Eugene Marinelli has a resume that many Silicon Valley hopefuls would envy.
The recent inductee to Forbes’ 30 under 30 finance list has two degrees in computer science, and he interned for the engineering departments at Apple and Google.
After his internships Marinelli landed a job on the finance engineering team at Palantir, the big data company founded by billionaire Peter Thiel.
“While working on Palantir’s finance engineering team I quickly realised the degree to which many parts of the financial services industry were not up to speed with technology,” he told Business Insider.
Ultimately this epiphany led Marinelli and his two cofounders to launch Blend Labs, a fintech startup that aims to make the mortgage process quicker and more affordable for lenders and big banks.
Blend does this by putting the entire process online and stripping it off its arcane elements such as the fax machines, massive amounts of paperwork, and of course, humans. Using algorithms that determine whether a person is worthy to receive a loan, Blend says it lessens the time it takes to close a mortgage from the close to 40-day average to minutes.
The 29-year-old Marinelli told Business Insider that aspiring entrepreneurs should expect trial and error. He said idea for Blend didn’t come to fruition until after another idea had been scrapped.
“Me and my cofounders were originally trying to tackle too much with our first idea,” Marinelli told Business Insider. “Peter Thiel knew my cofounders from their time at Clarium Capital and he told us we were spreading ourselves too thin with our original idea, making it difficult to gain traction.”
“Thiel’s advice put us on the right track and ultimately it led to us coming up with the idea for Blend Labs,” he said.
In 2012 Marinelli’s Blend Labs raised $2.5 million from the billionaire and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Marinelli attributes much of his success to finding something that no one else was paying attention to. He encourages inspiring entrepeneurs to follow suit.
“We embarked on a journey to improve something that seemed boring at first glance,” Marinelli said. “I would encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs to do exactly that. Find a niche that most tech enthusiasts wouldn’t care to fix, and fix it,” Marinelli said.
“Finding the right team is also key to entrepreneurial success” he added. “You have to be working with the right people — especially early on — who compliment your strengths and weaknesses.”
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