Category Archives: Terp Startup

Feature Friday! JMakes3D

A 3D printed case JMakes3D created for a recent client.

DC: What is your name, major, and graduation year?
Garnett: Jacob Garnett, Material Science and Engineering, Spring 2021;
(And my co-founder who is not in Terp Startup) John Fitzell, Bioengineering, Spring 2020.

Jacob Garnett ’21

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Garnett: At JMakes3D, we help inventors and entrepreneurs get from ideation to functional prototype. We do this by providing affordable and reliable services including 3D design, 3D printing, and physical product development. Unlike our competition which focuses on mass production, our focus on functional prototypes helps early stage entrepreneurs validate their idea with customers and demonstrate their idea to investors and licensees.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Garnett: During my Sophomore year after doing freelance with some startups.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Garnett: Hearing about the bad product development experiences of other early stage entrepreneurs was one of the biggest influences on us starting JMakes3D.

DC: How have the effects of the pandemic changed your company’s focus or ideas?
Garnett: The pandemic changed the way we tried to find new clients. Previously, we found a lot of clients through in-person networking and referrals but with the pandemic stopping in-person events we are pivoting towards forming partnerships with other innovation-focused organizations like incubators and accelerators.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Garnett: 1) 15 clients over the past 6 months
2) Pitch Dingman Semifinalists
3) Accepted into Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation’s Innovation Station.

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Garnett: 1) Develop strategic partnerships with innovators in Maryland.
2) Develop workshops on the product development process.
3) Develop a two-year business plan.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Garnett: Surround yourself with passionate people because they will keep you motivated.

For more information about JMakes3D, please visit the website here.

Feature Friday! Cruising Altitude LLC

Alan Soclof ’21 (top, right) being interviewed by the “Chit Chat Money” investment personalities.

DC: What is your name, major, and anticipated graduation year?
Soclof: My name is Alan Soclof, and I am a Management major with an anticipated graduation date of December 2021.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Soclof: Cruising Altitude is a financial media company focused on educating and inspiring the next generation of long term investors. Through our flagship newsletter, we share high quality, yet simple, stock analysis so anyone and everyone can learn more about the stock market! If Warren Buffett was born in 2000, he would read Cruising Altitude. 

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Soclof: Ever since I was young, I have absolutely loved investing! The process of analyzing and learning about the greatest companies in the world is something that I just find so fascinating! Throughout this year, while many of my contemporaries were bored and stuck at home, their interest in the stock market grew significantly. Many of the resources targeting Gen Zers are focused on day trading and cryptocurrencies and there is nothing out there (for Gen Z specifically) promoting fundamentally driven long term investing. I realized just how big the opportunity could be for a company that is looking to fill this niche, and I had to give it a shot!

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Soclof: I would say the biggest influence for a startup is Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha (his awesome nickname!) is one of the greatest investors of all time. He has showed the whole world how being diligent and patient can lead to lucrative returns. Taking Buffett’s investing approach and mixing it with some Gen Z energy and humor is the Cruising Altitude way! 

DC: How have the effects of the pandemic changed your company’s focus or ideas?
Soclof:
In many ways, we think we were born due to the pandemic! Gen Z flooded into the stock market at unprecedented rates during the pandemic because, well, that was all that was going on! This trend has created a significant opportunity for someone to educate and inspire these new investors to be long term investors (the proven and easiest way!) and Cruising Altitude is looking to do just that!

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Soclof: There are two significant accomplishments, other than getting accepted into the Terp Startup Accelerator, that we are very proud of. The first one is growing our newsletter from 0 to 750 subscribers in just a handful of months! The second accomplishment that we are proud of is that we released an awesome newsletter every week for 27 consecutive weeks. This consistency that we provide to our Cruisers is something that we value and take very seriously!

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Soclof: During the Terp Startup Accelerator, our main goal is to (almost) double our subscriber-ship to 1,400 subscribers! The newsletter is free and only comes once a week (and it is really funny!) so make sure to sign up!

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Soclof: The advice that I would give to any aspiring entrepreneur is to work hard and be patient. Unlike your Amazon order, success does not come overnight! Trust the process, focus on your daily goals, and just wait and after a few months you will be shocked at how much you have accomplished!

