Three Panthers find their entrepreneurial niche

Matteo Santavicca, one of the minds behind Vetek Consulting. Photo by Julieann Tran | The Signal

Matteo Santavicca, Viraj Shah and Solo Arnett found purpose in their jobs before graduating from Georgia State. Say hello to their business, Vetek Consulting, a software-driven consultation company dedicated to creating effective business strategies for startups in the metro-Atlanta area. Vetek has even been able to hire another Georgia State student, Phillip Kinney, as their intern since their start in March 2017.

While Santavicca is in control of most of the business affairs, Shah and Arnett build applications, websites and digital tools which are used by their clients and their clients’ clientele. Five days a week, many times including after classes, the team gets together to work at their home-office.

Call it what you want; good luck or good timing, Santavicca would argue that it takes a few other things to create a business. He allots dedication, desire and time to the startup’s successes and credits the three characteristics for allowing the Georgia State students to harness their individual entrepreneurial spirits and extend it into their friendship-turned-business.

The Signal sat down with Santavicca to discuss Vetek Consulting and Georgia State’s role in the making of these students’ opportunities.

 

What’s your major?

Finance and Economics. I started from computer science and switched when I realized I was teaching myself everything. I decided that my degree would be worth more when I was learning more inside the classroom. I figured I’d still do coding on the side, but now I’ve been doing more business-oriented things. I wanted to create my own business, which is what’s sort of happening right now.

Vetek Consulting has more of an engineering, software focus, so are you still doing coding?

I’m doing more so business strategy, which is vague at this early stage of a startup. It includes so many different tasks at this point: finding clients, strategizing about how to grow and how to implement new processes. What makes sense and what doesn’t in terms of marketing is kind of the basics of where I stand. Our demographic is start-up oriented, so this [business] side has a lot of perks. There’s lot of uncertainty going on, but you have to funnel it into a direction and that’s where I come in.

Considering that Vetek is a start-up company supporting other start-up businesses, how do you approach ground-level developments for your clients?

We will have the first consultation with a client where we plan the architecture of our client’s envisioned application or website. From there, we consider the viability of their idea. We don’t want to deter anyone from their own personal idea, but we take the opportunity to accentuate what they give to us. The goal is to mold their idea into something compatible with a software platform that we create but also responds to their given clientele.

What we like to do is do everything in sprints or phases, which means the client can participate in the course of development with us by simply monitoring each phase. This ensures that we are always on the same page and we can cater to them easier.

What impact has Georgia State had on you personally and, specifically, Vetek Consulting?

One of the things about being a business major is that courses will teach what people need to do so a company is sound, but applying it into a startup field is extremely uncertain. Georgia State offers free startup consultations through the Launch GSU program, which let me participate in the Startup Exchange. It’s a 10-week session on campus that walks through business models and processes. It showcases fundamental lessons for prospective or current entrepreneurs at Georgia State.

What advice do you have for students looking to take on an entrepreneurial opportunity like starting a business while still enrolled in classes?

I would recommend to not be deterred from your idea, but always do a bunch of research. Whatever business you’re looking to get into, you have to see what else is out there. The successful services and projects that similar companies have created are what you want to emulate. Networking and word of mouth is what will put you in front of the things you are looking for.

Come up with your idea. Know your idea inside and out. Go to networking events. Try to imagine how your business would exist from all sorts of different facets. Conduct as much research as possible, and even if it has been done, how has it been done because there’s another way it hasn’t, so really executing your idea is the way you’ll differentiate your company.

Whenever thinking of your idea, you need to think about all of your marketing, financing and even organizational structure has to be examined. Looking into the future is one of the biggest things because you have to see where your company will be and how you will get there.

 

Find your niche

As university students, we often get hung-up on post-graduation fantasies. Before graduation, we imagine our careers as intangible destinies. We assume we aren’t quite ready to step into the career field because usually, we feel that we’re not ready. We think of how our lives will be “better” post-graduation, but can only see transformations in the future; those same visions are almost never present-tensed. We stray from the possibilities of today due to the fear of failure tomorrow, and we’re majorly screwing ourselves over.

Santavicca says that same kind of mindset is what prevents students from achieving purpose in their careers, and is especially stopping individuals from satisfying the millennial-wave of entrepreneurship that’s dominating today’s workforce.

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