Category Archives: Startup Success

Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series Preview: Tom Davidson

The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with the Founder & CEO of EVERFI, Tom Davidson, on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:00-6:00 p.m in 2204 Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. In a conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79, attendees will gain insights into the mind and career of Tom Davidson. Space is limited, so be sure to register now to attend.

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Tom Davidson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EVERFI, Inc. based in Washington, D.C. Since starting the company in 2008, Tom has led EVERFI from a startup in a Georgetown apartment to an organization with over 4,300 corporate customers and financial institutions.

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Lessons Learned from the Hisaoka Speakers Series Founders Panel

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From left: Moderator, Robert Hisaoka; Jeff Grass; Kristen McClellan; Paul Capriolo ’06

By: Matthew A. Talley ’21, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

On Tuesday, February 19th, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the fifth event in our Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series, a Founders Panel which featured three successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka ’79, Paul Capriolo ’06, Kristen McClellan, and Jeff Grass shared some of the insights they learned along with the challenges they’ve faced turning their ideas into incredibly successful and thriving companies.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10 Things to Know About Raul Fernandez

by: Eric Elliot

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The next Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series takes place on April 17 at 6 p.m. in Frank Auditorium and will feature UMD alumnus Raul Fernandez ’90, the current Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Click here to register for the event and read on for some interesting facts about this successful entrepreneur and philanthropist!

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Key Takeaways from the Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel

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From left: Moderator, Robert Hisaoka; Bradley Deyo; Brandon Deyo; Evan Lutz; Ali von Paris

By: Eric Elliot

On Tuesday, February 13, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the second event in our Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series, a Young Founders Panel which featured four successful entrepreneurs who launched their ventures as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14, Brandon Deyo and Bradley Deyo shared some of the insights they learned along with the challenges they faced turning their dorm room ventures into thriving businesses.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Brandon and Bradley Deyo

By: Eric Elliot

RGHisaoka_LOGO_2The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo 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 while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses.

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Mars Reel – Brandon and Bradley Deyo

Mars Reel started eight years ago in February, 2010, when Brandon and Bradley Deyo were sophomores playing basketball at Richard Montgomery High School. They dreamed of being recruited by a college basketball program and landing a scholarship; however, they were just like everybody else. Teammates and other high school athletes were also vying for the same limited media attention. In an attempt to get noticed by recruiters, Brandon and Bradley began recording highlights of their games and sent them to recruiters. Word quickly began to spread about the brothers who brought cameras to every game, and soon, friends, teammates, and players from other teams began asking for help. The brothers served as contractual cameramen and taught themselves how to edit videos. Mars Reel quickly became a small production studio for high school basketball athletes looking to get noticed, and the highlight clips on Mars Reel grew exponentially. Within a year, Brandon and Bradley Deyo received the 2011 Ernst & Young “Youth Entrepreneur” of the Year Award.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Evan Lutz

By: Eric Elliot

RGHisaoka_LOGO_2The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo 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 while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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Hungry Harvest – Evan Lutz ’14

Evan wanted to be a social entrepreneur ever since he was little. Particularly, he wanted to do something about the inefficient food system of this country. Every year, 40% of food produced goes to waste due to superficial abnormalities; at the same time, 20% of the U.S. lacks access to a nutritious diet. Wanting to do something about this, Evan Lutz started Hungry Harvest in the basement of his dorm room during his senior year at the University of Maryland with the goal of reducing food waste and eliminating hunger. Hungry Harvest purchases surplus ‘ugly produce’ that would have gone to waste from farmers and wholesalers and then distributes them to weekly subscribers. For every box they deliver to a customer, they donate a healthy meal to someone in need.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Ali von Paris

By: Eric Elliot

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The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo 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 while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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Route One Apparel – Ali von Paris ’12

In November 2010, Ali von Paris was faced with no work after the bar she worked at, the Thirsty Turtle, closed down. Wanting to honor the fallen bar along with her co-workers, Ali designed her first product, the “Turtle Survivor” jersey. Even though the jersey was initially targeted toward the employees, other fans of the bar quickly became interested. Ali saw this as an opportunity to leverage her passion for design and creativity into a business. Utilizing her social media channels, Ali advertised the jersey to her friends and family and secured 600 pre-orders for the product within just a few weeks, marking the start of Route One Apparel.

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3 Things I Did To “Surprise and Delight” My Way to 15,000 Customers

by: Sam Feldman, Founder, CardBuddy

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BACKGROUND ON ME

I fell in love with entrepreneurship soon after arriving at college, and made it my goal to run a business full-time upon graduating. I went 2 years without any paying customers, but during my junior year I started CardBuddy, a stick-on phone wallet company that now does over $100K annual revenue (and have been running it full-time since graduating last May).

I have some unique customer service strategies which have brought me great results, and I thought I’d share them here!

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