Author Archives: UMD Dingman Center

Senior Send-Off: The Hydraze Team

In our Senior Send-Off series, the Dingman Center celebrates the student founders who are part of the graduating class of spring 2020. We are so pleased to have had the chance to get to know each of these talented entrepreneurs through our programs. 

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Charles Grody, Tuvia Rappaport and Jack Sturtevant of Hydraze with Public Policy Dean Robert Orr after winning the Hult@UMD Competition

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Founder & CEO – Charles Grody ’20, mechanical engineering major
CTO – Jack Sturtevant ’20, computer engineering major
Lead Engineer – Tuvia Rappaport ’20, aerospace engineering major

The Hydraze team, comprised of three QUEST Honors Program students, has taken University of Maryland by storm with their engineered solution to the “phantom flushes” caused by inefficient automatic flushing toilets. After piloting the Hydraze flushing mechanism in The Clarice, they won the 2019 Do Good Challenge, then Hult@UMD — our local edition of the global Hult Prize social entrepreneurship case competition — and now have made it to the final round of Pitch Dingman Competition. The team will be competing in the virtual Pitch Dingman Competition Finals next week, on April 22 from 4-6 p.m. live via Zoom. Don’t miss this last chance to support them!

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Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Stay Busy in Spring 2020

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Updated April 6, 2020

Terps, you’re officially back from break but hopefully home, safe and healthy while our country navigates the COVID-19 crisis for the foreseeable future. Staff at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship know this time is especially tough for entrepreneurs and freelancers. We hear you and we are here for you to help you maintain your momentum. Even if you’re putting sales and traction on hold, there are other ways that you can build your business and keep the hustle alive. Remember, Isaac Newton invented calculus and Shakespeare wrote King Lear under quarantine from plagues. Below are some resources and recommendations from the Dingman Center on how to make the most of this opportunity for productivity and creativity. We’ll continue to update this post with more resources as we find and share them.

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Introducing the 2020 Ladies First Founders Cohort

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by: Hannah Shraim ’20, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

Ladies First Badges-RosesmallIt’s Women’s History Month! While every month should commemorate the contributions that women have made and continue to make in society, any opportunity to highlight the stories of fearless women is one that we should take. As part of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First initiative to get more female and non-binary founders involved in entrepreneurship at University of Maryland, we select a cohort of students every spring for our Ladies First Founders course. Taught by Sara Herald, MBA ’11, the Center’s Director of Venture Development, Ladies First Champion and Maryland Smith’s co-chair of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, students enrolled in Ladies First Founders learn soft skills to achieve success in entrepreneurship and beyond. During Women’s History Month, we are excited to introduce the diverse and talented group of young women that make up the third cohort of Ladies First Founders.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: SweetsbyCaroline

In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 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 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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SweetsbyCaroline

Caroline Ta ’21, Marketing

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DC: Tell us about your startup.

Ta: SweetsbyCaroline is a catering business that specializes in french macarons, cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts for weddings, parties, and many more events! I aim to turn your vision into a unique and delicious product by tailoring it to your event.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Door Robotics

In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 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 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Co-founder Josh Ermias with the Door Robotics drone prototype

Door Robotics

Joshua Ermias ’20, Public Health Sciences
Vincent Jaugan ’21, Communication and Media Studies

image005 (1)DC: Tell us about your startup.

Door Robotics: Door Robotics is helping build a future of better content. We are building a 2D and 360 camera drone and custom software enabling for lower barriers to entry for 360 content creating and post-production. A huge market facing issues with 360 cameras is the real estate virtual tour market. There are over a million real estate photographers on LinkedIn. In order to create virtual tours to post to listing site, a photographer needs to position a 360 camera on a tripod in a property, get out of the camera shot, click and capture, reposition a few feet away, and repeat the process until the whole property has been captured. They then need to pay to use 3rd party software to create virtual tours and 3D mapped layouts from the series of pictures. Our drone can autonomously fly through a property in a quarter of the time it currently takes and upload fully generated virtual tours to the cloud immediately after the flight.

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Recapping the 2020 Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series: Founders Panel

As part of the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series, The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted a Founder’s Panel that featured three incredible Terp entrepreneurs on February 18, 2020. 

