If you’re at all intrigued by the entrepreneurship program at Siena College and are eager to learn more, stay right here. We caught up with Siena graduate Kevin Danaher, who majored in computer science and minored in entrepreneurship, to talk about the entrepreneurship program, dancing, Siena and more.
During his time here, he actually created a business directly tied to one of his passions—and is still working on mobile apps to this day. Check it out.
What have you been up to since graduating from Siena in 2017?
I am currently a freelance iOS developer (a mobile app developer) and a dance teacher. I’m also working on two different dance-related startups. One called Ready For Dance is a website that provides monthly lesson plans to dance teachers and studio owners. My mom has owned a dance studio for almost 30 years and wanted to use some of the knowledge she (and her staff) has gained over the years in a different way. She and her best friend (who is also one of her teachers) make all the lesson plans and I manage the website, content, etc. The second startup I am working on is called RunThrough. RunThrough is a second attempt at what my friends and I started in college. I started RunThrough by myself this time with the intent to grow slowly over time. I’m launching at few studios in the area next season.
Tell us about the business you started as a student at Siena.
The business was called TeachMe; it was a mobile app to help dancers have videos of the choreography that they learned every week. I co-founded the company with two friends Firmin Alexander and Jen Hogan. We were a really good team; I did development, Firmin did marketing, and Jen handled operations. We had a ton of interest and a successful beta test of the app our senior year.
While we were at Siena we placed in their Spark Tank competition, went to the finals of the NYS Business Plan Competition, secured funding, and got accepted into the StartFast Summer Accelerator program. After college we lived in Syracuse for 3 months for the StartFast program, working harder than we ever thought we could. We learned a lot over that summer, met amazing people, and in the end decided that TeachMe wasn’t what we wanted at that time. We decided to dissolve the company—however we still see it as a success. Successfully failed early and didn’t waste time and money chasing something we knew wasn’t going to happen.
How did being at Siena impact the development of that idea, and your study of entrepreneurship?
I can guarantee that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The resources at the Stack Center were paramount when I co-founded the company my junior year in college. They supported us in learning what starting a business really meant, helped us raise money from competitions and investors, and actually get college credit for working on our own business.
What makes Siena such a great place for aspiring entrepreneurs in general?
Easily the sense of community. It seems like that’s the answer for everything Siena-related but it’s really true! Everyone is there to help and actually wants to. And as I said, the resources and knowledge that the Stack Center provide are priceless. Starting a business is hard, and it’s invaluable to have a group of people sitting in a room that are dedicated to helping you through it.
Now turning it over to you prospective students: sound like you’re kind of college experience? Here’s a bit more info. Offered as a minor or concentration through Siena’s Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, our program will teach you to:
- Develop and present real business plans for startups
- Hire and lead employees
- Establish your legal entity
- Build brand personality and manage your brand
- Secure funding from investors
And you’ll take classes like:
- New Product Development
- Small Business Development
- Entrepreneurial Finance
- New Venture Creation
- Seminar in Entrepreneurship
- Independent Study in Entrepreneurship