OwlSpark | Rice University Startup Accelerator | PeopleWise: Andrew Swick
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PeopleWise: Andrew Swick

This week we had the opportunity to sit down with tech entrepreneur and OwlSpark Class 1 alumni, Andrew Swick, founder of CheckedTwice.

Andrew’s journey into entrepreneurship took a few career changes to develop. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical engineering, but was frustrated with the structured nature of engineering research. He decided to make the transition into management consulting, but he was dissatisfied with creating solutions for others, losing control of the end solution when the project ended. He needed an industry where he could have ownership of his work, and drive what he wanted to work on.

Andrew decided to head back to school for his MBA at the Yale School of Management to prepare for a career in high-tech web and software development. In preparation for finding a job after graduation, he started creating a portfolio of projects, including a gift registry he created for his family.

The gift registry was made available to the public in 2009 and slowly grew its user base. In 2011, The New York Times published a story about the registry, and after witnessing the attention it received, Andrew decided he had an idea worth pursuing. The venture launched in 2012.

The next summer, the CheckedTwice team and several interns from Rice University joined the first cohort of OwlSpark. OwlSpark led them through the entrepreneurial educational process as they worked on smaller projects within the company.

Andrew went on to elaborate that even years after his product launch, he still makes personal visits to customers to gauge what their problems are and how he can adapt to meet their needs.

Talk to customers, provide your own customer service, keep on talking to them, keep on talking to them, keep on talking to them.

Nurturing these relationships with his customers has not only helped him deliver a product his customers want, but this sets him apart from most other companies, and it has also led to new business avenues. Today, Andrew leans on his experience to serve as a valuable mentor for OwlSpark.

I think this is true of most entrepreneurs, that they want to be involved in the entrepreneurial community, they want to give back to that community, they want to participate in it, and they like the energy.
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