Alumnus shares experiences in entering the start up world soon after leaving college

When Brian Bastida graduated from SF State, he didn’t expect his college education to land him a job with a startup company called Eat Club. Instead, he was studying to become a lawyer by preparing for the LSAT while working numerous jobs around the Bay Area.

With the fear of student loan payments soon approaching six months after his graduation, Bastida was advised by his lawyer friends to abandon his pursuit into criminal justice. He then jumped at the first job he was offered after months of being ignored by numerous employers. Five months after he graduated, he found himself working for a security company.

“It was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had,” Bastida said. “I was going pretty insane. I didn’t spend all this time in college to become a security guard afterwards.”

Bastida, like many of the founders of startup companies, had graduated from college and immediately pursued a career after he took off his cap and gown. He did not want to settle working for security and within a month he left the job and was soon hired by Eat Club.

Eat Club hosted a social conference at the company’s offices in Palo Alto last week in collaboration with NewCo, an event organizer, with the goal of spreading knowledge as well as networking business partners with one another to ensure growth in the industry.

Eat Club is a food delivery service that caters individual meals for each employee of large companies. It was founded in 2010 by Kevin Yang and Rodrigo Santibanez. Bastida works as the hub manager for the company.

Santibanez presented a powerpoint presentation during the conference to a room full of engineers, college students and entrepreneurs who were eager to gain some insight into how the business operated.

Santibanez gave a brief history of his company, reflecting on his early days when he and Yang were operating their business from a small office situated in Stanford University, to their eventual growth and move to their warehouse in Palo Alto. He attributed his success to 10 simple tips he listed for attendees.

“Be thrifty, be cheap,” he said, adding, “Nothing is too hard for you to do yourself… Design a business model that generates cash quickly.”

Santibanez described how Eat Club was a bootstrapped business, meaning they had no initial money or investors to help them fund their operations. According to Santibanez, with enough charm, he and Yang convinced the Stanford financial aid offices to give them money even though they both knew acquiring a loan near graduation was close to impossible.

“Use ‘I’m a student’ when you can because people will understand,” Santibanez said. “Once I was able to relate to my business partners on an emotional level I was able to move our business forward.”

Eventually he and Yang generated enough funds to upgrade their offices and hire employees, including Bastida, who was hired in November of last year.

In addition to Eat Club, another company featured at the conference was Joyride, a startup android application company composed of three employees and one intern. Attendants crammed into a three-story apartment in Palo Alto to experience first hand what it’s like to work at the company’s startup offices.

“It’s pretty cool sharing an apartment with my co-workers,” said Christian Charsagua, the graphic designer for Joyride. “We live and sleep on the third floor and do all our work on the second floor.”

Joyride’s work arrangement is identified as a “hacker” house, a commune composed of engineers and coders with the goal of creating software to sell on the market.

Attendees had the opportunity to tinker with emulated versions of Joyride’s application on a tablet, as well as talk to the developers about their future plans in the industry.

Back over at Eat Club, Bastida said he was happy with his position since being with the company for over a year.

“It was kind of a complete 180-difference compared to my previous jobs,” Bastida said. “For the security job I had to wear a uniform, shave my beard and have my hair a certain way. At Eat Club, I’m more relaxed and can wear anything I want as long as it’s workplace appropriate.”

Bastida had one piece of advice for SF State students who will be searching for jobs after graduation.

“Don’t settle. Everyone gets kind of scared because loans can be a pretty daunting thing hanging over you,” he said. “Enjoy the free time you have after school, because once you get in the workforce that’s the rest of your life. Keep searching for opportunity and you’ll find it.”

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