Berkeley seniors and founders of e-cigarette company talk entrepreneurial spirit at UC Berkeley

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UC Berkeley has recently been noted as a college with a “powerhouse entrepreneurship program” by the news website Mashable. Long before this, however, student-entrepreneurs Ben Einstein, Sean Linehan and Davy Li recognized and capitalized on the opportunities offered by UC Berkeley to its budding entrepreneurs. The team will soon launch a product recommendation site, Einstein, while Einstein and Linehan have also developed and released BEX, an electronic cigarette.

“Everyone has ideas. Everyone wants to start things. But nobody really knows where to start,” observed development studies major Einstein.

Attending UC Berkeley helped Einstein, Linehan and Li get a foot in the door. The trio describes its company as “fully Berkeley.” Everything from the legal services utilized by their firms to the office space they occupy was provided for free by the university. Interestingly enough, they also mostly attribute their achievements to the community at UC Berkeley instead of the classes it offers, stressing the quality of human interaction within our university.

Their entrepreneurial journey started with the realization that for every physical object they owned, Einstein’s dedication to researching his purchases always landed him the better deal.

“We wanted to allow everyone to shop as Ben shops,” Linehan said. “Sites often have recommendations for the average user, but the truth is nobody’s average, so we strive to find the best personal products.”

In the midst of developing this product, Einstein and Linehan started arguing over Linehan’s smoking addiction.

“It was really annoying because he (Linehan) kept leaving every 20 minutes, and he smelled like smoke, so I suggested electronic cigarettes,” Einstein said. “He said they all sucked. So I said, ‘OK, let’s make a good one.” From there, the pair developed what they claim to be the best affordable e-cigarette in the market.

“The entrepreneurial community here is so powerful, so welcoming, and … it beats Stanford!” said Einstein. “Never again in your life will you be surrounded daily by 40,000 brilliant people. Everyone I meet, everyone I talk to is a valuable person that I can learn something from.”

BEX is now available for purchase online, and Einstein, the company, will launch on July 1.

Image Source: Courtesy of Sean Linehan

Contact Sue Ying at [email protected].