Enjoying Controlled Chaos - by Ariana Chae '15


     While all Olin students share a passion for change and innovation, few take that passion as far as Evan Morikawa ('11). As Evan likes to put it, he loves the thrill of "not knowing what [he'll] be doing three months from now," and has a "desire for controlled chaos." Evan pursues this type of lifestyle by throwing himself into the startup culture of Boston.

     Evan has been nurturing an interest in entrepreneurship and startups since his sophomore year at Olin. He was heavily involved with the Foundry during his time at Olin, and even took a year off to start his own business with a group of other students. Evan was accepted into Harvard Business School's 2+2 Program, and since graduating he has already worked on several different endeavors. Over the past year he has worked on Shadowbox, an online group album that allows users to share pictures with others more easily, and also as a HackStar at TechStars, a startup incubator program.

     Currently, Evan is working on Proximate, a web application that works as both a ticketing service and a networking tool. People can buy tickets for events like professional conferences through the site, and after providing some initial information, they are connected to other attendees with whom they share common interests. Evan believes this is an "interesting problem" focusing on a "genuine need" - at a large event, it is not always easy to identify and interact with those who may provide valuable insights and connections, and this tool will help alleviate that problem.

      During our conversation, Evan brought up a point that I found very interesting. He said that when working on a startup, what's important is not necessarily the business plan or the idea itself. Rather, the key to success is to find the "all star team" with people you enjoy working with. "Finding that fit is the point," he said. In regards to the team at Proximate, Evan added, "I've never worked better with anyone else in my life."

      Evan advises, "Focus on who you can work with and in what environments." Given Olin's teamwork and project-based curriculum, there can be no better place to apply that advice than during our time as students at Olin College.


The Proximate team at work.
From left to right: Evan's co-founder Robb Fitzsimmons, Evan himself, and Wei Pan.

Posted in: Alumni Speak, Life in a Start-up