Ex-Google executive's new venture helps students avoid corporate life
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four months after leaving Google Inc, the former head of its enterprise business has a new mission - helping college graduates avoid big corporations like Google.
Upstart, a service that is launching in limited form on Wednesday, lets university graduates raise money from other people online so that they can start their own businesses, pursue a research project, or chase a personal dream, rather than take a "safe" job in the corporate world.
"There's this overwhelming desire to not follow the traditional path of bolting yourself to a desk and climbing the corporate ladder," said Upstart founder Dave Girouard.
But he said too many graduating students have college loans they need to repay and do not feel they can take a chance.
Part social network, part crowdfunding service in the style of Kickstarter, Upstart provides an online forum where participants post personal profiles with their background and goals in the hope of attracting at least five financial backers.
The backers - acquaintances, alumni or other accredited investors - provide funding that will typically range between $20,000 and $50,000 in exchange for an agreed share of the graduate's future income over a 10-year period. Upstart determines the portion of future annual income to be shared based on the total sum raised and the person's qualifications, including academic record and field of study.
Girouard noted the funding is different than a loan because there is no guarantee of repayment.
"It's really a contract that has some contingent payments in it," he said. Continued...