In Episode 4 of YC’s Startup School Radio,
a podcast that features stories and practical advice about starting,
funding, and scaling companies, our host Aaron Harris first sat down with PlanGrid co-founders Ryan Sutton-Gee, Tracy Young, and Ralph Gootee, to talk about the early days of founding the construction software company and their path to joining Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class. The second half of the episode featured Liz Wessel and J.J. Fliegelman, the co-founders of Campus Job, which just launched out of YC in Winter 2015.
In one interesting excerpt, Wessel and Fliegelman talked about why they decided to leave their prestigious new jobs at Google and McKinsey to work full-time on Campus Job:
Aaron: You’re both fairly recent college grads. I think you’re, are you both two or three years out?
Liz: Three and four years.
Aaron: Three and four years out. Okay, you’re not too far removed from college,
building something for colleges. Have
you wanted to do this since college, or what happened that you decided
to start this company?
Liz: Yeah. So, J.J. and I actually became close friends during college
because we, along with a few other friends, decided to start a company
that was kind of the inspiration for what Campus Job is today. So, that
company was a much more niche version. We didn’t even call it a company.
It was more of a side project, but it was something we worked on our
senior year of college. We built it, we graduated, and it started to take
off after we graduated.
Aaron: What was it?
Liz: It was basically a job board for campus rep opportunities…
Aaron: So, these are the students who will wear a Red Bull t-shirt around campus, hand out free Red Bull and get frats to join.
J.J.: The most popular kids on campus.
Aaron: They got free stuff to give. Everyone loves free stuff, especially college kids.
Liz: Exactly. So, we saw a big need for startups looking for students to
hire and for students looking for marketing jobs on campus, so we
started that side project in college. It started to really take off and,
over a few years, when we were doing nothing related to it, and really
had our own full time jobs, we decided to use the inspiration from what
that side project was and actually quit our jobs at Google and McKinsey
and start Campus Job and go big for all jobs for college students.
Aaron: This is one of those decisions that’s like every mother’s
nightmare. “My son and daughter quit their jobs at Google and at
McKinsey, two of the best companies to work at in the world, to go do
something crazy, like start a company where they’re not going to get
paid and probably starve to death.” So, what was it about this idea that
made you leave such comfortable careers?
J.J.: Well, I think for me, there were two things. One was, even just
this side project that Liz was just talking about, seeing that traction
grow while we were doing nothing was really inspiring and also helped us
realize that there was something there. Imagine if we really put effort
into it and really, really made it work. It could be huge…
Liz: …We kinda
figured if we were going to do this idea, which we knew we wanted to do,
now was the time because we’re close enough to college age where we
still know what the big problems are [in the college market] and how to tackle them. We’re risk takers. Google and McKinsey, we could always go back to them if we needed to. But Campus Job now is an even better place to
work. So we’re happy.