A local technology entrepreneur spoke to Ransom Everglades upper school students January 25, offering an inside look at the challenges of growing a tech start-up and advice to those interested in following her path. Olivia Ramos, the founder and CEO of Deepblocks, a company that hopes to transform the real-estate industry through the use of artificial intelligence, addressed students at assembly at the Lewis Family Auditorium and in class settings later.
Ramos, who earned a master's degree in architecture at Columbia University and a second master's in real estate development from the University of Miami, encouraged students to take risks, think big and try to identify technologies that will grow exponentially. She said fell in love with technology – and its power to upend industries – after deciding she did not want to pursue architecture as a career. She continued her education at Singularity University and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Innovation House.
She founded Deepblocks after observing a segmentation of the real estate industry; she wanted to use artificial intelligence to simplify complex building projects, providing tools to plan and build cities of the future. Ramos explained to RE students the critical role fundraising plays in launching a start-up; she had to sell what she believes is a great idea – and then prove it could be profitable – to investors who share her vision.
She told students to expect to encounter obstacles on the road to success.
"Before I did Deepblocks, I did 10 other start-ups that failed," she said. "Not everything you do will survive, but everything you do will help you be more prepared for the next one."
Added Ramos: "If you're passionate about something, go deep into it."
More than 40 students from Ransom Everglades have served as interns at Deepblocks for the past three summers. Faculty member Paul Natland '02, who oversees RE's summer internships program, has helped make that connection.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.