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Other Will a PhD help me as a startup founder?

  1. Nov 23, 2016 #1
    I'm planning to get double honours in CS and Pure Math. But I'm very confused about getting a PhD? Will it help me as a startup founder? (Link to my post on academia stackexchange, but I'm still confused)

    The only thing that is stopping me from getting a PhD is time. I have excellent grades(almost perfect GPA). I'm very motivated to launch startup after graduating(maybe after working for a year or so). The only thing that's worrying me is that if I get stuck on a problem while working at my startup and the problem involves some sort of research, Will I be able to do research and solve that problem with my background(CS and Pure Math)? Say that problem is related to machine learning and involves creating a more intelligent machine.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 23, 2016 #2


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    I don't think anyone can really give you a straight answer on something like this.

    The degree to which a PhD would help you would depend on the degree to which your PhD research relates to the problem(s) you encounter in your company. The added education would help you out in terms of giving you more education on how to conduct research properly and academic communication and likely give you a specific set of skills. It could also help you to expand your academic or technical network. Further the PhD can carry some weight when you're talking to investors who want to know if you're just another kid with an idea or a someone who has some credentials to back up his or her ideas.

    It might also be worth mentioning that a lot of universities now have programs that are specifically designed to help graduate students and other researchers transition into commercial ventures. So in a way, you could look at a PhD as an opportunity to explore a particular field for a few years with the stability of funding and academic support and then use that as a springboard for your start up company.

    Now, with all of that said, there are a lot of people who've successfully started technical companies without PhDs. So really this kind of decision really boils down to whether or not you want to do one.

    Once piece of advice I might offer is not to get too hung up on the time thing. Life is not a race.
  4. Nov 24, 2016 #3
    Agree with Choppy. If the product typically requires PhD-level R&D, then you need a PhD. If it doesn't, then you don't. Also depends on whether you plan to go it entirely solo for an extended period. If you don't pursue a PhD, but then find you do need advanced technical expertise, you can always partner with a PhD or hire a PhD employee or consultant.
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