Daniel Caicedo always wanted to introduce something new into the world. At NYU, he found the perfect place to achieve that goal. Through student organizations, events, and the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab (eLab), Daniel has found a community that provides invaluable resources and connections. “One of the main reasons I wanted to come to the United States is because I am passionate about tech and entrepreneurship,” says Daniel, who was born in Colombia. “I want to build something. In New York City and at NYU, I’m in the right spot.”
Bringing Ideas to Life
Daniel is a Computer Science major in the College of Arts and Science. Additionally, he is a Tandon School of Engineering Technology, Management, and Design minor. Now in his second year at NYU, he is working on a start-up called UpSide. UpSide is a platform built to democratize the world of secondary private equity. As a result, those wanting to exit after investing in private companies can securely and efficiently connect with accredited investors. Daniel and his first-year roommate cofounded the company not long after they met. “Being from Colombia, I knew about tech in developing countries. However, my roommate was from the Bay Area. So he had a different perspective on the entrepreneurship tech ecosystem,” recalls Daniel. “We came across a need and a problem we could solve, and that’s how UpSide was born.”
Throughout the last year, the pair have frequently turned to NYU’s entrepreneurship resources as they refine their business model. At the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and Leslie eLab, they’ve received feedback from institute staff, other students, and researchers. What’s more, the Start-Up Coaching program has provided critical guidance. They’ve also worked with founders in residence. After founding their own start-ups, these NYU graduates return to campus to advise NYU’s current crop of aspiring entrepreneurs. “The eLab has helped a lot with resources and mentorship and just meeting people,” Daniel says. “Here, you can come together with other like-minded individuals. I’ve gotten great feedback from people I’ve met. Furthermore, I’ve been able to learn from others who are building their own things.”
In addition, Daniel learned about the NYU First Generation to College Founders Fellowship through his time in the eLab. The program provides community and mentorship to first-generation undergraduates who are working on a start-up. Participants must be the first in their families to attend college, eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, or from low-income households. When the program had an extra spot open, they invited Daniel to apply, despite not being a first-generation student. Participating in this NYU entrepreneurship program further prepared him for launching and growing UpSide.
A Growing Network and an Open Future
Outside of the eLab, Daniel is director of operations for the Undergraduate Latin American Business Association (ULABA), one of more than 300 student-run clubs on NYU’s New York City campus. The group regularly hosts graduate students, alumni, and other lecturers for events, helping Daniel continue to expand his list of friends, industry contacts, and supporters. Between ULABA, the eLab, and other NYU connections, Daniel has met innovators and professionals from across the city. “Within the NYU entrepreneurship ecosystem, you can attend events hosted by companies and venture capital firms that are maybe 10 blocks away from where you live,” he shares. “Being in this city truly adds great value.”
As Daniel considers his start-up launch, planned for late 2022, and his future at NYU and beyond, he radiates enthusiasm. “At NYU, there are an enormous number of opportunities. If you are ready to be ambitious, jump into things, take risks, and work for it, the opportunities are there,” he says. “I’m looking forward to seeing how everything ends up and what all of the people I’ve met here and I will be doing 10 years from now. I think it will be amazing.”