Ranulfo Allen (PhD ‘13) | Alumni Spotlight
Academic advisor: Professor Zhenan Bao & Professor Gerry Fuller
1. What have you been up to since Stanford?
After Stanford, I moved to Dallas to do research for two years combining everything I learned about fluid dynamics, conjugated polymers, and nanotechnology at Stanford with smart plastics being developed at UT Dallas. I was given the freedom to do exploratory research and this allowed me to create new materials like fully self-healing thermosets and ultrasoft elastomers and new processes for creating microfabricated flexible electronics. Along with a labmate, I then created a startup company based on my research called Pascalor. We aimed to commercialize flexible pressure sensor and temperature sensor arrays for a variety of applications. Over the two years of running the company, I realized that there were many companies commercializing scientific achievements that could benefit society but were not getting proper investment. I decided to move to the money side of entrepreneurship to help address this. I went on to do market research consulting and am now in my second year of the business school at the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth. I also have done a few internships while in school to transition to venture capital full time after graduation including a stint at Spike Ventures, the Stanford University branch of Alumni Ventures Group. I am currently working at Pillar VC in Boston.
2. What’s your fondest memory about your time at Stanford?
I have many fond memories from my time at Stanford, most of them involving bonding with other people in the department. One that stands out is a ChemE spring barbecue on Mudd Lawn. People brought different food and drinks and the meat was delicious. We also set up a Slip n’ Slide, which was a ton of fun. Of course with me being an overachiever, I slid past the end of the Slip n' Slide several feet onto the grass. What was fun at the time led to grass burns on my chest that lasted several days. It was a great time with my friends nonetheless so no regrets.
3. Can you share any advice with our current students or postdocs?
Make great use of your time. You have a lot of flexibility with your schedule now that you may never have again. Make use of this while you can in whatever way you want. I developed a few different hobbies like origami and kickboxing while at Stanford that I continue with a smaller time commitment today. Also, consider what you want to do after graduation and make strides in making the transition early. If you don’t want to go into academia, seek out opportunities to explore other careers while in school. For example, there are often internship opportunities at places like NASA, Flagship Pioneering, some corporations, and many startup companies.