For more information about Cruising Altitude LLC, please visit the website and sign up for the newsletter here.

Feature Friday! StockBrew

Peter Chun ’22, Dakshay Mehta ’22, and Jay Patel ’22 are the co-founders of StockBrew.

DC: What are your names, majors, and anticipated graduation years?
Team StockBrew: Jay Patel, Information Science, 2022; Peter Chun, Computer Science, 2022; Dakshay Mehta, Mechanical Engineering, 2022.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Team StockBrew: StockBrew is a mobile app that helps busy stock market investors get notified of real-time insights and upcoming catalysts for their current or potential investments. Build the knowledge you need to make that next trade without having to spend hours a day.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Team StockBrew: All three of us grew up with parents that were all self-starters, who built and ran their own small businesses. Growing up in an environment like that, a sense of hard work and entrepreneurship was instilled on us from a young age. The 3 of us met during our freshman year of college and we worked on several large projects such as engineering our own electric bike and starting our own private investment fund. These projects made us realize we worked well together. Fast forward to September of 2020, when we combined our interests for finance, technology, and entrepreneurship to begin building our startup.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Team StockBrew: Our team knew we wanted to build a startup in the financial tech industry. At first, we came up with various ideas related to a social platform for investors. Then, we started to hold interviews with our potential customers, which is when we began to see a recurring problem. Students and those in the workforce didn’t have the time to constantly check for stock insights/updates, leading to less confidence in making future investment decisions. We owe it to our interview participants for telling us the stories that inspired our idea.

DC: How have the effects of the pandemic changed your company’s focus or ideas?
Team StockBrew: We came up with the idea during the pandemic so it didn’t really have a major impact on our company’s focus. However the pandemic did lead to a spike in stock trading, showing us that this is a strong market to get into right now.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Team StockBrew: We’ve been working on this company for almost 5 months. During this time, we’ve been able to launch a landing page website, where people can get more information about the app and join a mailing list for upcoming releases. Additionally, we’ve created mock-ups for our application and created a development plan for our MVP. Just recently, we’ve begun coding the application, and some of the tools we’re using include: AWS, React, IEXCloud, and SqlDBM. 

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Team StockBrew: During the Terp Startup Accelerator, we hope to learn just how to build a company and market to our customers. Also, we aim to learn about useful resources that are available to us. And lastly, we hope to grow our social network. 

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Team StockBrew: Try to figure out whether people actually have the problem you’re trying to solve before you spend months building something.

For more information about StockBrew, please visit the website here.

Feature Friday! Art Behavioral Analysis

Mika Panday ’21, Colleen Baldwin ’21, and Olivia Bruno ’21 are the co-founders of Art Behavioral Analysis.

DC: What are your names, majors, and graduation years?
Team ABA: Mika Panday, Studio Art 2021; Colleen Baldwin, Physics 2021; Olivia Bruno, Business Administration and Entrepreneurship 2021.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Team ABA: Art Behavioral Analysis is an intuitive platform allowing HIPAA compliant photo sharing and the creation of medical timelines. Our mission is to help children with disabilities connect with their care teams on a personal level and to enhance the communication between their guardians and healthcare providers.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Baldwin: When I was in 7th grade, my mother was a hospice nurse and I wanted to help the people she served, so I started writing uplifting letters. I worked with a couple of the kids that hung out in our art classroom during recess and inspired them to write letters with me. I received funding from my local church that allowed us to write over 100 letters to people on hospice care. This is when I realized I love the freedom of having my own company and the ability to help people.
Panday: I experienced a major dip in one of my bipolar swings that left me feeling with doubt about my future. Instead of letting it consume me, I drew in my sketchbook every day. I shared my illustrations that reflected how I was feeling to a community online. Overtime, the outlet to create something was the solution to combat my depression. From that experience, I feel motivated to share this tool with other people to cope with their emotions.
Bruno: My parents own an architecture firm, Bruno Architecture in Blue Hill Maine. As I grew up watching them experience the good, bad and ugly parts of entrepreneurship, I realized that it was a viable path towards financial independence, as well as an important way to contribute to my communities. Now I hope to bring my knowledge of business to help the community dearest to me: children with disabilities.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Team ABA: The Maryland Autism facebook group, where mothers share triumphs and challenges involved with Autism, has been a source of inspiration to us. The number of posts surrounding breakdowns of communication between healthcare providers, special education teachers, and therapists, made us realize that this is a problem worth solving in a market ripe for innovation.

