Lessons from Lauren Kay
On October 29th, Lauren Kay visited campus to share her startup stories with Professor Streeter’s class. Kay launched two companies: SmartSitting, an online platform to find babysitters in NYC, and Dating Ring, a matchmaking website. Kay started SmartSitting while attending Brown University. The morning before class, she shared some advice over breakfast for any college student interested in launching a company.
- Get media attention.
“I thought an article in the Times about Dating Ring would propel it to the next level,” Kay explained. Having her company in front of a national audience seemed like an indisputable way to gain traction and customers. In early 2014, Tech Crunch published an article about Dating Ring flying sixteen single women from NYC to date men in San Francisco. Although many were skeptical of the concept, it ultimately led customers to try Dating Ring.
- The hardest part of launching a venture is getting people to believe in it.
“It was awkward when my roommate unsubscribed from Dating Ring,” Kay explained. Projecting your passion for a business can come easily, but convincing others – even those you are close with – can prove difficult. Keeping an open mind and enthusiastic spirit are two ways to keep your venture moving forward.
- Join a team in college, but don’t overdo it in college.
Although Kay does not regret beginning SmartSitting in college, she acknowledges that her company limited her free time that she could have spent exploring other interests. “During college weekend at Brown, while all my friends were having a good time, I was making calls for SmartSitting,” Kay said. Although Kay does not regret starting a company in college, she cautions students to understand the full implications of their decisions.