Fatma Yalcin, Curisma, Woman Entrepreneur
Either the entrepreneurs are getting younger or I am just getting older. Truth is the key to Curisma is having a smart, focused, trend spotter, gadget geek at the head of this company. I first met Fatma at an event that matched entrepreneurs with angel investors. The concept of the company peaked my interest and I went home and played around with the site. You can get a little addicted discovering new products.
Fatma grew up in Southern Turkey. She had only been to the US once before going to summer camp in middle school so coming to the US for college was a bit of a culture shock. She went to Grinnell College in Iowa where the town has a population of under 10,000. She had no idea what small town meant as to her Cambridge, MA is a small town. She loved the school so she stuck it is out majoring in econonics and spending her summers home in Turkey. Fatma took her junior year abroad at the London School of Economics in a year long program which included the summer months. It was a nice balance between the small town of Grinnell and the cosmopolitan city of London.
After graduating college Fatma took a job in Chicago working for an economic consulting group. She stayed for a year and returned to Turkey. The company she worked for in Turkey was located in Istanbul and they did freight forwarding. Her job was about international logistics, in essence an import/export company. She knew that she wanted to go to graduate school and got into MIT for their two year MBA program.
It was at MIT where she met her co-founder Eugene Gorelik at the Web 3.0 class. He is a computer scientist from Latvia who moved to the US at 17 working in a few start-ups as a developer and is now finishing his masters in system design at MIT.
Fatma admits that the idea came in to her head at the beginning of her second semester at MIT as she spent a lot of time on the web shopping for new products. She started a blog about discovering new products but found it frustrating to find the latest and greatest products that were not mass produced. She had to really dig down to find cool geeky products that nobody knew about. It was her network of friends who helped her find the best new gadgets. She launched Curisma with the concept of a way to discover cool stuff through other people. Crowd sourcing new technology products. You can follow people and users will have access to data and tools. A very targeting marketing platform.
Within 3 months of releasing the beta they have over 15000 users. They launched in October 2011. Get on Curisma and give it a try. I love that Fatma went from Turkey to Grinnell to London and Cambridge after just two years in the working world to pursue her own ideas as an entrepreneur.