We are also inspired by the fearless women who run Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Centers. ABA therapy is a female dominated industry, which is both exciting and refreshing. We have been very lucky to connect with several innovative mentors who have already built, scaled and exited multiple companies in the space. The mentorship and guidance that these women have shared with us has transformed our MVP into a simpler and more impactful tool for families and healthcare providers.

DC: How have the effects of the pandemic changed your company’s focus or ideas?
Team ABA: As we moved from in-person experiences to zoom calls and emails, we learned the importance of communication and humanization through technology. We realized that written dialogue itself is not enough, we must change the way communication is structured, especially in the context of the disability community, so that neurotypical and neurodiverse populations can successfully understand and humanize with one another. Based on this hypothesis, we pivoted from a machine learning based diagnostic tool, to a HIPAA compliant photo and video sharing platform, which has received glowing feedback from our mentors in the ABA community.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Team ABA: Over the last six months we have brought on Colleen our technical co-founder, completed customer interviews with over 30 potential customers, connected with four mentors and founders in the ABA community, and built our MVP.

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Team ABA: Our most pressing goal is to get our app into the hands of ABA centers so that we can receive feedback from real users and iterate successfully. In order to do this, we need to finish developing the photo storage database and complete beta tests to ensure our platform is fully secure. Currently we have a working frontend and backend for user authentication and security. We hope to leverage insights from our upcoming beta tests to begin fundraising by the end of the Terp program in order to accommodate our growing tech costs.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Team ABA: Remember to always pivot! Always revert back to your customer and understand their needs; ultimately you are making a product that will help them with their everyday life. Follow the sales, if people are not actively trying to buy your product, pivot!

For more information about Art Behavioral Analysis, please visit the website here.

Feature Friday! The Sustainable Socialite

Sarah Lader ’20 displaying a collection from The Sustainable Socialite at a pop-up event.

DC: What’s your name, major, and graduation year?

Lader: My name is Sarah Lader and I graduated in December of 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Science.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?

Lader: The Sustainable Socialite curates bold, high quality, unique pre-loved pieces so that you can stand out from the crowd while standing up to fight against fast fashion. We focus on providing a cost-inclusive, size-inclusive collection to make ethically sourced vintage pieces available to anyone who is looking for a way to shop secondhand without sacrificing their love for expressing their individuality through fashion.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?

Lader: While living abroad, I walked into a tiny vintage shop. For the first time in my life, I was able to not only fit into stunning pieces dating back to the 1940’s, I was able to afford them. I spent hours in the store trying on one-of-a-kind pieces that made me feel as though my individuality was finally shining through my fashion choices. They offered me a job there and I quickly fell in love with the community that surrounded inclusive vintage fashion. I wanted to bring the feelings I had when I first walked into that shop home with me, and foster a loving community around ethical shopping through curated pieces and a love of unique fashion.

DC: What or who is the biggest influence for your startup?

Lader: I really don’t think there is one specific person or thing that has influenced my startup, but rather the general people I surround myself with that have encouraged me to pursue my dream. My parents called me a “people collector” once because of my passion for listening to people’s stories and using their passions as inspiration to grow and learn. I have picked up those who are kind and inclusive, who care about our world, and who have believed in me throughout this journey. I have listened to what people want out of the fashion industry and what trends they wish they had the confidence to pull off, and adapted through that. I continue to be influenced by those I choose to have in my life because of their positive energy, whether that be my mom and dad who encourage me to try new things every day, my friends and boyfriend who have helped me achieve my dreams through successes and failures without ever doubting my capabilities, or my customers who take the time to let me know that they believe in my mission and give me the motivation to wake up every day, excited to share more of what I love with the world. I am incredibly lucky to have these support systems. They are the reason I will always continue to fight for what I believe in, and one of the things I truly believe in is The Sustainable Socialite’s potential.

DC: In the new virtual world, how has your focus or ideas changed?

