With clients such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Kuwait, the State of Qatar, and the Sultanate of Oman, the venture capital firm Romulus Capital manages over 200 million dollars worth of funds. Krishna Gupta ’05 founded the firm in 2008 as an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In his presentation on January 24, Gupta shared advice and insights about his journey as a young entrepreneur starting a venture capital firm. The talk, which took place in Kemper Auditorium, was organized by the student club Corner Office and the Nest Makerspace.
“The way that venture capital funds work is you raise money from investors, you put it into a fund…then hopefully you go find some great companies to invest in, and then once those companies grow and [are sold], you take the money that you got back, and you give it back to your investors, and hopefully [it’s] much more than what they put in,” said Gupta in his presentation.
As a young person working in entrepreneurship, Gupta said that he initially faced difficulty in gathering the necessary support, credibility, and resources to start a company.
Gupta said in an interview with The Phillipian, “There are very very few, almost no, young people who built their own venture capital firm. Gaining credibility was a very big challenge, raising the money was [a] big challenge, but also finding great companies and convincing them to take our money [was a challenge], because these days entrepreneurs have a lot of choices…we have to compete against big Silicon Valley firms.”
Jake Zummo ’21, an attendee, found that the most interesting part of the presentation was Gupta’s enthusiasm to build a career that pursued multiple areas of interest.
“He talked not only about business and sales and starting a fund and all that, but also science and technology and all sorts of fields…I think you clearly see from his energy and his enthusiasm for so many different things that he really wasn’t limited in the way that most people typically are, and I think that was perhaps the most inspiring,” said Zummo.
Gupta was also interested in a wide range of topics at Andover. He had always liked math and science, but as a student at Andover, he became fascinated with history and frequently visited the Peabody Institute of Archaeology. With his peers, Gupta eventually created a film on the ancient history of England that first introduced him to some of the components of entrepreneurship.
“[The film] was for me, a very entrepreneurial experience that I think was uniquely something I could experience only at Andover, but it taught me how to fundraise, how to come with ideas, how to execute on it, how to get people to work together,” said Gupta.
Cory McCormack ’21, an attendee at the presentation, felt that he learned a lot about entrepreneurship and being proactive.
“[Gupta] told a very inspiring story about how you can apply Andover’s values to your business and become successful. I learned a lot about…how to overcome the daunting experience of cold calling and fundraising,” said McCormack.
Gupta encouraged audience members to take risks. He shared that even with a lack of support, his company succeeded due to its unique approaches to venture capital.
“We embraced trends that other people didn’t feel were going anywhere…back in 2010, no one was really talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), and we were still very much in this AI winter as we called it. But we saw an opportunity to combine behavioral data, the data human beings produce on a daily basis through interactions, and run machine learning algorithms on them and come up with some interesting insights for business,” said Gupta in his presentation.
According to Gupta, he has utilized the alumni network of Andover on his path to building Romulus Capital. Gupta emphasized that alumni are an important resource for students to be aware of because of world-wide support that it provides.
“I keep discovering random Andover alums no matter where I am in the world, and that’s pretty cool…Everyone tells you you got a good alumni network, obviously you don’t really realize it until you get out there. When you get out there, it’s really powerful…it’s very giving. And that makes you compelled to give back.”
Gupta believes that being proactive and motivated is extremely important in the face of disagreement and setbacks. He hoped that the audience was inspired to make their own ideas a reality.
Gupta said, “The one thing I would say is ultimately no one can help you more than yourself. So if you have something, you will find the resources. Sitting in Andover for sure you will find the resources, whether it’s the school level or the alumni network, you just have to go make it happen.”