2017 SVP Startup Profile: Lula
Michael Vega-Sanz ’19: President
Matthew Vega-Sanz ’19: CEO
Ryan MacDonell ’19: CMO
What is Lula?
Lula is an online marketplace, allowing individuals without a car, the ability to rent one from those that do, with an initial focus on college campuses.
What is the story behind your startup?
Being a college student without a car on campus, I (Michael) often left feeling stranded, left with inconvenient and/or costly forms of transportation. This is not a problem that only I have, but I found many college students face…The more I dug in, I realized that Lula not only has the ability to transform how transportation is seen on college campuses, but around the world. It gives individuals the ability to act have the benefits of owning a car, without the costs that come with having one. Therefore, giving people the independence that so many desire. It has the ability to change the world, impact lives in a positive manner, and is why I really want Lula to succeed.
What’s been a big milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since Summer Venture Program started?
There are several, but I will point out three because I cannot decide between them…First, was the fact that we had schools and government officials reach out to us. They would like to see Lula on their campus or cities, and that somewhat validated the company business. Second, was the fact that we were able to raise capital, and perhaps even more exciting, was that we had the ability to reject offers. At first, everyone gets so excited with their first offer, and from a founder’s perspective, you would almost be willing to take money from anyone when you’re doing your first raise. To have the ability to turn down money, was definitely not something our team envisioned a year ago, or even six months ago. Lastly, the fact that one of our largest competitors and some of the largest companies in the country are interested in partnering, and potentially investing.
What’s been a big obstacle/surprise that you faced?
Two main things about this…First, we often see the startup world as somewhat glamorized. People tend to speak about the successes, the excitement, the achievements. But, rarely do the difficulties that come with a startup get spoken about, and so at times, it feels like you are blindsided by 1000 different things at once. Second, the business will take over your life, and all aspects of it. One of the most difficult things for me is sacrificing events, vacations, activities, etc. with my friends and families.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
You must be persistent. It will be one of the most difficult, draining experiences of your life. However, it will also be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. Second, don’t just sit around a table with a notebook and think of a business to begin. Instead, find a problem that many people or companies face, and find a solution for that.
Meet Lula at the Summer Venture Showcase on Thursday July 27. Register now! >>