One of our very own Hokies, Sai Gurrapu, was selected as part of the Forbes Under 30 Scholars program and attended the 2019 summit conference this October in Detroit, packed with events and speakers including Kevin Durant, Serena Williams and Olivia Munn.
“It was an incredible opportunity (to go to) the summit,” Gurrapu said, a junior general engineering major. “I got to meet a lot of great founders and leaders and other Under 30 Scholars. I learned a lot from them — especially the speakers, who had a lot of insights to share.”
The Forbes Under 30 Scholars Program is no easy accomplishment, as Gurrapu was one of only 1,000 students selected from around the world.
“One of my friends was selected for this last year, and he suggested that I also apply to it,” Gurrapu said. “I applied to it back in September, and after that I heard back from them, and I was selected.”
The 2019 summit was no joke either. Over 9,000 global attendees participated in the event, as well as an A-list speaker lineup of celebrities involved in business, prominent entrepreneurs and iconic founders.
“I had a chance to mingle with the other Under 30 Scholars. That was a cool opportunity because I got to meet all these people from all these different places,” Gurrapu said. “We even had a special Under 30 Scholars programming that was geared toward us.”
Along with being a Forbes Under 30 Scholar, Gurrapu is involved in several organizations related to entrepreneurship and is even working on projects of his own.
“I’m actively involved in Apex, which is the entrepreneurship center at Virginia Tech,” Gurrapu said. “I’m also in the entrepreneurship club at Virginia Tech, both of which foster entrepreneurial growth. I’m just working on current projects, and I can seek out help from others because most of the people there are very experienced. It’s great getting to know other people who share the same interests as me.”
Gurrapu is also actively involved in his own startup company, a ridesharing app for Virginia Tech students.
“So, I’m currently working on this project called Hitchhike, which is a ridesharing app for Virginia Tech that I started with a few friends here,” he said. “It’s been going pretty well, and we’ve recently raised some funding for it from the Apex center.”
The app was designed to create a solution for students who don’t have easy access to cars.
“So, we started Hitchhike back around May, and currently we have an actual product launch, but we’re gearing up for an upcoming second marketing campaign around Thanksgiving,” Gurrapu said. “The original reason we created this application was that we felt the need for a better carpool system (for rides back home) than the Facebook group.”
Gurrapu thought of the idea after experiencing his own troubles using Facebook groups to find a ride home for breaks –– necessity is the mother of invention, of course.
“We do have 160 users at this point, but we’re hoping to get most of the people from the Facebook group into this application,” Gurrapu said, “We thought there needed to be a better, more user friendly and convenient platform.”
Having already been named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and working on his own startup while in college, Gurrapu continues to set his sights on the future.
“Currently I’m really interested in doing research for machine learning. I would like to pursue that further,” Gurrapu said. “Down the road, I hope to eventually work on solutions that solve the world’s most pressing issues using machine learning.”