Q&A with Entrepreneur in Residence Caitlin Parrucci
The Southern Tier Startup Alliance’s (STSA) business incubators and their member companies receive invaluable mentorship and important insight from the organization’s Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs). Caitlin Parrucci, one of STSA’s newest EIRs, harnesses her background in mechanical engineering and manufacturing to help teams reach their goals.
A founder herself, Parrucci used years of equestrian experience as her inspiration for Stablesense, a company dedicated to developing technology-driven solutions to improve horse health and advance horsemanship. She’d go on to work at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works alumni company Ursa Space Systems, supporting the startup through its stages of Series B fundraising, exploring new product market verticals, and managing vendor-partner relationships.
Prior to her entrepreneurial experiences, Parrucci earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Cornell. She enjoys working with early-stage companies, particularly those who are working toward environmentally sustainable solutions.
We sat down with Parrucci to discuss her perspectives and how she hopes to use her experience to assist STSA’s business incubators and their member companies.
Question 1: Why do you think Ithaca, N.Y. and the Southern Tier region is such a great place to launch a startup?
Ithaca has the best quality of life — a vibrant, supportive community in the heart of a beautiful recreational area. It has a wealth of resources and talent from the local universities and colleges and is less expensive and more accessible than the major cities.
Question 2: What would you consider your area of expertise, and how will it benefit STSA?
My background is in customer driven product design, hardware and manufacturing, and pre-seed to growth-stage startups. I love guiding teams along their customer discovery journeys, fleshing out their Business Model Canvases, honing their pitches for competitions, and thinking about their company cultures and team development.
Question 3: What advice learned during your own experience of entrepreneurship is essential for startups to know?
It’s important to develop the mentality to fail fast, fail early. Really test your assumptions with your customers. Especially with hardware, where the curve to scale is more expensive, it’s really important to know your customers and market space. This journey has its highs, but it can be really hard, so develop a strong, supportive team and find good mentors to help you along the way.
Thank you to Caitlin Parrucci for providing mentorship as an EIR. We couldn’t be happier to have her on the team!