Lou Paris, founder of Konkeros, a company that helps international students in the U.S. land jobs here upon graduation, embodies the entrepreneurial value of facing fear of failure with courage and learning from your mistakes. "The company I started before Konkeros was a big failure," Paris said. "But after I got over the emotional disappointment, it was such a positive learning experience for me because I learned about validating the market."
The market validation lesson led directly to Konkeros. "I built my previous company in a vacuum not talking to anyone about the business problem that I was trying to solve to get their feedback," Paris said. "On the other hand with Konkeros, I didn't lift a finger until the market told me to. Konkeros is the solution to a problem that was staring me in the face for five years and I lived it everyday with international students talking to me about their pain points. I simply started asking myself is there a sustainable business model that can solve that pain. Over the last year, I've been engaged with international students everyday asking what their pain point is and what they want when they look for help finding a job in the U.S."
When international students graduate in the U.S., they encounter difficulty finding jobs for several reasons: because they don't have a network like local students, they may not be aware of how to job search in what is to them a foreign culture and also many times companies do not hire employees who need work visas. Konkeros solves this problem through technology. It utilizes a database of companies that have hired employees in the past who needed visa's and ranks the companies with regard to the likelihood they will hire the international student based on custom factors unique to each Konkeros user.
"I have a minimum feature set only right now," Paris said. "Only the most popular features students have asked for are included now. I will iterate when the market calls for it." In a nutshell, this is his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs as well. Paris urges them to read Nail It and Scale It to learn market validation and then built a prototype, not the other way around.