Ryan Gross

Class of 2017-2018

Wabash College, 2017

Why I chose ESTEEM: The startup company concept has always been a deep fascination of mine. I was born and raised in Indiana, thus, I never imagined an opportunity to get involved in working for or creating my very own startup. I thought of the startup world as just that, a world millions of miles away which I stood no chance of making my own impact. Then, I learned about ESTEEM: a program that gave me the opportunity to earn my way into my dream occupation. There was no looking back, I was an ESTEEMer from the second I learned about the entrepreneurial-inducing program.

My capstone thesis project and why I’m excited about it: CFOPlans is a 3 year old startup based out of southern California with venture capital backing from FounderPartners. This company uses 21st century technology to outsource back office financial services for startups and enterprise companies. As an aspiring serial entrepreneur, I've learned the importance of understanding financials whether that be for raising seed funding, venture funding or simply managing daily cash flow. As a business development associate for CFOPlans, I'll learn the ins and outs of small to mid-sized companies' back office financials. I'm confident this experience will prepare me to hit the ground running when it's my turn to scale a company.

What I hope to do after ESTEEM: I plan to leave my home state for the ultimate adventure of living in San Francisco. I will leverage my experiences gained through ESTEEM and my thesis with CFOPlans to begin my career in a startup as employee 20 or under. More importantly, I will be fortunate enough to merge my life with my beautiful long-term girlfriend, Ally, who is currently living in Philadelphia, but will also be moving to San Francisco come mid 2018.

What I like to do when I’m not working in Innovation Park: Home is where the heart is and for me, my heart resides at Snow Lake, Indiana. I had the opportunity to grow up in the backwoods of Indiana as well as on the waterfront of the state's most majestic lake. Family time at the lake includes fishing, water sports, bonfires and of course grilling out. There something about getting your hands dirty at the lake which will never be replaceable.