook before they made it big? Would you invest in them? Would you try to get them involved in your own business? Or would you just warn them that having a poke function is bloody annoying?
While Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isnt in Canada, the Web Startup Societys demo camp in March is a chance for UofT students to witness web start-ups that could one day be just as successful.
Reginald Tan started the Web Startup Society last October in an effort to bring together students interested in web-based businesses, such as Facebook or Amazon, and to encourage them to create their own. Tan created the society because he was interested in creating a startup of his own, but found that not only is there a lack of entrepreneurial spirit on campus, but its hard to find people who are interested, and we wanted to make connections easier, and foster that spirit.
The club is composed of around 80 members, mostly St. George computer engineers, although Reginald wants to reach out to UTM CCIT and computer science students. Activities in the club range from speaker presentations by successful startup owners to their signature event, the demo camp.
The demo camp, organized by the Web Startup Society in collaboration with Knowledge, Media and Design Institute, a subsection of the computer science faculty, is an event that features five-minute demonstration of students startup projects. Startup projects include electronic voting systems, an online music portal and a social networking site. The society is still looking to secure a venue and time, but will probably hold the demo camp around March 2. The demonstrations, Tan says, will be a great way for interested students to network and to see what the future of web-based businesses may hold.
Tan and other society members firmly believe that web-based businesses will only expand from here. The dot-com boom caused everyone to think that the market was saturated, but thats not the case, Tan says. Opportunity exists everywhere, and theres no reason to shy away from inventiveness just because of youth. As Tan says, just because youre a student doesnt mean you cant do cool stuff.
More information on the Web Startup Society and on the demo camp can be found at webstartupsociety.com.