Andover alumni Krishna Gupta ’05 and Abigail Seldin ’05 graced the pages of “Forbes” Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list this January. They were among the ranks of entrepreneurs and celebrities such as Blake Lively, actress and founder of Preserve, and Mike Kreiger, co-founder of Instagram.
Forbes recognized Gupta, 27, and Seldin, 26, for their work in venture capital and education, respectively. The 30 Under 30 list is comprised of 600 young “game-changers, movers and makers” under 30 years old in 20 different fields, including sports, finance, music and healthcare, according to the magazine’s website.
**Krishna Gupta ’05**
Instead of interning for a big venture capital firm while studying for his undergraduate degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Krishna Gupta ’05 started his own venture capital firm, Romulus Capital, from his dorm room in 2008.
Romulus Capital has since expanded, and Gupta, Founder and General Partner, now leads a team of nine associates to invest in early-stage companies that specialize in innovative science and technology.
“I just wanted to build a foundation of interesting businesses. I stumbled onto the idea in the sense that there was a clear need in the market. Large venture firms were really betting instead of building, and the angel investors, who are individuals investing in companies, were just kind of doing it as a hobby or not adding specific values,” said Gupta.
Gupta cites influences from Andover, especially time spent at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, on his work as a venture capitalist.
“I think a lot of the fundamentals that I’ve learned at Andover continue to apply. My interest has always been to build something that will stand the test of time and will be around when I’m gone,” said Gupta.
“I’m a big fan of history and archeology,” he continued. “It’s always great to look at artifacts and see things that played a role thousands of thousands of years ago, if not longer, and see how civilizations came up and stayed for a long time. I think all of that plays into the foundational ‘DNA’ of Romulus.”
According to Gupta, Andover also helped him develop his love for the humanities. He had always been passionate about history, math and science, even taking chemistry every trimester of his four-year Andover career, but his most memorable class was the English class he took his Lower year.
“I would say that [Lower year] was the time when I really figured out who I was. I really felt that I did some introspection and read a lot of philosophical works. It really allowed me to explore myself. I would say from that point on, I haven’t really changed in terms of my thinking and outlook on the world,” said Gupta.
Romulus Capital helped raise $13.5 million for E la Carte, a company that develops tableside tablets for food and hospitality industries last year. After raising $1 million for the firm’s first fund in 2009, Romulus Capital closed its second fund of $50 million last May with the help of investors from all over the world. Gupta plans to invest in 20 to 25 new businesses with this fund.
**Abigail Seldin ’05**
Confused and overwhelmed college applicants no longer have to navigate the labyrinth of different kinds of financial aid for various potential schools on their own, thanks to College Abacus. Designed by Abigail Seldin ’05, College Abacus is a free online tool that allows users to calculate their projected financial aid and compare it to that of other colleges and universities.
Seldin realized the need to simplify the process of determining financial aid when her mother-in-law, president of Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, described the complicated and stressful process that many families have to undergo when calculating the price of a college education.
“These days you can comparison-shop for just about anything online, from plane tickets to hotel rooms. With something as expensive as college, you should be able to compare prices. Given the size of many financial aid packages, students need to access college-supported estimates when evaluating the cost of different college options,” wrote Seldin in an email to The Phillipian.
Unlike other sites, College Abacus generates the same estimates for an individual school that would appear on that school’s website. Other calculators have their own algorithms that do not match the colleges’ own prices.
“To make a difference in any field, you first need to identify the problem you want to solve. Find a problem that matters to you, research current approaches and create new ways to improve the situation. In starting College Abacus, the problem I addressed was the opacity of the college financial aid system,” said Seldin.
During her time at Andover, Seldin graduated “cum laude,” curated the “Pecos Pueblo: Crossroads of Culture” exhibit at the Peabody Museum as an independent project and spent the majority of her free time working as a producer in the Theatre Department.
“At Andover, I acquired many skills [including] historical research, showering in sandals [and] stage-management, but personal discipline and ‘Non Sibi’ stand out as the most important lessons,” Seldin said.