Three Former CS Students Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

1-10-17
Writer(s): Kristyn Childres

Three former Purdue computer science students were recently named to this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which honors exceptional innovators under the age of 30.

Prahasith Veluvolu, Jacobi Petrucciani and Colton Voege are the co-founders of Mimir, a startup that aims to build an ecosystem of products that will follow computer scientists throughout their entire education and into their career lifecycles. 

Making the CS classroom global
Their first product, Mimir Classroom, is a cloud-based platform that provides quick, automated grading of programming coursework as well as course management tools. It also has an algorithm to detect plagiarism. It is now in use by more than 70 universities with computer science courses, growing from about 20 just one year ago.

Every time an instructor creates a project on Mimir, they have the option to share the project publicly with other instructors. Any instructor can pull public projects into their own course and assign it to their students with just a few clicks. 

Currently, Mimir has graded more than 7 million computer projects and hosts more than 250 GB of submitted project files and code.

From classroom to career
Mimir’s second product, HireOrbit, connects companies to promising candidates. HireOrbit helps companies streamline their hiring processes, offering high-level candidate screening and technical interviewing. It also serves as a candidate management tool, taking applicants from screening to signed offer. The company is working on ideas to assist computer science curricula for high school and lower grade levels as well.

Running a company from a dorm room
Petrucciani, Veluvolu and Voege started Mimir in their dorm rooms in the fall of 2014. 

“It was chaotic,” Veluvolu admits. “We would wake up in time to go to class and run sales calls from coffee shops in between classes. At night, we’d go on a Skype call to update each other on our progress. Then we would code from our dorm rooms until one or two in the morning.”

Their hard work paid off. After winning Purdue’s Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition, they were accepted into YCombinator, a prestigious Silicon Valley startup incubator, in 2015. 

Named after a Norse myth
Mimir is named after a figure in Norse mythology renowned for his knowledge and wisdom. “When we were looking for a name for our company, we were watching the TV show Vikings one day and they mentioned Mimir. We thought it was really cool, and we ran with it,” said Veluvolu. 

Helping future entrepreneurs
Mimir is headquartered in The Anvil, a coworking space created by and for Purdue students and the surrounding community that is adjacent to Purdue’s campus. “One of the reasons that we chose to headquarter our company in the Lafayette area is to help other entrepreneurs. We’ve found that Purdue is a huge source of resources, particularly in terms of talent.”

When asked about his advice for early-stage entrepreneurs, Veluvolu encourages persistence, especially when it comes to sales. “My background is all in programming, and before Mimir, I’d never done a sales call. Your first cold call may not be a success. But as you do more and more, you’ll gain experience. Persistence is the key to success: things aren’t necessarily going to work out the first time. If you give up then, you’re not going to make progress. But if you keep trying, you might get it right the third, fourth or tenth time.”

Learn more about Mimir at http://www.mimirhq.com.