This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the ten student startups who are participating in the Terp Startup summer accelerator phase of our Fearless Founders program. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.
CMO: Sydney Parker ’18, Communication major
Co-Founder and CFO: Jasmine Snead ’18, Government and Politics major
Co-Founder and COO: Imani Rickerby ’17, Public Health major
DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?
AT: Aurora Tights is an athletic brand that designs performance sports gear in an array of tones for all complexions and sizes. Currently, all performance athletes, especially those of darker skin tones, do not have appropriate gear to fit their tones and sizes.
DC: How did you first come up with your idea?
AT: Imani and Jasmine both grew up ice skating and had to wear ice skating tights that were too light for their own complexion. As figure skating coaches now, they realized that the sport is increasing in diversity, but figure skating tight companies were not adjusting to this change. We decided to be the action to promote this change and founded Aurora Tights!
DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?
AT: After founding the company in December and expanding the team to three in January, we have worked closely with the Dingman Center to grow. So far, we have gained $5,400 in outside startup funding, created our MVP, worked with regional ambassadors to test and promote the product, launched our landing page and participated in the Pitch Dingman Competition showcase and the first cohort of Ladies First Founders.
DC: What drives you to keep going?
AT: It is so exciting to see how ice skating, dance and other performing sports are increasing in diversity! Our drives come from our desire to give back to sports we have given to for most of our lives. We want to provide a product that will let women of all colors perform with the utmost confidence.
DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?
AT: Working in this cohort has been very beneficial! Even though our businesses are slightly different, we all have resources or contacts that benefit one another. We are also all very eager to see each entrepreneur grow and succeed in each other’s endeavors instead of being pitted against one another. We really do see these relationships carrying out far after the summer program has finished.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?
AT: We are hoping to hit three major goals this summer:
- Sell to 100 customers or 5 teams.
- Increase brand awareness among target markets.
- Start the conversation of the importance of diversity in performance sports with governing organizations (USFSA, ISI, UDA).