Meet my friend Siya Raj Purohit, who is an investor and an operator in the Future of Work sector!
SPIFFY: What challenge are you addressing?
SIYA: I’m trying to help build a more equitable world in which everyone has the opportunity to realize their dreams through education.
SPIFFY: Why do you do it?
SIYA: During college, many of my friends dropped out of engineering because they struggled to keep up with the rigor and pace of classes. They could have become great engineers but ended up taking jobs that didn’t fully utilize their potential. I believe that Edtech has the potential to change that by providing accessible solutions that fit every individual’s goals and performance. With income disparities rising across the world and the threats of automation real, Edtech has the power to prevent social upheaval and give everyone a pathway to financial stability.
SPIFFY: Tell me about a recent initiative by you. What impact does that make?
SIYA: I recently launched Dreams for the Future (of Work), an online publication that features promising startups, innovative ideas, and influential people building out the Future of Work sector. I’m excited to help more people learn about the sector, and hopefully build more awesome solutions for the space.
SPIFFY: What's your advice for recent graduates?
SIYA: It’s undoubtedly a tough economic climate. But I believe that we’ll look back at the post-recovery period as a modern day renaissance. So many of the products and companies that become an integral part of our lives will come out in the next few years. And most of them are startups right now.
If you have the chance, I highly recommend starting your career at a startup. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- You’ll report to someone who would’ve been levels above you at a big company. If you join a good startup, you won’t be reporting to someone who is just marginally ahead in their career (there’s no room for that on the cap table!) — you’ll report to someone who is far ahead in their career. This will help you get stronger mentorship and access to a wider network.
- Since startups always have more to accomplish than their resources enable, you can quickly take on new tasks that interest you. You can grow as quickly as you’d like - taking on responsibilities and projects when you’re ready, not only when you’re promoted on cycle.
- You’ll form deeper relationships with colleagues. At a startup, you have to fight daily for the right to survive. The intensity and unpredictability of being at an early-stage company fosters deep relationships between co-workers.
- You’ll be an *owner* of the company, far beyond the stock. One afternoon while I was at Udacity, a teammate sent out a message reminding everyone to keep the sink clear of dishes. Within a few minutes, CEO Sebastian Thrun was in the kitchen -- washing up all of the leftover dishes. That small incident perfectly reflects the ownership of being at a startup. No matter who you are , everything is your responsibility.
SPIFFY: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
SIYA: My younger sister introduced me to TikTok. So I’m learning how to Renegade.
Siya Raj Purohit is an investor and operator in the Future of Work sector. She currently leads partnerships at Springboard, an online school that teaches job-ready skills. Before that, she invested in education/talent tech companies at GSV Ventures and was an early employee at Udacity. Siya is the author of Engineering America, a book on America’s jobs-skills gap, and an alum of the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University.