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by: Hannah Shraim ’20

Jasmine Snead ’17, MPP/MBA ’21, Zeki Mokhtarzada ’00, and Rob McGovern ’83 comprised our first Founders Panel composed entirely of Terp entrepreneurs. Together, they shared the trials and triumphs of their entrepreneurial journeys, offering invaluable advice to our wonderful audience of students, faculty, staff and alumni. If you missed it, don’t worry — we got you covered with a recap below. 

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: BraceLint

In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 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 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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BraceLint

Daniel Raithel ’20, Economics

BraceLint_Brand-01DC: Tell us about your startup.

BraceLint is a consumer convenience product based around the simple idea of a lint roller. During the year there are many occasions where we have to look or dress our best and present ourselves with confidence. Whether it be an interview, meeting, or a date, feeling good about your appearance is one of the best ways to get over those sometimes uncomfortable hurdles. After leaving the house you can fix your hair or makeup, but your clothes are kind of stuck the way they are. Lint rollers are bulky, often covered in hair, and are not designed to be brought out of the house. This is where the BraceLint comes in! BraceLint is an easy single-use version of a lint roller that fits flat into your pocket or bag until being propped open and used to fix your clothes in a “pinch” and get your mojo back.

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Meet the Speakers: Being Black in Entrepreneurship Fireside Chat

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by: Hannah Shraim ’20 (Ladies First Founder and Dingman Center Marketing Intern)

Passion, tenacity, and courage — all three qualities are essential to being an entrepreneur. With that being said, those brave enough to take on the Herculean task must navigate through numerous obstacles. In a system that disproportionately excludes people of color from entrepreneurial spaces, and with the amount of struggle that entrepreneurs face by nature, it is paramount to uplift the voices of black entrepreneurs.

The Being Black in Entrepreneurship Fireside Chat on Feb. 26 from 6-8 p.m. in 2333 Van Munching Hall is supported by Maryland Smith’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, the Office of Diversity of Inclusion, the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Student Success Leadership Council. The event that will bring together black entrepreneurs for evening of discussion and breakout sessions. If you’re thinking of starting a business, this session will provide you with a toolkit that you can use to understand what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Register today!

There are some incredible speakers lined up for the evening — let’s take a quick look into their experiences:

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Michael Echols ’87 – Founder and CEO of MAX Cybersecurity

Michael A. Echols (Mike) is a graduate of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative – Harvard Kennedy School of Public Health and the Federal Executive Institute. He holds a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Biotechnology, a Graduate Certificate in Technology Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; all from the University of Maryland. Mike is the CEO of Max Cybersecurity LLC. He launched the company after 7 years at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  In 2015, Mr. Echols became the White House point person for the rollout of Presidential Executive Order 13691 – Promoting Private Sector Cyber Information Sharing. Most recently Mr. Echols authored five Forbes articles and was featured on a PBS cybersecurity special. Mr. Echols has also led two organizations to CSO 50 Award honors for information sharing in the last three years. He is currently on the Health and Human Services CISA Cyber Awareness Task Force.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Hydraze

In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 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 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Dean Robert Orr presenting the Hult@UMD award to Hydraze co-founders Charles Grody, Tuvia Rappaport and Jack Sturtevant

Hydraze

Charles Grody ’20, Mechanical Engineering
Jack Sturtevant ’20, Computer Engineering
Tuvia Rappaport ’20, Aerospace Engineering

hydraze_high_resDC: Tell us about your startup.

Hydraze: Hydraze is a water conservation focused startup that delivers high performance automatic toilet flushing technology for commercial buildings. Our stall-latch activated flushing product can save hundreds of dollars per toilet by reducing the number of times it flushes compared to competitor products.  We have also developed a proprietary flush tracking and optimization platform that can drastically improve a facility manager’s ability to maintain their bathroom. Hydraze drives water conservation by improving bathroom performance and generating savings.

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An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: AlgenAir

In anticipation of the final round of the 2020 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 10th in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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AlgenAir

Dan Fucich, PhD ’20 (presenting), Marine Estuary and Environmental Science
Kelsey Abernathy, PhD ’20, Environmental and Molecular Biology (UMB)

DC: Tell us about your startup.

AlgenAirLogoWithTagLineAlgenAir: AlgenAir is a photobioreactor company in Baltimore, MD that creates functional algae installations to improve the public’s health. We developed the aerium, the first natural air purifier that uses algae to clean the air we breathe. The aerium works as efficiently as 25 house plants reduce carbon dioxide and increase oxygen in your home and office space. It is available for sale on our website.

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