Workshops at conferences organized by PEC highlight the importance of entrepreneurial skill-building among emerging entrepreneurs

Written by
Aabid Ismail '25
June 9, 2022

The Princeton entrepreneurial community gathered in large numbers for PEC’s Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference in midtown Manhattan in April and Reunions Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference on-campus in May.

Alumni, faculty, postdocs and students took these opportunities to participate in workshops at both conferences – some standing room only – that matched their interests and backgrounds. The high level of participation of undergraduate and graduate students at both conferences indicates an increasing interest in entrepreneurship and, specifically, in building their entrepreneurial skills. “This year, a record number of students like myself attended the New York City Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference. It was absolutely energizing to see the sheer number of Princeton alums and students present, all passionate about trailblazing their own paths across a span of different industries - a sense of diversity in interest that the conference programming captured as well,” said Archika Dogra ’24, co-president of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club

While the conferences provide invaluable entrepreneurial skill-building to their attendees, many participants also saw the conferences as a platform to network and connect with each other. For some alumni members, the conference served as an event to reconnect with their entrepreneurial friends at Princeton while also sharing their knowledge as workshop leaders. Jeremy Kestler ’94, who led the workshop “Two Secrets to Leading a Startup: Creating Shared Vision and Urgency”, said, “I enjoyed having the opportunity to present on the topic of creating a shared vision for your startup. We looked at different examples of vision statements and discussed how to create one for your startup that is effective and will inspire and motivate your team. I relished the opportunity to reconnect with my entrepreneurial Princeton friends and to make new ones. I was glad to contribute to the day and also to the PEC organization that is doing such amazing work. I was grateful for how many people came and asked such great questions, especially considering it was late on a Friday afternoon!”

Jeremy Kestler speaking

Jeremy Kestler '94 giving the “Two Secrets to Leading a Startup: Creating Shared Vision and Urgency” workshop at the New York City Tiger Entrepreneurs Conference. (Photo by Wright Seneres) 

Other workshops at the New York City conference, all led by alumni, included “Why You Don’t Have to Read Your Investor’s Term Sheet” by Dror Futter ’86 and John Monagle ’12; “How to Choose Your First Investors Wisely and Increase Your Chances of Success” by Jim Hao ’12; “Starting and Running a Successful Multichannel Retail Brand” by Matt McCalpin ’14; and “The Fundamentals of Angel Investing” by Rob Wolk ’91
At the Reunions conference, attendees learned about “The 4-Step Fundraising Formula” from Navin Thukkaram ’97, “Managing Your Career Working at Startups” from Ed Zschau ’86, Will McCalpin ’12 and Rachel Yee ’19, and “Bootstrapping Your Startup” from Lauren Imparato ’02. Graduate student Kate Clairmont said, “Lauren Imparato’s workshop provided an inspiring take on what funding and starting your company can look like, including the pros and cons of fundraising. For Lauren, one of the advantages of bootstrapping is to take financial responsibility upfront, which certainly comes with its risks, but can also lead to focusing more exclusively on developing a better product.”

The Princeton Entrepreneurship Council organizes events throughout the year that include pitch competitions, startup showcases, entrepreneurial panel discussions, and skill-building and knowledge-sharing events. 

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