Lader: I’m definitely someone who loves communicating with people in person and really getting to know my customers through face to face interactions, along with the opportunity to help style them in ways they may not have initially thought of. So in this new way of life, I have had to adapt to keep fostering those relationships. I write cards with every order, I have interactive stories asking for customer opinions and styling help, and I’ve been really focusing on ensuring I’m as active online as possible. I am also planning on launching an online personal stylist service to help people shop for different occasions, answer any questions they have, and assist them in planning bold outfits!

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?

Lader: In the past 6 months we have been part of Terp Startup Fellows, which has given us the opportunity to not only pursue more in person (outdoor, socially distanced) pop-up events, where we generate the most revenue, but also to purchase a trailer which we are currently renovating in order to do more events. We have increased from posting once a week to posting up to 7 items per day on our website and instagram, and are currently revamping our internship program to teach people about content creation, ethical fashion, and give students the opportunities to work firsthand with our startup!

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Lader: You know your business more than anyone else. If you believe wholeheartedly in your idea, if you trust your process and believe in yourself, you can achieve great things. Not everything is going to work, but you can learn from your failures and become stronger through them. This is your vision and you have the ability to make it happen. Not every day is going to be easy, but the experience is unparalleled and the end result is worth it.

For more information about Sarah Lader’s company, The Sustainable Socialite, please visit the website here.

Terp Startup Morning Light Esports brings some old-school competition

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

Morning Light Esports

Founder: Harrison Burke ’20

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

Burke: Morning Light is an Esports organization focused on bringing a vintage and rustic aesthetic to an industry that is currently filled with companies that are carbon copies of one another. The assumption that everyone interested in Esports wants to see brands that are edgy, neon colored, and filled with intensity, is a massive misconception to me. Everyone wants to champion something whether it’s a band, their university, or a professional team. My ambition is to build an Esports org for people who are bored of the same old thing and give them something to champion.

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Burke: I’ve been involved in Esports since 2013 and my obsession with antiques, vintage clothes, and classic rock goes back further than my memory serves me. When I realized that I wanted to run my own Esports organization after having worked in Esports for 2 years, it felt only right to make it harder than I had to for a challenge’s sake. I could create another boring, neon-light-covered, obnoxious brand like everyone else, or I could go a different route and look to create something that hasn’t been done before. It hit me that creating an Esports brand based on vintage and rustic themes would be a way for me to make my work an extension of myself and my identity while bringing something new to the scene.

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

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360° real estate shopping by drone? Meet Terp Startup Door Robotics, Inc

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

Door Robotics

Founders: Joshua Ermias ’20, Vincent Jaugan ’21, Patrick Crowe

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

Ermias: Door Robotics is a 360-camera indoor capable drone company based in Maryland. An expensive problem that real estate photographers and content creators have is the amount of time it takes to complete a job. We set out to provide an autonomous solution that combined 360 cameras and drones. The vision for our drone is to have a Roomba-like functionality and follow-me feature that optimizes the capture of quality video/photo shots with a 360 view.

The Door Robotics Team

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Ermias: Initially, I came up with the idea when I was first working on drones, cameras, and 360 footage. My friend had asked me to help him make a 360 app while I was working on a drone project. I put the camera I had on the drone and realized that it added a unique perspective. At the time, there were no other drones that could do something like this, and I was inspired to dive into the startup world.

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

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Small businesses now deliver with drones – Terp Startup Blimp Logistics

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

Blimp Logistics

Founders: Camilo Melnyk ’21

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

Melnyk: Blimp Logistics is a drone delivery company. We are trying to develop a complete drone logistics network that will be capable of providing ultra-fast delivery between local businesses and their customers.

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Melnyk: It was a mixture of following the news, interest in drones, writing a research paper for class, and boredom on a family road trip.

During the summer of 2018, my family and I were driving back to Maryland after a family vacation in Canada. A research paper I had just written on drone legislation was fresh in my mind, and to keep from falling asleep my dad and I were taking about business ideas, drones, hobbies, etc. We talked about competitors in the field, ideas blended, and I came up with what I thought was a novel approach to drone delivery.

Camilo Melnyk

After getting home I sat down and did some research. I was hooked. I had a novel idea, at this point I had already been flying and building drones for 6 years, I was majoring in aerospace engineering, and I wanted to be my own boss when I graduated. Starting my own business seemed to be the only option!

