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.

TAP_6912.jpg

CrepKitchen

Mathew Steininger ’22, Founder & CEO

Crep Kitchen logo-01

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.

Continue reading

Tagged ,

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.

JeffGrass (1)

 

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.

Continue reading

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.

Headshot.KristenMcClellan.JPG

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.

Continue reading

Tagged

An Interview With Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Aurora Tights

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.

TAP_6836.jpg

Imani Rickerby & Jasmine Snead at the Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals

Aurora Tights

Jasmine Snead ’19, Co-Founder & CFO – Finalist
Imani Rickerby ’17, Co-Founder & COO
Sydney Parker ’18, CMO

DC: Tell us about your startup.

Aurora Tights Title Logo-01Jasmine Snead: Aurora Tights designs performance apparel for dancers and ice skaters of all skin tones, shapes, and sizes. The Aurora team is comprised of a solo figure skater, a synchronized ice skater, and a dancer. As competitive athletes, we were forced to wear tights, mesh, and other paraphernalia in the wrong skin tone because our shades were not readily available. The lack of color variety posed a drawback for performance athletes because it is not aesthetically appealing to the eye and it’s frustrating to practice your passion while feeling like you’re in someone else’s skin. Additionally, overall appearance is judged in performance sports, unlike in traditional sports. In the words of Olympian Johnny Weir, “Aesthetics are still a part of the subjective scoring in figure skating.” His words are true in figure skating and in other performance sports as well.

As a solution, I learned to dye my tights to match my complexion. Years and a stained bathroom later, my mom and I perfected the process of dyeing tights and would do so before each competition. Self-dyeing is an option for athletes, but it is messy, time-consuming, expensive, and experimental to find the right shade. That is why there is a strong need for Aurora Tights to simplify the tight buying process for women of all skin tones and sizes. We believe buying tights in your shade should be as easy clicking “add to cart” online or shopping at your local sporting goods store.

Continue reading

Hisaoka Speaker Series Founders Panel Preview: Paul Capriolo ’06

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.

DSC_7692.jpg

Social Growth Technologies – Paul Capriolo ‘06

Throughout his career as an UMD alumnus and serial entrepreneur, Paul has founded and led a multitude of technology startups to successful acquisitions. In 2009, Paul noticed the explosive growth in the social gaming industry and the lack of a monetization method to capitalize on its user base. Paul started Social Growth Technologies to serve as a flexible platform that allows companies to monetize the social gaming market through in-game advertising. After seven years of growth and expansion, Paul recently secured an acquisition of Social Growth Technologies by Kiswe Mobile in 2016.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

A Tour of Entrepreneurship & Innovation in France & Morocco

morocco cropped

Medina in Marrakech

In collaboration with the Center for Global Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship sent Student Venture Programs Manager Chris Rehkamp, MS ’18 on a study abroad program highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in France and Morocco. The program was led by Smith School Associate Professor Oliver Schlake. The following is one student’s reflection of their experience.

by: Hannah Shraim ’20

In the span of ten days, I visited three countries, submerged myself into two very distinct cultures, and drank lots and lots of tea. Let me explain.

Rather than simply getting an education, securing a job, and acquiring a well-paying salary, I want to do more with my degree. I am a big believer that business can be used to solve social issues, so starting organizations that can utilize profits that serve underprivileged communities is something I have always been eager to explore.

I was granted the opportunity to study entrepreneurship and innovation in France and Morocco with a remarkable group of Terps. As a person who studied French since the age of four, I was particularly excited to go on this trip. While we stopped by Monaco for a day—hence the third country—the jist of our learning came from France and Morocco, which are connected by forty-four years of French occupation.

Besides the fact that both are francophone nations, there are certain commonalities within the entrepreneurial practices in France and Morocco. Notwithstanding, there are vast differences as well.

Now, let’s dive into what went down.

 

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

That’s a Wrap! Fall 2018 Highlights at the Dingman Center

With the holiday season fast approaching, students are hunkering down in the library to finish final projects and prep for exams. In the meantime, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the events and programs that went on at the Dingman Center this past semester. We’re always thankful for the immense support, enthusiasm and engagement we receive from those within our community. Check out some of our favorite highlights over the past few months, and have a wonderful winter break!

Sept. 29 – spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start

TAP_4992png

Students playing spark: The Card Game

Now in its third year, spark: Where Fearless Ideas Start is an event hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Startup Shell. spark gives University of Maryland students who are interested in entrepreneurship but don’t have a venture a platform to brainstorm business ideas with their peers. This year the event got a major venue upgrade, with Professor Oliver Schlake leading the program at the innovative Edward St. John Learning & Teaching Center. Students refined their initial ideas through an interactive card game and then split up into teams to prepare an energetic, infomercial-style pitch. This year’s group of ideas were some of our most viable and creative yet! Read the full recap of spark here.

Continue reading

Celebrating Smith Day: Why the Dingman Center is #UMDSmithProud

For this year’s Smith Day on November 14, 2018, we asked the current students and alumni who help make our Center run what makes them #UMDSmithProud. Check out some of their responses!

