Aman Narang’s startup Toast has raised $400 million in funding to disrupt the bar and restaurant industry.
Aman has that entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled him to constantly embrace new settings and challenges. The next time you are ordering coffee while coding your new app, celebrating closing a fundraising round with your cofounders, or are out to dinner with your investors and advisors, there’s a good chance your experience will be driven by his technology.
We recently got together for a powerful episode of the DealMakers podcast. He shared how he got started in entrepreneurship, how the university is still relevant today and some of what you’ll face as a first-time founder.
The REAL Value Of Going To College In 2020
There are a lot of debates about the relevance and value of going to college today. There are many concerns about student loan debt and the gaps between learning, education styles, and the job market.
There are also many highly successful entrepreneurs who have dropped out to launch their own ventures. Some have gone on to pay others to drop out and join the world of startups. Yet, following Aman Narang’s success, it is clear there can be a huge return on this investment. It just might not be in the form you expect it to come.
Narang was born in India and lived in New Delhi until he was seven years old. Then his father was transferred to Nepal for work. When it came time for high school, they moved again. This time to the US and upstate New York.
He learned a lot about computers, the internet and all of the successful businesses being built on it. He wanted to be involved in that. So, he went on to MIT. He credits this choice by building a highly valuable network. Probably the most value he got from it.
This network connected him with his first job at Endeca, right next door to MIT. There he connected with his two co-founders who had also been at MIT, John Grim and Steve Fredette.
Those relationships alone have proven to be worth more than $400M. Not a bad return for a few years of school. At Endeca, the team was tasked with breaking new ground. They were in software, eCommerce and retail.
When the iPhone arrived, they parlayed this opportunity into creating mobile solutions for retailers and their customers. They were essentially building their own business inside of this bigger company at just 21 years old.
Starting Your Own Business: It’s Now Or Never
Oracle ended up acquiring Endeca. Now in their late 20s this trio felt like it was a matter of now or never for starting their own business.
It started out much more as simply being compelled to start something together. They spent three months picking something to work on.
Once a month they would go out to a place in Kendall Square, close to their old school and jobs. One night the restaurant was so busy that it took them a good ten minutes to get their check and be able to pay and leave.
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