Takeaways from Cohort 2 of Ladies First Founders

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Today marks the last class of the semester for Ladies First Founders, a one-credit course led by Sara Herald, the Dingman Center’s associate director for social entrepreneurship. Last year, Sara launched Ladies First Founders as part of the Center’s Ladies First initiative to get more women engaged in entrepreneurship programming at University of Maryland. Ladies First Founders provides a platform for aspiring female and non-binary founders across campus to come together, find community and learn strategies for overcoming the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

Last week, each female founder in the course provided perspective on their journey this semester to a room of their peers, Dingman Center staff and mentors. While many made significant progress on developing their ideas, all of these young women reflected on the value of the course for their own personal growth. Below are some notes on each of the founders, their ideas and their journeys.

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That’s a Wrap! Spring 2019 at the Dingman Center

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Graduation is this week, and we’ve had some time to reflect on the numerous events and programs we’ve held throughout the semester. The community has impressed us once again with their enthusiasm, passion and dedication to entrepreneurship throughout spring. Here are some featured highlights from our events, and be on the lookout for upcoming interviews with the student entrepreneurs in our Summer 2019 Terp Startup Cohort.

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OnCall Reflects on Participating in Hult@UMD

We’re very excited to feature a piece written by the winners of the 2019 “Hult@UMD” competition, as they reflect on their experience from the initial concept for their idea all the way to competing at the Regional level of the Hult Prize in Boston.

How to Change the World: One Pitch at a Time

By Rasheeq Rayhan, MBA ’20

It all started with a lunch at Rudy’s Café on a fine November afternoon. My friend Alex Woo, a Master of Biomedical Engineering Candidate and Robert Fischell Institute Fellow, was working on a project to build a new medical device. We started to explore the implications of such a device if it were introduced in a developing country, where medical technology was mostly outdated, number of skilled doctors was inadequate and primary healthcare was highly expensive.

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Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series Preview: Tom Davidson

The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with the Founder & CEO of EVERFI, Tom Davidson, on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:00-6:00 p.m in 2204 Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. In a conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79, attendees will gain insights into the mind and career of Tom Davidson. Space is limited, so be sure to register now to attend.

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Tom Davidson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EVERFI, Inc. based in Washington, D.C. Since starting the company in 2008, Tom has led EVERFI from a startup in a Georgetown apartment to an organization with over 4,300 corporate customers and financial institutions.

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An Interview with Hult@UMD Winner OnCall

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In the fall semester, OnCall was crowned winner of the Hult Prize competition at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Hult Prize is the largest student social enterprise case competition in the world. On Friday, November 30th, fifteen teams competed in a local edition of the event to solve the challenge of how to develop a business idea to create 10,000 meaningful jobs for young people over the next decade. OnCall will move onto the regional level of the Hult Prize competition to be held this weekend in March 2019 in Boston.  

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Announcing the Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum 2019 Cohort

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New Venture Practicum is a three-credit course within the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders accelerator where, under the guidance of Maryland Smith Clinical Professor Oliver Schlake, students build and test their business ideas using lean startup methodology. Each business is assigned a venture mentor from the Dingman Center Mentor Network. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible for seed funding.

Read on to learn more about this cohort’s exciting student founders and their businesses!

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An Interview With Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Synapto

In anticipation of the final round of the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 7th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Christopher Look and Megha Guggari

Synapto

Dhruv Patel ’20, CEO
Chris Look ’20, CTO
Anoop Patel ’20, Lead R&D Engineer
David Boegner ’20, Lead Systems Engineer
Megha Guggari ’20, Lead Software Engineer

DC: Tell us about your startup. Synapto.png

Synapto: Synapto is using next generation brainwave scanning technologies in conjunction with AI to make Alzheimer’s diagnosis more accessible, streamlined, and effective.

DC: Have there been some key decisions or milestones along the way that have led you from an idea to now pitching for $15K?

Synapto: We’ve been working on this for about 2 years now, and have been recognized by several institutions like NIH and media outlets like Forbes. Recognizing our methods are worth pursuing has led us to pitch for $15,000 to help further drive product development.

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Lessons Learned from the Hisaoka Speakers Series Founders Panel

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From left: Moderator, Robert Hisaoka; Jeff Grass; Kristen McClellan; Paul Capriolo ’06

By: Matthew A. Talley ’21, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

On Tuesday, February 19th, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the fifth event in our Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series, a Founders Panel which featured three successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka ’79, Paul Capriolo ’06, Kristen McClellan, and Jeff Grass shared some of the insights they learned along with the challenges they’ve faced turning their ideas into incredibly successful and thriving companies.

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An Interview With Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: OpenPoll

In anticipation of the final round of the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 7th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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OpenPoll

Zachary Wynegar ’19, Founder & CEO

DC: Tell us about your startup.

OPENPOLLLogo.pngZW: OpenPoll is a startup focused on changing the way opinion data is collected. Unlike other online survey tools, OpenPoll allows decision makers to distribute surveys using push notifications, see who hasn’t responded, and gather responses easily. Users heavily prefer OpenPoll over other survey tools due to the ease of use, short length, and rewards they earn for taking polls. Within a minute of publishing a poll, decision makers begin getting real time information from their audience without sending a single email. We offer completely free options for associations, with almost no limits.

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An Interview With Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Solr Tech

In anticipation of the final round of the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 7th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Solr Tech

Alexei Onufrak ’20, Co-founder and President

DC: Tell us about your startup.

solrtech_logo_transparent-01AO: There is a demand for power no matter where you are. Every electronic device you own is subject to a dead battery when you least expect it. Solr Tech has created the most versatile, powerful, and convenient way to transform any outdoor patio umbrella into a solar charging station. Whether it’s by the pool, on campus, or at a cafe, people have an easy way to charge their mobile devices, and businesses benefit from increased customer retention and customer experience.

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