Risk and Student Entrepreneurship in Dallas

If there’s one sentiment that’s most commonly associated with entrepreneurship, it’s that we’re more prone to taking risks. And not just the financial kind.

But if you ask Southern Methodist University student and DEC member, Luciano Vizza, that risk is really just a perception.

“I’ve had many friends ask how I could do something like this. How could I give up my summer,working for no money, starting a business that could very well end up failing like so many others?” says Vizza.

But he would argue that there isn’t a risk. After going through SMU’s “Accelerate Your Startup Class,” and because of his membership at the the DEC,  he’s “surrounded by a community, with the opportunity to validate ideas.” Because of that opportunity, the amount of risk is actually diminished.

Experiencing this idea of community — in both his class and at the DEC this summer — Vizza has been able to build a business idea and test its feasibility. “There are awesome mentors here at the DEC that we get to check in with. I can talk to other startups and get feedback and learn from their experience.

Vizza’s startup was inspired through his involvement with the SMU Entrepreneurship Club. “I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, and love that environment.” It only made sense that he helped found the undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club at SMU.

“We had a ton of people sign up for the club, but soon found out that most people would RSVP for events, but they wouldn’t ever show up,” says Vizza. And that’s what seeded the idea for Crowdspeak.

photo 1 (1)Crowdspeak is an app that empowers the members of a group into their organization’s planning process. “Group leaders are still the admin of the group, but members are engaged and their feedback is important.”

This helps to guarantee that, because members are participating in planning and discussion around events, they’re connected and involved — and therefore, more likely to attend the event that’s being planned. Vizza developed the idea for Crowdspeak with co-founder Maxwell Gattuso, and has been working with Zack Crosby and Matthew Golden on the app this summer.

Vizza has made good use of his time at the DEC, attending events and taking advantage of the access that he has to the mentors and advisors there around him.

It seems there’s a lesson for all of us with startups — there’s definitely a risk, building something by yourself. But taking advantage of the resources in a community like ours, accessing the opportunities available — suddenly there’s a lot more to be optimistic about.


By the way, you can follow Crowdspeak on Facebook and Twitter!

Rachel Winstead

Rachel is a freelance writer and works at Soap Hope in downtown Dallas. She hates the term "disrupt," tweets about startups, and appreciates a well-crafted hashtag.