19-year-old Wonder from the Land Down Under

As a student Chintan Parikh is already making waves with multiple startups, successful projects and campus leadership roles. Get to know one of Atlanta’s recent transplants and startup enthusiasts.

Class of:

What is your major?
Computer Science

What are you currently working on outside of class?
I co-founded Cappio with a few friends. We’re trying to empower regular investors by giving them dead simple stock reports and recommendations that anyone could understand.

I’m also running the Atlanta sessions for Sam Altman’s How to Start a Startup class at Stanford.

What past projects have you worked on?
I co-founded Georgia Tech’s entrepreneurial organization Startup Exchange around the second semester of my freshman year, and it was one hell of a ride.

We grew Startup Exchange from 8 people sitting around a table into a movement that absolutely took off. Now, there are 50-70 people who cram into a tiny room in the library every Friday, all who live and breathe entrepreneurship. We built a bunch of smaller teams that have all gone on to do amazing things, including Georgia Tech’s first national hackathon – HackGT, and the first student run incubator program in the country – Startup Semester.

I’ve also been around the hackathon circuit, and we’ve built a few cool projects, including an augmented reality headset made of scrap parts and a dead simple way to buy bitcoin (after processing around $10k in a weekend and getting a funding offer from a well known Atlanta angel, the IRS unfortunately changed their stance on bitcoin and we had to shut it down).

Cappio also started out as a completely different product over at http://pennywhale.com. Basically let’s you find any stock information through natural language searches.

What are your best technical or creative skills?
I’m definitely strongest in Rails – I interned after I graduated high school at a web development shop back in Australia, and I’ve been working with it ever since. I’d also consider myself pretty well versed in UI and UX design, and I can hack together Javascript. I also like to think I know how to write, and I blog over at http://chintanparikh.github.io.

What’s next on your list to learn?
Honestly, taking time off from school to found Cappio has taught me just how different startups are in practice. I used to teach Startup Semester, and I realize now that I was basically just regurgitating information I thought I knew. So really, I just want to learn how this whole startup thing works. Customer discovery, getting traction, and pretty much everything else is far more difficult in practice, so I’m definitely excited to see what I learn in the next few months.

Why the interest in startups?
Startups changed my life. Like most CS majors, I came into Georgia Tech dreaming of working at Google. I didn’t really even realize there was an alternative. And then I met a senior at the start of Spring semester my freshman year, and he showed me that following my passions and a career aren’t actually mutually exclusive. Ever since then, I’ve been extremely lucky to have been surrounded by incredibly passionate people who have brushed off on me and made me a better person.

Post graduation plans?
Definitely startups. I can’t really see myself doing anything else.