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Young Alumni Create Blossoming Startup

Nov 19, 2013   |   by Keith Chapman   |   Dartmouth Now

Branko Cerny ’13 had it all. He had a diploma from Dartmouth, a job at Google, and a new start in San Francisco. But he also had an idea, one that he couldn’t sit on any longer.

“I just really believe in following one’s passions,” Cerny says.

So after just three months of working at Google, he quit his job to pursue his passion. Soon thereafter, he launched the startup SquareOne Mail.

Did people think he was crazy? “Yeah,” Cerny says with a laugh. “I’ve gotten that a lot.”

But he’s not looking back. And why would he? Already, SquareOne has attracted a substantial amount of venture capital. This summer, the company opened its doors in a new office space in downtown San Francisco. And with a beta version just released last month, the future looks bright for SquareOne...

James Mock
Engineering major James Mock '15

...Cerny wanted an email system that could understand what mattered to him, and when it mattered. He created SquareOne to act as a sort of personal assistant, letting users control which messages reach them at any given time. For example, when a user hits the town on a Friday night, he or she may want to hear only from friends, and can turn off notifications from work colleagues’ emails. But on a Monday morning, not wanting to be disrupted by friends or family while in an important meeting, users may choose to be notified only when they get a work-related email.

But it wasn’t just a busy schedule at Dartmouth that helped him create SquareOne. Cerny had the support of two classmates and co-founders—software developer [and engineering major] James Mock ’15, and designer Sang Lee ’13. The company recently hired a fourth employee, software engineer Arthur Conner ’91. Cerny says his co-workers are immensely talented and dedicated.

“What is often overlooked is that a startup CEO is only as good as the team that he leads toward making a vision a reality,” says Cerny. “It has been my co-founders who filled me with the courage and confidence that we can turn this into a reality.”

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