 

RudyLamone-1504143351-1542228917265.pngUnder the leadership of Dean Triantis, the Smith School has organized an extraordinary team of faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends who are passionately committed to maintaining the Smith School as one of the leading business schools in the world. For more than 32 years, The Dingman Center at the Smith School has been a major player on the campus, the region, and the world in developing entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster the development and growth of innovative new startups. – Rudolph “Rudy” Lamone, former Dean of the Smith School and founding director of the Dingman Center.

 

BillBoyle1Every time I attend a Dingman Center event at the Smith School, I am impressed how our students presentations are stronger than many seasoned professionals. – Bill Boyle ’81, board chair of the Dingman Center Board of Advisors, an active Dingman Center Angels investor and Dingman Center venture mentor, with experience mentoring companies in the Fearless Founders Accelerator and as a coach in Pitch Dingman Competition.

 

HollyDearmondI am proud of the diverse community of students, mentors, faculty and staff we have built at the Dingman Center. Creating programs that help Terps spark a venture idea is so exciting. Once that idea is sparked, it’s fulfilling to provide the structure, resources and connections students need in order to bring those ventures to life. – Holly DeArmond, MBA ’17, Interim Managing Director of the Dingman Center and a recent graduate of the Smith School’s prestigious part-time MBA program.

 

SaraHerald2.pngI’m UMD Smith proud because I get to work with students who are determined to change the world.  From female founders wanting to make their mark in entrepreneurship to aspiring social entrepreneurs who want to tackle really difficult social problems, the students we work with are going amazing places. – Sara Herald, MBA ’11, Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship at the Dingman Center, head of our Ladies First Initiative and Smith School Adjunct Professor for Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps and Ladies First Founders.

 

PuriA-26Oct17-10School is all about what students put into it. Here at Smith our professors not only appreciate enthusiasm but champion those of us who want to take on more responsibilities and learn more than what is required. For this I am #UMDSmithProud. – Amit Puri, MBA ’19, a second-year MBA student and graduate assistant at the Dingman Center, with roles supporting the Dingman Center Angels from behind the scenes and as a venture associate. He is also head of the MBA E-Club and leading this year’s VCIC Competition.

 

KashikarM-26Oct17-12The Dingman Center provides opportunities that make Smith MBA a unique experience. Through the Dingman Center, I have met with entrepreneurs and leaders not just from the area but also on the west coast, my dream job destination. The Dingman Center and its people are my go-to people on campus. I am truly #UMDSmithProud. – Mandar Kashikar, MBA ’19, second-year Marketing Analytics graduate assistant at the Dingman Center.

 

headshot-3-1.jpgThe thriving entrepreneurship scene and supporting community here makes me #UMDSmithProud. – Emily Gee ’20, a junior majoring in Operations Management & Business Analytics and Information Systems. Emily is our undergraduate Venture Programs intern at the Dingman Center and acting President of EnTERPreneur, the undergraduate entrepreneurship club.

 

EricElliot

I’m #UMDSmithProud of the great resources and programs offered to students that allow us to make a meaningful difference right out of college. – Eric Elliot ’18, a senior Marketing major at the Smith School and the Dingman Center’s Events and Marketing intern since Fall 2017.

 

Tagged

Spotlight on Role Models at the Third Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

by: Megan McPherson, Events & Marketing Manager

The Ladies First Fall Dinner is the flagship event of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First initiative to expose more female students at University of Maryland to entrepreneurship. Each year, it attracts young women from all across campus for an evening where they can explore the unique challenges and strengths shared by women as they look to launch companies or lead them post-graduation. The third annual Ladies First Fall Dinner on November 1 in Van Munching Hall focused on “role models”, introducing a room comprised solely of female undergraduate students to two inspirational female founders in the cosmetics industry: alumna and serial entrepreneur Mary Schulman ’97, co-founder of PYT Beauty; and current student Brianna Queen ’19, founder of BEEQBOX and second place winner of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition. In a fireside chat moderated by associate director and Ladies First leader Sara Herald, MBA ’11, Brianna and Mary shared their inspiring founder stories and imparted valuable wisdom to 65 student attendees. Below are some of the recurring themes that both entrepreneurs touched upon during the discussion.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Announcing the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinalists

PDC Semifinalists

This year’s Pitch Dingman Competition application phase saw a wide range of applications from undergraduate, graduate and PhD students from across UMD. After undergoing a quarterfinals review from alumni judges, we’re excited to announce the 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition semifinalists and second cohort of Hisaoka Entrepreneurs. The founders of the semifinalists teams will receive mentoring and coaching to help them further accelerate their businesses, whether or not they make the cut for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals. On Thursday, Nov. 15 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Frank Auditorium, Van Munching Hall, these 10 student startups will pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges at the Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals, chaired by Robert G. Hisaoka. The audience will have a chance to vote for their favorite semifinalist to take home a $500 prize. We’re excited to see who wins the opportunity to pitch at the Finals on March 7, 2019 for a shot at the grand prize of $15,000!

Register here to attend and read on about each semifinalist in their own words below.

Continue reading