GSVlabs is a global innovation platform based in the heart of Silicon Valley. We accelerate startups and connect corporations to exponential technologies, business models, and ideas. GSVlabs creates powerful network effects by catalyzing the innovation ecosystem and connecting Silicon Valley to the World and the World to Silicon Valley.
Above all else, we believe the “one-size-fits-all” mold is not what shapes entrepreneurs. We believe each person has his or her own path to entrepreneurship. Their own trail to blaze.
From an early age, Ishan has always been a goal orientated thinker. While most kids were busy spending time with friends and cutting class, Ishan was figuring out who he wanted to be 8 years from now.
And like that, a switch was flipped. Ishan got serious at school and spent countless hours studying and preparing for the science fair each year. Yet, he always came up short.
Ishan definitely started early, and his hard work paid off–being accepted into Stanford University for undergrad. And as time progressed, he also discovered his passion for helping people. Slowly, this passion evolved into Synocate.
In 2009, when Ishan was just a freshman at Stanford, his brother was also going through the college application process.
While Ishan didn’t realize it at the time, these emails were the first indications of a need for his eventual company, Synocate. After helping out his brother, Ishan converted these emails into a book titled “The Applicant”–intended at helping others who wish to “crack the college application process.” The book became an instant success and bestseller on Amazon. During all of this, Ishan was still just a sophomore in college. Even so, people contacted him left and right on all social media platforms.
The cover of Ishan’s book
Ishan slowly realized there was a need for the service he provided to his brother. He began taking calls from parents and helping students through the process with Skype video sessions.
Despite the success he had in helping mentor students, families, and friends, Ishan didn’t seriously consider starting his own company based on his experiences.
And after graduating with a degree in Economics and Public Policy, Ishan joined Silver Lake Ventures, a 39 billion dollar venture capital fund, as an analyst in Menlo Park.
While at Silver Lake, Ishan learned to think long term. It was an atmosphere of doers. People thinking about how to convert one million to a hundred million. It was more than just thinking about where the company would go in months or years. It was focused on where the company could go in twenty to thirty years.
Ishan learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful company at Silver Lake–along with all the logistical challenges to consider. He stayed with Silver Lake for two years before beginning to seriously think about his earlier experiences at Stanford. Synocate was ready to be born.
Even while he was working at Silver Lake, people kept repeatedly asking about his book and expertise. There were so many families around him looking for any advice he could provide.
Synocate is an education startup that takes a holistic approach to college admissions–using data insights and counsellors to highlight the strengths of applicants.
Starting a company is hard. Ishan drew on the insight he gained at Silver Lake to help overcome early roadblocks. Scope, scale, feasibility were all difficult questions Ishan tackled initially.
Additionally, there are a lot existing players, a lot of localized markets trying to accomplish similar goals. People who want a service like Synocate are already paying for it locally. However, Ishan comments that these alternative solutions aren’t the most optimal, and that the most important factor to success is making people aware of Synocate. Once this happens, people will naturally gravitate towards Synocate.
Even with so many challenges, Ishan doesn’t regret a thing.
It hasn’t been a singular journey. Ishan has leveraged the networks around him to their full potential, like GSVlabs, and benefited from the connections made.
Ishan pitching Synocate to a group of students and school administrators in July
For Ishan, Synocate is more than just a company. It’s about changing, helping, and improving the lives of students for the better. It’s about creating a whole new system of thinking and placing students at the forefront–giving them the tools to succeed in their lives.
Ishan sees Synocate as more than just a tool for students to get into the colleges of their dreams.
The Synocate team and their interns at GSVlabs.
Ishan has taken the first step towards realizing that larger dream.
To find out more about GSVlabs, Synocate, and Ishan, please connect and follow us on Medium, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also find Synocate on Twitter and Facebook.
This piece was written by Michael Guo.