Since Stellup was founded in 2015, the company has grown into a group of ten core team members and campus ambassadors. We asked co-founders Vincenzo Belpiede and Giuseppe Belpiede about the platform.
How did you come up with the idea behind Stellup?
Vince: We came up with the idea for Stellup after we graduated from university. We were both travelling a lot and eventually lived in a combined 15 different countries. With each move, it became challenging to make new friends or find contacts who might be nearby. Whenever we arrived in a new place, we did our best to look up friends from our schools or people who have worked with us, but we found that there was no easy way to find everyone. We built Stellup originally as an alumni networking platform and realized very quickly that it also offered the potential to meet the needs of universities and other institutions.
What is the origin of the name Stellup?
Vince: In trying to decide on a name, we thought of a metaphor for “favoriting” someone in a network, like a star, which in Italian is called “Stella”. Since initially you would swipe up to connect with someone we combined “Stella” with “up” and “Stellup” was born.
How did your IB experience influence your career path?
Vince: The Diploma Programme motivated me to explore the world, travel, and work abroad. Today I lead an international team spanning three continents. All of these experiences have given me a truly global perspective and a better business sense.
Giuseppe: I attended two different IB schools in Italy as I moved from Rome to Milan. I was lucky to have a growing network of friends that has helped me throughout life with many from my IB years.
What do you see as the future of apps/technology?
Vince & Giuseppe: Looking at historical trends, mobile is taking over. Take a look at this report mobile is eating the world. As this happens, crowdfunding keeps becoming popular everywhere even schools and educational institutions. For instance we launched a successful fundraising campaign on our crowdfunding platform with Alcuin IB School in Dallas, Texas collecting donations for a scholarship fund.
Most startups today rely heavily on big data and machine learning to make sense of huge amounts of information and provide smart and relevant recommendations. This includes IOT (the Internet of things) watches, bracelets, clothes, and home items connected and controllable from the internet. Bots and automated messaging services are growing within this field. I believe these all have the potential to improve our lives.
What advice would you give to students that want to get into this type of work?
Vince: I have four basic recommendations for students and recent grads:
- Work on something that you are super passionate about so that it never feels like work.
- Work on something meaningful that brings value to society.
- Work with a great team and work every day to build that team and make it better.
- Start by building your experience before you jump into your own startup; many entrepreneurs with successful companies began when they were over the age of 30.