Contrary Capital offers student entrepreneurs a helping hand


Photo Courtesy of Contrary Capital

Will Robbins (back, right) pictured with other student investors involved with Contrary Capital, and Eric Tarczynski, founder of Contrary Capital.

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

For yet another year, the University fell inside the top 10 on the list of undergraduate engineering schools of 2018, placing at No. 6 in the U.S. News & World Report’s updated list.

Known as an engineering powerhouse around the world, the ranking backs up the University’s pride for the program.

While some pursue jobs working for tech companies, there are few students who prove to be more resilient and dedicated than others by choosing the path of entrepreneurship rather than working for another company.

Many students come up with ideas that are innovative and have potential for success in today’s industry, but for just about anyone, the task of starting a company is extremely difficult.

However, it seems that the growth of University-level entrepreneurs is soon to be met with the proper resources to jump start students’ dreams of becoming business owners.

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Contrary Capital is a rising venture capital fund focused on investing in university entrepreneurs across the country. Although a relatively small company, staffing one full-time and 100 part-time employees, Contrary Capital is backed by some of the biggest tech moguls.

Its notable investors include Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, as well as Emmett Shear who co-founded Twitch, a video streaming platform.

The company started with the idea of simply offering the hundreds of entrepreneurs at universities a chance to pursue a full-sized launch of their company. But what makes it special is that besides Eric Tarczynski, the founder of the company, all other 100 employees are  student investors located in universities supported by the company.      

The student-to-student communication allows aspiring entrepreneurs to speak with someone on their own level and perspective. Here at the University, there are three student investors looking to leave their impact on campus by doing their part at Contrary Capital: Shedding light on their fellow peers who are pursuing success in entrepreneurship.

The University team consists of Nathan Ju, freshman in computer science, Arnav Mishra, masters student in computer science and Will Robbins, junior in computer science.

While all three students are from CS backgrounds, they all became part of Contrary Capital for reasons beyond that.

“I can’t get enough of it,” Robbins said when asked about how his experience as managing partner for the company has been so far.

Contrary Capital has already made an impact by funding up-and-coming companies. Additive Rocket Corporation and Cortex Healthcare are two examples of growing companies that will thrive in today’s tech industry given the proper exposure.

It’s common to hear established members of the “entrepreneur world” say time and time again to keep innovating no matter what and to always strive for excellence.

However, it is easier said than done.

Many students lack the proper resources to achieve a professional standing with their companies, but Contrary Capital is one of few organizations proving to be the glimmer of hope needed to bring to light the amazing innovations of tomorrow, today.

“So many impactful companies of the past couple decades have been started at universities. At UIUC alone, that includes PayPal, YouTube, Netscape, Oracle and more,” Robbins said. “We don’t think that’s ever going to change and we’ll be here to support that next great company, whatever it may be.”

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