2021 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Stack, University of Washington (Foster)

Stack

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Industry: FinTech

Founding Student Name(s): Will Rush

Brief Description of Solution: The super-highway for stock, crypto and other digital asset transfer

Funding Dollars: We are currently raising a $1M pre-seed round

What led you to launch this venture? When I was a child, I got really into cars. I was heavily influenced by my dad who loved cars. I loved going to car shows with him and one year my parents even rented my favorite car for my birthday. My grandparents and family friends would all get me car models as a present for special occasions. Why was it so easy for everyone around me to invest in this hobby of mine, but still so difficult in 2021 to invest in the financial future of someone you care about? Contributing to investment accounts and providing the inertia for financial literacy should be simple. As web3 slowly comes into focus, the walled gardens of finance are beginning to fall. Stack is the financial infrastructure to make giving stock, crypto, and other digital assets easy. It doesn’t end with just peer-to-peer giving either. I envision a future where people, brands and employers all contribute to your financial success and do so seamlessly.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? It will sound cliché, but resilience. The dogma of startup life will either spit you out piece-by-piece or draw you in deeper-and-deeper. Over the past six months I have made $0, I’ve struggled to keep my non-work life afloat and I’ve been told ‘no’ or ‘I don’t get it’ about a thousand times. I’ve also never known more about myself, connected more deeply with the people around me, and been more positive about the impact I want to make on the world.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? A class called Computer Science Entrepreneurship changed my life. The class is run by the founder of Rover and Pioneer Square Labs, Greg Gottesman and long-time Seattle CS leader, Ed Lazowska. The guest speaker list included the founders and/or CEOs of companies like Amazon (Andy Jassy), Remitly (Matt Oppenheimer), Convoy (Dan Lewis), Techstars (Brad Feld), and Geekwire (John Cook), among so many others. The shockingly simple lesson I took away from it all: good people make great businesses. They are unwavering in their mission, care deeply about the people that help them turn that vision into reality, and never stop listening to the people impacted by everything they build.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Eddie Behringer, a local Seattle-based 4x founder (including SnapRaise and Copper) has been an incredible mentor to me over the past two years. His authenticity, calm coolness, and relentlessly positive outlook are all qualities I aspire to as a leader. In one line of questioning, Eddie can turn a complex problem into something very simple and achievable.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Greg Daniels (writer of The Office) once said in an interview, “Changing American comedy is like steering a cruise ship… you have to do so one degree at a time.” I think finance is very similar. If Stack can make investing just 1% more approachable or easy to do, that’s the mission.

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