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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Introducing the Spring 2019 Cohort of Ladies First Founders

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On Tuesday afternoons, the Smith School’s executive board room is taken over by the second cohort of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First Founders program, a group of nine young women united by their experiences as female entrepreneurs. At the head of the room’s imposing conference table sits adjunct professor Sara Herald, MBA ’11, the Dingman Center’s Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship and founder of the Ladies First initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.

This year, the Ladies First Founders were paired with expert female mentors to help guide their entrepreneurial journeys. The theme of this year’s Ladies First initiative is centered around role models, and these successful women provide an inspiring template for the cohort to follow. Over the course of the semester, we’ll be catching up with these student founders to see how their venture ideas have progressed under the guidance of professor Sara Herald and their mentors.

Read on to learn more about the diverse group of female founders and businesses that make up the Spring 2019 Ladies First Founders cohort:

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An Interview With Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: crepkitchen

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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CrepKitchen

Mathew Steininger ’22, Founder & CEO

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DC: Tell us about your startup.

MS: The latest limited-edition Jordan shoe is released, and thousands of sneakerheads around the world run into the same dreaded message: sold out. They were either minutes too slow, or they were unaware this release was happening at all. Then, in a few hours, the sneaker is restocked, but for the final time, it very quickly becomes sold out again. Many sneakerheads run into this problem with every limited release.

crepkitchen solves this problem by making sure users don’t miss out on these releases. We offer an online subscription service that instantly notifies users of product restocks and other essential information for limited edition sneakers and clothing releases before they sell out. This guarantees that all of our customers are best prepared to succeed during any limited edition releases.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Founders Panel Preview: Jeff Grass

The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 19 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Panelists Paul Capriolo ’06, Kristen McClellan and Jeff Grass are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka ’79, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced transforming their ideas into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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HUNGRY – Jeff Grass

In 1998 while pursuing his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Jeff Grass co founded PayMyBills.com, which he led until it’s eventual sale for $67 million in 2001. Since then, Jeff has emerged as a serial entrepreneur and proven leader with a track record of building great teams and successful businesses, including: LiveSafe, Inc., buySAFE, Inc., and HUNGRY.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Founders Panel Preview: Kristen McClellan

The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 19 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Panelists Paul Capriolo ’06, Kristen McClellan and Jeff Grass are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced transforming their ideas into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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SnappyScreen, Inc. – Kristen McClellan

Kristen is the Founder & CEO of SnappyScreen. SnappyScreen is the world’s first touchless sunscreen application system. Customers select their SPF, height and receive an even application of sunscreen in seconds. SnappyScreen’s proprietary sunscreen, SunStyles, is one of the only formulas that is oxybenzone-free, paraben-free, reef-safe and does not stain clothing.

SnappyScreen was born on a family vacation after Kristen watched her sister apply sunscreen for 20 minutes and still end up with a splotchy tan. After researching sunscreen, Kristen realized more people have skin cancer than all other cancers combined yet sunscreen sales continue to soar. While people are purchasing sunscreen, only 1/3 apply correctly. Kristen then dedicated her undergraduate career at Cornell to finding a solution. While at school, she built 3 prototypes and beta tested the machine at two Caribbean hotels. In 2015, Kristen competed in the 10th annual Cupid’s Cup business competition and won third place and $5,000.

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