Student-run startup helps students run startups

Emerson Malca, founder of StudyRoom, speaks to SF State students about start-ups at INCUBED Welcome Day in the J. Paul Leonard Library, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Xpress / Emily Chavous)

Aspiring student entrepreneurs gathered Tuesday afternoon in the J. Paul Leonard Library event room to attend the welcome night of INCUBED, a student-run startup incubator based at SF State.

First to speak was Emerson Malca, an SF State alumnus and CEO of StudyRoom, a service for students to share notes and tutor other students on classes. His advice to new entrepreneurs was practical.

“Make something you care about and make it count. Don’t pursue something stupid that’s not going to go anywhere and you don’t care about,” Malca Said. “You won’t have all the answers, you have to go out there and see what works and what doesn’t.”

Second to speak was Erik Vieria, a patent lawyer of 15 years, who talked about filing patents.

Attorney Erik Vieira speaks about patents and start-up legalities at INCUBED Welcome Day in the J. Paul Leonard Library, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Xpress / Emily Chavous)

Attorney Erik Vieira speaks about patents and start-up legalities at INCUBED Welcome Day in the J. Paul Leonard Library, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Xpress / Emily Chavous)

“Say you have an idea that no one has thought of before,” Vieria said. “You can own it or give it away. If you don’t patent it someone else can just steal it. You might want to consider filing internationally after you file in the U.S.”

The reaction from the audience to the event was positive. Neelab Habibi, a 19-year-old business marketing major, thought it was informative and helpful.

“I wanted to see everything from someone else’s perspective, from people who are actually doing something from business marketing,” said Habibi. “I got more than I expected, I learned so much about patents and coding.”

INCUBED, who hosted the event, was conceived to be the student version of Y Combinator, the force behind popular startups like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit. Rigley Dutra, a co-founder, stresses that INCUBED is in it’s development stages and student entrepreneurs won’t find teams to work on their ideas, but that it is getting there. The organization launched a beta event in fall of 2015 to a full house and aims to add programs over the new few semesters.

INCUBED co-founder Rigley Dutra (right) speaks with business marketing major Kenton Raiford at INCUBED Welcome Day in the J. Paul Leonard Library, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Xpress / Emily Chavous)

INCUBED co-founder Rigley Dutra (right) speaks with business marketing major Kenton Raiford at INCUBED Welcome Day in the J. Paul Leonard Library, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (Xpress / Emily Chavous)

Elaine Chow, a 26-year-old design major and co-founder of INCUBED, saw the need for a student startup organization as there was no real connection between SF State students and the startup environment of the Bay Area at large.

“The name INCUBED comes from connecting teachers, professionals from outside the school, and students,” said Chow.

She urges students who have a business idea, but no product, to run it by people and see who would buy their theoretical product.