UNC seniors Ilyas Colie and Manas Takalpati are co-founders of Triangle Ventures, an organization that aims to connect student entrepreneurs across the Triangle by matching founders with similar ideas, finding internship opportunities and offering working spaces.
They are running a student-pitch competition with the Kenan-Flagler Business School as their primary advisor and supporter. The winning teams have the opportunity to win up to $500,000 in funding from Fusen. The kickoff began earlier this month.
Colie and Takalpati founded TriVent after living together in San Francisco last summer while working in start-up companies.
“In San Francisco, in those two months, I learned probably more than I've learned in all my time at UNC,” Takalpati said.
During their stay, they were surprised at how easy it was to find other founders, mentors, job opportunities at different start-ups and venture capital firms.
After returning to North Carolina, the duo found that although there is a venture ecosystem in the Triangle, there are not a lot of opportunities to link students across universities.
“We felt that there is a lot of resources that, for example, are available in San Francisco and Silicon Valley to students as well as young budding entrepreneurs that are not necessarily as available here,” Colie said.
After a pre-launch event for TriVent, Takalpati said that the business school took notice of their organization and proposed working together to promote innovation and start-ups for students.
First-year Sonia Shah, TriVent's director of organizational relationships, said that the idea for the competition came about because they wanted to have a big event this semester — not only to put out the word about TriVent but to start connecting student talent across the state.