Category Archives: Fearless Founders

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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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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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.

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Fearless Founders Chosen as Forbes Under 30 Scholars for Under 30 Summit

Forbes

The Dingman Center is excited to support three Fearless Founders who have been accepted as Forbes Under 30 Scholars for the 2018 Under 30 Summit to be held in Boston on September 30. As a Forbes scholar, students will be granted access to the Opportunities Hub, a recruitment fair powered by WayUp, and will have networking access to investors, entrepreneurs, celebrities, musicians, fashion designers, sport stars, cultural icons, world-renowned chefs, educators, political leaders and business icons who represent the entrepreneurial spirit of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Among the selected students are University of Maryland students Emily Gee ’20, Matthew Talley ’21, and Brianna Queen ’19:

headshot-3.jpgEmily Gee, a junior at UMD, enjoys leadership roles at several campus organizations. As assistant marketing director for Technica, the university’s all-women hackathon, she supports women in STEM and has attracted more than 800 participants to the hackathon this year. She also serves as president of EnTERPreneur-UMD, the campus’ newest entrepreneurship club.

MTalley HeadshotMatthew Talley, a finance major at UMD, is the CEO and founder of Sonder Innovations. He is a Fearless Founder who graduated from the New Venture Practicum course in Spring 2018. Like Emily, he also serves a VP of External Relations for EnTERPreneur UMD.

Brianna Queen AwardBrianna Queen, an Information Science Junior at UMD, is the founder of BEEQBOX, a cosmetics company that makes illuminating makeup with a branded feminist twist. BEEQBOX has grown virally since its launch in 2016 and now has an impressive 57K followers on Instagram. The company specializes in beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and all-natural and was able to generate over $100,000 in revenue in its first year. In 2018, Brianna came in second place in the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition, winning $7,500 in funding for her startup.

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Terp Startup Verdant Innovatives Uses Patented Technology to Create Small Scale Wind Turbines

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.

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verdant-01Verdant Innovatives

Founder & CEO: Anjik Ghosh ’18, Biology major, Business minor

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Ghosh: Verdant Innovatives uses patented technology to provide wind energy for individual homeowners in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) metropolitan area, as well as local companies and larger organizations. In addition to the commercial market, Verdant Innovatives will partner with aid organizations to provide power to impoverished and disaster areas around the world.

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Terp Startup LzyFarmer is a Mobile App that Teaches Millennials About Gardening

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.

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LzyFarmer_Logo-01LzyFarmer

Founder: Rob Ginsberg, MBA ’18

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Ginsberg: LzyFarmer focuses on bring technology to the home garden. As the millennial generation continues to be more attracted to healthier food, this has translated into an interest and desire to garden. However, there is one problem, a large portion of them were never taught how to garden. LzyFarmer aims to bridge this knowledge gap by using a data driven approach to drive actions in the garden.

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Terp Startup Tommy WARES Makes Ethically Sourced Custom T-Shirts

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.

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Tommy WARES.pngTommy WARES

Founder & CEO: Tommy Piantone ’18, Information Systems major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Piantone: Countless small organizations spend a lot of resources organizing custom t-shirt orders for members of their community. Organizing a bulk t-shirt order takes a lot of time, energy and money that an organization could be spending on its real missions and goals. Rather than charging an organization for custom apparel, Tommy WARES helps organizations raise money through their apparel orders. We charge zero set-up fees and sell shirts to individual members of the organization’s community. For every shirt sold, we split the proceeds with our partnering organization 50/50. Our shirts are all union made in the USA and printed on only organic fibers.

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Terp Startup Solr Tech Designs Solar-Powered Umbrellas to Charge Phones

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.

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Solr tech.pngSolr Tech

Co-founder and President: Alexei Onufrak ’20, Environmental Science & Technology major

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Onufrak: Solr Tech provides real estate businesses with a cost effective, hassle-free solution to customer retention through a solar product retrofittable to any patio umbrella. With the Solr Umbrella, we bring an outdoor power solution, while avoiding high infrastructure costs. Whether it be cafe’s, hotels, resorts, universities or amusement parks, people’s need to charge their mobile devices dictates occupancy. Solr Tech aims to provide unique power solutions outdoors.

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