Hackathons, product pitches, and close communication with professors: these “amazing” experiences while earning a master’s of engineering degree in computer science taught Kiran Vajapey MEng ’14, a member of Cornell Tech’s first graduating class, the skills he needed to start his own business.

Kiran is one of four founders of Oystir, an online, skills-based talent marketplace that matches employers with candidates. The company is in beta phase with 4,500 users, initial funding, and office space at Cornell Tech.

Tech’s 24-hour “hackathon” sessions prepared Kiran to start a business. “We enjoyed those because we would get a lot of work done. At the end of the 24 hours, we would present,” he says.

A California native, Kiran studied bioengineering as an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego.

“I was only at Cornell for a year,” he says, “but I feel more connected to Cornell than I do to UCSD.”