Larta Institute demonstrated its global knowledge and commitment to homegrown, early stage innovations in an event presented by the USC Stevens Center for Innovation.  The 2017 Student Innovator Showcase, in its 11th year, featured 24 USC student teams boasting innovations with global impact. Larta Institute’s founder and ceo, Rohit Shukla, was the keynote speaker, and chief strategy officer Carlos Gutierrez was a panel judge.

From the Judge’s Seat
As a judge, Carlos had a firsthand look at innovations launched by students from the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Keck School of Medicine, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, among others. The innovations ranged from Carbon Thumbprint, a transcutaneous carbon dioxide monitor for babies, which won the $10,000 USC Stevens Breakthrough Innovation Award to EventAll, an online platform for organizers to create custom event apps tailored to their needs to provide fans the best possible experience, which won the $10,000 Diem Shotwell Metcalfe Family Fund Best Business Concept Award.

“It was an honor to serve as a judge and partner up with the great team at the USC Stevens Center for Innovation at this year’s showcase,” said Carlos, “Once again, the range and maturity of the ideas presented were impressive, from businesses with grassroots sales and customers to social impact ventures with a global scale.”

Rohit Shukla’s Keynote – Your Entrepreneurial Journey
“The spirit, enthusiasm and ingenuity of the teams was on full display. For us, the event was a great expression of hope, for emerging innovations this early in their evolution. USC Stevens continue to demonstrate their creativity, openness, and success in bringing together multiple disciplines to present at the Student Innovator Showcase and we look forward to continuing our great relationship,” Rohit Shukla, on the event.

Larta founder and ceo Rohit Shukla addressed student entrepreneurs, university faculty, and fellow business leaders in his keynote address entitled, “Your Entrepreneurial Journey.”

Below are select highlights from Rohit’s keynote, available in full here.

The 5 W’s
Rohit asserted that the “5 Ws” that are critical to an entrepreneur’s journey are questions that need to be addressed convincingly: “Why, What, When, Who, Why”

Why- “Why are you doing this? Is it personal drive or intellectual curiosity?”

What- “Be precise; this is your answer to the Why.”

When- “When are you going to do this? What is your timeline?”

Who- “Who is going to care about your product? Who is going to be directly or indirectly affected by your product?”

Why- “Why again: you must be able to grab, amend, modify, and move on. There is a certain circularity involved in being an entrepreneur and it always goes back to the Why.”


Expect the Unexpected
“Be disciplined, but recognize that the unexpected is right around the corner. How would you, as an entrepreneur, respond in the face of unexpected forces that come your way?”


A Network-Centric Model
“When developing a board of advisors, make sure that they are able to do very specific things for you and your company, not just act as window dressings.”

“Your board should open doors for you and put themselves on the line to make you respectable since you offer an unproven proposition.”