SF Ugrad Alumni Spotlight: Hugo Finkelstein ’17
“Without San Francisco, my startup Olé wouldn’t have been born!”
Hugo participated in the Semester in San Francisco program during Spring ’16.
>> Why did you decide to study in San Francisco?
For three main reasons 1) my startup Olé was at a perfect stage for the SF program, 2) my interest in tech, and 3) I love California and want to move there later in my life.
>> What is Olé?
Olé is an online marketplace for students to buy, sell, trade and offer products or services within their college community.
>> Why should people use Olé?
People should use Olé because it is a completely free marketplace, meaning no listing fee or transaction fee. It is also secure and scam-free as it is available only to students (you need an .edu email address to sign up). Sketchy encounters on Craigslist and Ebay are avoided.
>> What are some of Olé’s milestones and future goals?
We soft launched in 3 schools (Babson, Northeastern, Boston University) this September, are getting a lot of feedback, are adding features to the app and rolling out to more campuses next semester, as planned in San Francisco 😉
>> How has being in San Francisco impacted your work?
Without SF, Olé wouldn’t have been born this past summer. Networking in SF is great with so many meetups and conferences and the overall startup atmosphere is incredible. The Silicon Tech Ventures class that I took with Mary Gale was amazing for Olé because I was able to tackle every aspect of the startup (interviews, financials, operations, marketing plan). Being in SF has impacted my work so much!
>> What have you learned from working with Olé?
I learned that communication is key and working with friends can be tough and can affect friendships. I also learned that balancing school work and Olé is challenging and I need to be very organized so I don’t fall behind (both school and Olé).
>> What are some of the challenges and what advice do you have for someone working on a startup?
We faced so many challenges! We outsourced the development of the app offshore and the time and communication was terrible. Even though the price was cheap, it almost took a year to develop our first build. It was also difficult to find a CTO. My advice is hard work will always pay off, believe, and network a lot.
>> Favorite places in San Francisco and things you did for fun?
Twin Peaks, Road trip to Santa Cruz and National Parks such as Yosemite. Hayes Market was great for food and had very cool vibes.
>> Advice for students interested in spending a semester in San Francisco?
Do it!!!! It was a beautiful and life changing experience.
Hugo Finkelstein ’17