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

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Modify your snacking with Terp Startup ModBars

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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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ModBars

Founders: Jeff Su ’21, Wyatt Talcott ’21, Max Levine, Joe Oleynik

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

ModBars: We are ModBars, a snack bar company with the mission to provide snacks that are nutritious, filling, and that cater to various dietary restrictions. We currently hold six flavors including two whey protein bars, two trail mix bars, a s’mores bar and a coffee energy bar. We will soon introduce complete customization to ensure individual freedom and unique value to our customers. By visiting our website you will be able to choose from a list of ingredients and create your own bars from scratch. Our target audience includes health conscious, young people who aim to accommodate their chosen lifestyles, diets, and/or allergies.

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

ModBars: Growing up with a severe tree-nut allergy, I [Jeff] had to be extremely cautious about what I was eating. When I started high school, I began taking nutrition more seriously for my competitive swimming career. I noticed, however, that it was difficult to find a nut-free protein bar that I could eat after practice. The ones I did find either tasted awful, were too sugary, or contained chemicals that weren’t even pronounceable. Fed up with the lack of available options, I recruited four other student-athletes and together we created our own bar. We spent five months researching and experimenting with different kinds of ingredients. After batch #94, the five of us finally achieved a low-sugar, nut-free, high-protein granola bar, known today as the Viking Whey. We immediately received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our classmates and teachers at school, and thus, ModBars was born. Since then, we have developed new recipes and expanded our business to a larger community. We hope you enjoy our bars!

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

ModBars: Since obtaining our LLC in early 2017, we have taken many large steps towards achieving our goal of being in multiple Whole Foods. We have created six starter flavors ranging from whey protein bars to trailmix and dessert bars. In the Summer of 2019, we were able to get our product in our local summer swim club snack bars. That Fall, we were semi-finalists at the annual Pitch Dingman Competition. This Spring, we received the Jason ‘96 & Jamie Cohen Entrepreneurship Fund Award, given to budding University of Maryland startups, along with a small grant.

DC: What drives you to keep going?

ModBars: There’s no better feeling than exceeding someone’s expectations when you have them try your product for the first time. We want to get rid of the stigma associated with the bad taste of protein bars, one person at a time. We want to help people with severe allergies like our CEO Jeff to find an affordable snack.

DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?

ModBars: Luckily, we’ve had the opportunity to work with other UMD startups over the spring semester in Dingman’s New Venture Practicum course and it was a really great experience for us there. We were able to meet with many companies outside of our industry and even some competing snack bar companies, which offered us a wide variety of knowledge and expertise. We hope to continue to explore the relationships we’ve built with other student entrepreneurs, both through that course as well as our other involvement with Dingman. We greatly value the importance of collaboration and are thankful to be part of Terp Startup!

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?

ModBars: With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing us from manufacturing, we hope to focus on our company’s R&D — from creating a newsletter to developing a more user-friendly website to gathering more consumer data — over the summer so that when the school year starts and we move back into our kitchen, we can hit the ground running.

For the booked, the busy and the bougie: Terp Startup O.pal.es.cent Nails

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 12 student startups who are participating in our virtual Terp Startup summer accelerator. 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.

O.pal.es.cent Nails

Founder: Doyinsola Oladimeji-Stevens ’20

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

Oladimeji-Stevens: O•pal•es•cent Nails is a custom handmade press-on nail company for the booked, the busy, and the bougie. Our purpose is to give people back their time, convenience, and money without sacrificing on quality. We are targeting people who are tired of spending hundreds of dollars a month on nails that on average only last 2 weeks before they have to go in and do the same thing all over again. Millions of dollars are spent annually on nails that might last for 3 weeks at best. Why buy something temporary when you can invest in something long-lasting?

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Doyinsola Oladimeji-Stevens

Oladimeji-Stevens: I had always been interested in nails and nail art. In high school, I would spend hours on a Saturday doing a nail design on my left hand that would end up chipping by the next week. I initially bought some nail tips sophomore year of college to be able to do the same designs but in a form that I could reuse. I first came up with my business idea in October and it was as if a light bulb went off. I honestly thought to myself, “Why hadn’t I been doing this sooner?!”

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

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