RPI Commencement 2014: David Vorick – A Computer Science Degree, a Start-Up Business, and the Skills To Make It Happen
May 21, 2014
David Vorick is leaving Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with more than a degree in computer science; he’s also taking with him a fledgling cryptocurrency and cloud storage business, and the entrepreneurial skills he and his co-founder learned at Rensselaer. The business is Sia, a decentralized cloud storage solution, and after graduation, Vorick and co-founder Luke Champine are moving their shop across the country to Silicon Valley.
“The highest concentration of software developers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, as well as technology early adopters, is in Silicon Valley, which is why we’ve decided to move there,” said Vorick, a native of Palatine, Illinois. “We believe that our product is cheaper, faster, and more secure than existing alternatives, which is why we’re willing to give up comfy jobs and start a company.”
Vorick traces the roots of Sia back to his work with the Rensselaer Center for Open-Source Software (RCOS), an academic club that develops open source software projects. There, Vorick began programming, and found a community of students who, like himself, were interested in Bitcoin and related ideas.
“I’ve been involved with RCOS for two years now, and it’s been the most rewarding part of my college experience. It’s most important service is teaching students how to be good software developers, which involves a lot more than being able to write good code,” Vorick said. “RCOS teaches you how to create full applications, and it teaches you how to build things that are useful.”
While researching cryptocurrency on his own, and through opportunities like HackMIT and as a finalist in Ycombinator, Vorick and Champine also built up their business chops with help from the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer. Vorick has been involved with the Severino Center for about a year, when he first started thinking of starting a company.
“Neither of us have any business experience, and the Severino Center has been very helpful in getting us ready to enter the business world,” Vorick said. “They’ve offered me a substantial amount of advice and help with regards to figuring out my product and my customer base, how to secure funding, and other ways to move forward with Sia.”
Before he found his calling, Vorick dipped his hand into other campus groups—he played on Trudge, the men’s ultimate Frisbee team his freshman year—but his parting advice to younger entrepreneurial students is that they make a connection with both RCOS and Severino.
“I don’t think I could have gotten as far as I have without RCOS and the Severino Center, and it’s a very exciting part of my life,” Vorick said. “I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”