Tim Chae: Make New Friends

 Chances are, if you are reading this post, you are interested in YCombinator/TechStars,  you follow guys like Fred Wilson and Dave McClure amongst many others on Twitter, and you religiously read TechCrunch as you simultaneously envision the day TC writes about you and your startup.

Now, look around you.  Are you surrounded by like-minded peers or are you alone?

If you answered "alone", don't worry, you are one of many first time entrepreneurs who are in solitude - especially if you are currently a college student.  The thing about startup life, especially at the college level, is that you often feel discouraged as you are the only one doing what you are doing out of your close friends and thus, it suppresses your potential capabilities.
Imagine you are trying to sprint the 100M dash.  You are trying to be as fast as you can be.  How do you think you would perform in comparison to running solo if you had someone just as fast as you are on the track lane next to you the entire way from the start to the finish line?  There's a reason to why Olympians run their fastest times running against top competitors rather than from solo trial runs.  If you don't have this type of a friend who is interested in what you are interested in, pursuing what you are pursuing, carrying the same passion for entrepreneurship, who will continue to push you to perform your best in working on your startup, go get one.
The question is: How?
Try to look within your college campus first.  If your school has some student entrepreneurship club, try to get in touch with them there.  The thing about college entrepreneurs - actually, entrepreneurs in general - tend to all be connected to each other within one or two degrees of separation.  Once you get connected to these peers, just be yourself because all you are really doing is creating new friendships.  However, maybe you don't go to an entrepreneurship friendly schools such as BabsonMITHarvard or Northeastern.  For students on campuses without well established entrepreneurship programs or the relevant student body, get plugged into event-oriented organizations like DartBoston and look at Greenhorn's Calendar. The weekly Greenhorn TV that Jason and Ashkan put on summarizing the top events of the week is a great place to start out.  The general age-demographic of these events are usually college students (~18-22) and young professionals (22-26).
You should realize how fortunate you are for being in college while working on your first startup.  The resources that colleges provide, like-minded peers that you will find on campus, on top of the advice from your professors, all add up to something like an incubator for great startups.  There are so many reasons why you should pursue your first startup in college and you can read them here.

Tim Chae is the co-founder of Redeemr, student at Babson College studying Tech Entrepreneurship and Design, and now an Associate VC at Romulus Capital that focuses on funding Boston-area college entrepreneurs.  He blogs regularly about his experiences with startups on his personal page.  You can reach Tim at tim.chae [at] gmail.com or find him at many of Boston area's startup events.  Say hello or follow him on Twitter

Photo Credit:http://www.infinitecat.com/cat-tales/pics/new-friends.jpg


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