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Economics Senior Spotlight - Wilson Guaraca, HC '13

After looking at some east coast colleges and universities, Wilson Guaraca ’13 happened on Haverford and was intrigued by its Quaker Roots. He decided on an over-night visit at Haverford, and following the visit, he knew this was the place he wanted to earn his degree. Coincidentally, he visited Haverford’s campus when he was in middle school, in 7th and in 8th grade, through a youth program in which he was enrolled. He looks back and recognizes how serendipitous those visits were.

Originally from Gualaceo, Ecuador, Wilson moved to New York City when he was 5 years old. He spent his high school years at The Westtown School, a boarding school in West Chester, PA. Westtown has had numerous students move on to Haverford College, and Wilson has a few friends here at the college who he knows from both Middle School and from Westtown.

After taking Prof. Saleha Jilani’s Economic Development and Transformation: China versus India course, Wilson became interested in pursuing a major in Economics. The final project for the class was on the textile industry, a topic of particular interest to him.

Yearning to go back to Ecuador, Wilson took a gap year between his Sophomore and Junior years, and he played a prominent role in establishing a basketball camp for youths in Ecuador. He became a father-figure to the children, giving them a glimpse of what life in the United States is like. To date this has been one of the most rewarding experiences in his life.

For the last two years Wilson has been a volunteer mentor at Startup Corps, a youth entrepreneurship program housed in Philadelphia. He has been working closely with a high school student who is developing an iPad and iPad Mini accessory line. She will be presenting her product line to venture capitalists at the end of the school year with aspirations of the product going live.

Having had a strong interest in internet technology for as long as he can remember, the summer before Wilson entered college he worked in Aston, PA with Rieker Inc., an electronics manufacturing company. As an intern he helped develop a new inclinometer, an indicator device used to gauge angles and slope levels. The experience showed him the scope of working through a product’s design, development, and marketing stage.

The summer before his sophomore year, Wilson was awarded a Whitehead Internship Scholarship giving him the opportunity to work for alumnus Ty Ahmad-Taylor’s '09 New York City start-up firm, Fanfeedr. His primary function was to develop a user-base for the sports related social media platform.

During his time at FanFeedr, Ty inspired Wilson to explore summer internships in Silicon Valley. As a result, the summer before his Junior year, Wilson was able to secure an internship with California based Mozilla, the U.S. software company behind the Firefox web browser. During that time Wilson helped launch the Firefox Add-on Builder.

This past summer Wilson continued his work at Mozilla by joining one of their core teams, Mozilla Labs, where he worked closely with ten engineers and a few designers, with the task of developing an iPad browser.

Wilson’s thesis will explore the impact the 2008 financial crisis has had on venture capital financing for Internet companies. More specifically, he will examine the impact the crisis had on three different investment stages of venture capital: seed/early stage, expansion stage, and later stage. Therefore, the main question he hopes to answer is whether there is a difference between impacts on early, expansion, and later stage financing in this particular sector. This will allow him to draw conclusions on which firms were impacted most; startup-firms or well established firms seeking venture capital.

During winter break Wilson continued the interviewing process. He is seeking a career with tech companies in Silicon Valley. He dreams of making a career out of working for a tech company in product management and marketing.

After a few years of work Wilson plans to enter an MBA program.

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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