President's Report 2023

Impact Profiles

Cutout image of Ryan Patel

Ryan Patel

Alumnus, Chaifetz School of Business (’22, ’23)

Founding Member, Go-To-Market Team, Letterdrop

When Ryan Patel found the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship, he found more than a major — he found a lifelong passion. Today, he puts the leadership skills he learned at SLU’s business school to good use in his work at a tech startup. He also gives back to the SLU community by sharing his expertise as a mentor to fellow alumni and students.

Describe your work at Letterdrop.

Letterdrop is a startup based in San Francisco that is disrupting the world of business-to-business (B2B) content marketing. Companies such as DoorDash are business-to-consumer companies that can attract customers by running ads on TikTok or Facebook or Instagram. Companies such as Salesforce are selling to other businesses and can’t acquire customers the same way; they do marketing differently. We’re building software to help B2B companies turn their content into revenue-generating machines.

What appealed to you about working with a startup rather than a more established company?

Startups are instrumental in pushing technology and innovation forward. What begins as an entrepreneur with a crazy idea can disrupt major industries. It’s deeply fulfilling to be part of a talented, tight-knit team that is highly motivated to solve problems. That experience would be difficult to get at a larger company with hundreds of employees.

During my undergraduate studies, I majored in entrepreneurship and fell in love with tech and innovation. During my one-year MBA program, I was deeply involved in the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship. I was on a student ambassador board to help grow awareness about the center on campus. I recruited and led a team through the center’s MEDLaunch biomedical incubator to launch a digital health software startup. I enjoy chasing lofty goals even when there is a high risk of failure.

What impact did playing baseball for SLU have on your personal and professional life?

There are many transferable skills you can take away from playing Division I athletics. You learn patience and discipline. You go through adversity and come out the other side. With a startup, things go wrong, and you need to figure it out. I learned I can do hard things, and I’ll be alright. I also learned to be a leader. I tried to be a mentor to younger players, especially first-year students navigating college and high-level athletics. It can be rough, and I helped them make that transition by sharing my successes and failures. I still try to give back to SLU students when I can.

In what way are you giving back and continuing to have an impact at SLU?

So many people at SLU gave me their attention and expertise at a time when I couldn’t give much in return. Even though I’m living in Chicago, I’m now able to do that for other students. I take phone calls from SLU students who have questions about their startups. I recently had a call from a student building a team within GEOLaunch (a student-driven, geospatial and entrepreneurship incubator in the Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship). I’m part of the center’s asynchronous mentoring program, where students can reach out to me online with questions. I serve on a committee exploring ways of funding student- and alumni-led startups. I hope to return to SLU to participate in the in-person networking and mentoring sessions at the center. The business school puts a premium on leadership skills, and I intend to be a leader to others.