Category Archives: Pitch Dingman

That’s a Wrap! Fall 2019 at the Dingman Center

Things are slowing down at the Smith School. Students are taking their last finals, and we’re finishing up work to prepare for a blissful holiday season ahead. So grab a cup of cocoa and take a trip with us down memory lane as we recap a fantastic fall semester of events, programs and more at the Dingman Center!

A Rise in the Rankings

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University of Maryland rose in the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s rankings to #7 in undergraduate programming, and #3 for public universities. This marks our fifth consecutive year in the top 10! Read about the rankings here.

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Pitch Dingman Finalist AlgenAir Accepted into ASU Innovation Open

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Pitch Dingman Competition finalist startup AlgenAir has been invited to participate in the semifinal round of the Arizona State University Innovation Open on January 31, 2020, which only invites the best collegiate-led tech startups to compete and showcase for a chance to vie for $300K in grant funding, including two $100K cash prizes. They will be one of twenty-eight startups to compete, having advanced from a preliminary round that included over 100 student entrepreneurs from around the country. The Dingman Center has provided the co-founder’s of AlgenAir, Dan Fucich, PhD ’20, a marine estuary and environmental science PhD candidate, and Kelsey Abernathy, an environmental and molecular biology PhD candidate at UMB, with an E-Fund Award to cover expenses to compete. The Dingman Center reached out to Dan Fucich about AlgenAir’s flagship product, the “aerium”, an algae-powered air purifier; their experiences with Pitch Dingman Competition; and their hopes for the ASU Innovation Open.

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Announcing the Semifinalists of the 2020 Pitch Dingman Competition

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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 2020 Pitch Dingman Competition semifinalists. The founders of the semifinalists teams will participate in workshops and receive mentoring to help them further accelerate their businesses, whether or not they make the cut for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals. On Friday, November 22 from 1-4 p.m. in Van Munching Hall, these 10 student startups will pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges at the Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals. We’re excited to see who wins the opportunity to pitch at the Finals on March 10, 2020 for a shot at the grand prize of $15,000!

Read on to learn more about each semifinalist team in their own words:

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Catching Up With Ladies First Founder Jasmine Snead of Aurora Tights

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by: Hannah Shraim ’20, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

Jasmine Snead ’17, MPP/MBA ’21 is a first year MBA student at the University of Maryland. She is set to graduate with a joint degree in policy and business in 2021. Snead majored in Government and Politics as an undergraduate at UMD and was part of the pilot Ladies’ First Founders cohort. 

We sat down with Aurora Tights Co-Founder and 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition winner Jasmine Snead to talk about her experiences as an entrepreneur. 

Snead was a part of Ladies’ First, a course launched by the Dingman Center to help increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD. After launching the program, Dingman saw that female engagement in our programs increased from 25% to 40%. 

While Snead makes it look seamless with her many accolades, starting a venture is no easy feat. After launching her company, which sells apparel for performers of all skin tones and sizes, Snead was in search of guidance and mentorship. 

“I wanted to be in an atmosphere to grow with women founders and discuss [the challenges] we were facing,” she said. Ladies’ First became that community for her. 

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That’s a Wrap! Spring 2019 at the Dingman Center

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Graduation is this week, and we’ve had some time to reflect on the numerous events and programs we’ve held throughout the semester. The community has impressed us once again with their enthusiasm, passion and dedication to entrepreneurship throughout spring. Here are some featured highlights from our events, and be on the lookout for upcoming interviews with the student entrepreneurs in our Summer 2019 Terp Startup Cohort.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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