Category Archives: student entrepreneur

Spotlight on Role Models at the Third Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

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by: Megan McPherson, Events & Marketing Manager

The Ladies First Fall Dinner is the flagship event of the Dingman Center’s Ladies First initiative to expose more female students at University of Maryland to entrepreneurship. Each year, it attracts young women from all across campus for an evening where they can explore the unique challenges and strengths shared by women as they look to launch companies or lead them post-graduation. The third annual Ladies First Fall Dinner on November 1 in Van Munching Hall focused on “role models”, introducing a room comprised solely of female undergraduate students to two inspirational female founders in the cosmetics industry: alumna and serial entrepreneur Mary Schulman ’97, co-founder of PYT Beauty; and current student Brianna Queen ’19, founder of BEEQBOX and second place winner of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition. In a fireside chat moderated by associate director and Ladies First leader Sara Herald, MBA ’11, Brianna and Mary shared their inspiring founder stories and imparted valuable wisdom to 65 student attendees. Below are some of the recurring themes that both entrepreneurs touched upon during the discussion.

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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 Synapto Looks to Change the Game for Diagnosing Alzheimer’s

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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Synapto co-founders Anoop Patel and David Boegner

Synapto_Logo-01.pngSynapto

Co-Founder and Lead Machine Learning Engineer: Anoop Patel ’20, Bioengineering major, Computer Science minor
Co-Founder and Lead Systems Engineer: David Boegner ’20, Bioengineering major

Not in Terp Startup:
Co-Founder and CEO: Dhruv Patel ’20, Bioengineering major
Co-Founder and CTO: Chris Look ’20, Bioengineering, Computer Science double major
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer: Megha Guggari, ’20, Computer Science major

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

Synapto: Synapto is an early stage biotech venture aiming to revolutionize the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease through portable electroencephalogram (EEG) and machine learning. This technology allows for a cheaper, faster and more quantitative method of detection in comparison to current qualitative questionnaires and costly neuroimaging techniques (PET, MRI). Detecting the disease earlier allows more time for financial and legal planning, and provides the opportunity to enter clinical trials sooner, improving the drug development landscape.

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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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Terp Startup SLAY Naturals is a Natural Skincare Line for Fashionistas

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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Slay NaturalsSLAY Naturals

Founder and CEO: Breonna Massey ’18, Government & Politics major

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

Massey: SLAY Naturals is a skincare line designed for the naturalista that doubles as a fashionista. We provide an alternative for those who are in the process of living a holistic lifestyle but are not quite ready to commit to the earthy smells and packaging. Going natural should be fun and not intimidating. With our bright colors and bold smells, SLAY Naturals ensures that you will enjoy your entire natural experience.

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Terp Startup Olympus Projects Connects Music Artists and Brands

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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Co-Founders Peter Robinson, Mike Duquette and Zubin Gadhoke

Olympus Projects

golyicon[V2]-01Co-Founder and CEO: Peter Robinson ’19, Public Relations major, Classical Mythology minor
Co-Founder and COO: Zubin Gadhoke ’19, Computer Science major, Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor
Co-Founder and CFO: Mike Duquette ’18, Economics & Finance double major

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

OP: There are two groups of people that Olympus Projects aims to help:

The first group is music artists. We help music artists monetize off of their brands and digital followings by bringing them influencer marketing opportunities. Artists are excited about this because it creates a new revenue stream for their business that gets them paid much quicker than traditional music revenue streams.

The second group is emerging brands. We help emerging brands strengthen their customer alignment, raise brand awareness and ultimately increase sales. Our influencer marketing campaigns allow brands to efficiently reach their target consumers through the social media platforms of growing music artists.

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Terp Startup Citizens of Earth Wants to Help You Grow an Edible Garden

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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Citizens of Earth -logo-01Citizens of Earth

Founder and CEO: Michael Sheehan ’18, Business Management major with a specialization in Entrepreneurship

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

Sheehan: Citizens of Earth has founded a mission to find solutions for sustainable living. Research has proven that our single largest use of land, water and fossil fuels comes from the production, distribution and processing of food. This is a major concern for social and environmental sustainability. As an organization, we provide a solution to improve food sustainability by increasing local and natural food production. Local and naturally grown food reduces waste and pollution associated with industrial food production. We offer a service to install and maintain edible gardens and landscapes. The purpose of our business model is to provide a chemical-free, eco-friendly, and high-quality food supply to homes and community centers. If every home produced seasonal fruit and vegetables we would all begin to live a healthier, happier and more harmonious lifestyle.

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