Ali Hamed caught our attention long before landing on our list of 19 Incredibly Impressive Students at Cornell.
The Cornell senior co-founded CoVenture, a firm that builds software for early-stage startups in exchange for equity. Last December, Hamed told Business Insider that his company plans to partner with and invest in twice as many companies this year than it did in 2013.
After sealing $US500,000 of its own funding in a jaw-dropping six weeks last summer, his startup is building momentum fast.
Hamed employs about 40 developers and designers (all of whom are full-time professionals, not students) to create solutions for companies with non-technical founders and big ideas. It will build $US30,000 worth of software in exchange for 5% equity in each company.
They have built systems capable of handling 2.7 terabytes of data per day, and a Google Glass app. His clients span e-commerce and travel technology, including Bib + Truck, Enriched Schools, and Globa.li.
In 2013, CoVenture worked with six startups, all of which managed to raise additional capital. The startups also gained revenues of around $US10 million, collectively, after working with Hamed and his team.
But it was a wild ride for him to get here.
Hamed originally went to Cornell University to play baseball, but fractured his back trying to steal a home-run and had to quit sports. While his back was recovering from the injury, he taught himself to code and created a news summarization website. When that startup failed, he created CoVenture, moving nearly full-time to New York City. For seven months he was basically homeless when in New York City, alternating between couch-surfing with friends and living and sleeping in Starbucks or Union Square Park.
He’s now in his senior year at Cornell, but he still spends most of each week in New York City. (Thankfully, he’s made enough from CoVenture to now afford an apartment.)
“I think CoVenture makes a lot of sense for New York,” Hamed says. “There’s a lot of people who understand industries very well here, but there’s not as much technical talent.”
He plans to move to the city full-time after graduation and focus on running his business.
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