John Gattuso will be sharing monthly updates about his experience as a student with a startup living in GT’s Startup House. Find out about him below and stay tuned to follow his journey as a budding entrepreneur.
My name is John Gattuso. I am the founder of FIXD, but before I get into that I want to tell you a little about myself. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and since I was young my parents have always encouraged me to ask questions. I was like a sponge and asked them anything and everything, especially about cars. That is where I really found my calling and what led me to Georgia Tech.
Through several internships, I have found that Corporate America isn’t the place for me. Being on the bottom-rung of a multi-national corporation with all of the bureaucracy, office politics, and general slow-pace doesn’t excite me. I like things to move at a fast-pace so I decided, that instead of becoming a corporate cog, I would start my own business. The idea of working insane hours, making below minimum wage, and getting on an emotional roller coaster appeals to me.
Luckily, GT offers a class called “Startup Lab” taught by Keith Mcgreggor, Paul Freet, and Raghupathy (Siva) Sivakumar. My friend, Kevin Miron (co-founder of FIXD), convinced me to enroll with him. The purpose of this class is to teach students how to culture the idea for a startup, beginning from customer discovery, solving real problems, and creating sustainable businesses. This class is where my love for startups really took off. The draw of being an instrumental part of something great and creating something new was thrilling.
In the class we heard about a brand new program at GT called the Startup Summer. Eight teams would be given mentorship, space, and $15,000 to pursue their startup ideas during the summer. My team and I jumped at the opportunity, we quit our summer internships, and that is where FIXD took off. Now that we have graduated from Startup Summer, my team and I have decided to do school part-time while we raise money to pursue FIXD full-time. In addition, when preparing for this part-time semester I convinced my roommates of four years to move into this new thing called the Startup House which allows entrepreneurial-focused Tech students to live together.
Occupying the 5th floor of the Crecine Apartments, Startup House is like a co-working space, but with living… a co-living space of sorts (yay buzzwords!). We just moved in two weeks ago, but it has already been a ton of fun. Any time you put extremely passionate people in close quarters awesome things will come out of it. I am extremely excited about living with these folks this coming year. The organizers (VentureLab, GT’s in-house incubator) have arranged for local founders to come in and talk about their experiences, provided prototyping equipment in the common areas, and have allocated a budget to spend as the residents see fit. GT has really taken the initiative to promote student entrepreneurship on campus. All of these programs that FIXD has been through are proof. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for FIXD and for this community. Whatever happens, I will keep you updated.