Feature Friday! JuJu Food Delivery

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups who are participating in our first in-person Terp Startup summer accelerator since 2020. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.

Founders: Weixiang Wang ’22, Computer Science and Statistics minor. Liqianrui Yang ’22 Economics and Management major, Technology Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation minor. Shi Yingzhou ’23 Finance and Information systems major. Keying Sun ’23 Statistics major. Kaiwen Lu ’24 Mathematics major Science, technology, ethics, and policy minor. Rong Yan ’24 OMBA and Finance major. Zeyang Liu ’22 Economics major. Zijian Zhang ’22 Computer Science major Statistics minor. Ziqi Zhang ’22 Computer Science major. Nanxin Luo ’24 Finance; Information systems. Yiying Lu ’22 Information System and Supply Chain Management major. Yongqi Zheng ’24 Operations Management & Business Analytics and Marketing major.

Co-founder Weixiang Wang ’22 discussing JuJu Food Delivery with President Pines.

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

Wang: JuJu is a company that is doing pre-scheduled food delivery services and group food delivery services. We can provide consistent arrival time every day and save 40% on pre-ordered, scheduled food delivery from the best, local and distant restaurants. We have fixed pickup locations in complex scenarios such as campus.

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

Wang: When I found I and my trusted partners are able to develop an App by ourselves, we think we have a unique way to think and analyze the market and users. We thought we might regret it in the future if we started a company now, but we would regret sure if we do not.

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

Wang: When we get into the startup shell at UMD a startup student organization at UMD, many people are interested in what we are doing and like to talk with us about our venture and give us help. Ian, Ananum, Pranav, Franco, Kiy, Ben, Fady, and all the members of the startup shell gave us so much inspiration and encouragement.

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

Wang: We have achieved 25% market penetration among the Chinese international students’ community at UMD. Accumulated 540 users, and achieved a 98% of retention rate of all users. During the last month we were running, we had 50+ orders for weekday lunches. We won second place on the Contrary Capital pitch competition. Accepted in the Terp Accelerator. And launched our website: jujufooddelivery.com

DC: As a student business owner, how do you define success?

Wang: We truly bring value to our customers as what we have planned.

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

Wang: Improve our understanding of our target customers. Get a clear idea of what problems we are solving and what kinds of value we can bring to customer. Practicing personal skills such as pitching and doing user interviews. Get more advice from experienced people.

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

Wang: If you really believe in what you are doing right now, ignore all the noise around you whether it is positive or negative. A just cause attracts much support, an unjust one finds little.

To learn more about JuJu Food Delivery visit the website here. Additionally, help JuJu get a better understanding of customer needs by filling out the form here.

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Feature Friday! Sparza

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups who are participating in our first in-person Terp Startup summer accelerator since 2020. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.

Founders: Ryan Myer ’22, Finance major. Kyle Sznoluch, general education major.

Co-founder of Sparza, Ryan Myer ’22.

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

Sparza’s first interactive card game, A Balancing Act.

Myer: Our business name is Sparza and our goal is to spread fun, happiness, and bring balance to the world! We have created a card game called A Balancing Act that involves two teams who go head-to-head with one person on each team acting out a hilarious, goofy action card while their teammates balance cards on them. The team who balances and acts the best will win the most points and eventually win the game!

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

Myer: I was in an entrepreneurship class, BMGT461M, with professor Le-Marie Thompson and I told her one day that I have always wanted to start a business. She said, “well, why haven’t you?,” “what is stopping you?” Later that day I went home, called my good friend, Kyle Sznoluch, and convinced him to join me on this wild entrepreneurship adventure. Ultimately, I have always wanted to start a business venture and am thankful for every opportunity I have received.

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

Myer: I have always wanted to work for myself, make my own hours, and put in countless hours of work to escape the rat race that many people involve themselves in.

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

Myer: In the last six months, we have conducted over 100 customer interviews, prototyped our game, ordered units, and sold the card game to the general public.

DC: As a student business owner, what motivates you?

Myer: The ability to learn more, hone my abilities, and the feeling of accomplishment as we progress through the entrepreneurial journey.

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

Myer: We aim to sell through all of our current product inventory, improve our website, produce a professional commercial, gain advice, and grow our social media presence.

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

Myer: I would say to go for it! Take that initial step and you will be absolutely dumbfounded by what you can truly achieve when you set your mind to something. Find a driving motivation for why you want to start the business. Something that will continue to drive you through your best day, worst days, and days when you even feel like giving up. Never give up and you will see success! If starting a business was easy, everyone would do it.

To learn more about Sparza, please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Sustainabli

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups who are participating in our first in-person Terp Startup summer accelerator since 2020. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.

Founders: Alisha Pun ’23, Economics major, Statistics and Spanish minor. Kevin Tu ’23 Biology and Economics major, Nonprofit Leadership & Social Innovation minor.

Co-founders Kevin Tu ’23 and Alisha Pun ’23 on a company Zoom meeting.

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

Pun: Sustainabli works to reduce the high levels of energy consumption and chemical/plastic waste that is produced by labs. We create behavioral change amongst scientists through our cost-effective programs, with each program honing in on a specific source of environmental harm. Our mission is to make research sustainable while also cutting costs for research institutes.

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

Tu: In 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their grimmest report yet on global warming, which galvanized me to do something to help our environment. Having been in research for 6 years, I had always noticed the staggering amount of waste that each scientist generates. As scientists, we tend to justify the amount of waste we produce with our data or discoveries, but I’ve realized that this is a fallacy. It’s perfectly possible to minimize the waste we produce while still producing excellent results. When I learned that there wasn’t much being done to address the waste produced by research, I decided that it was time to take matters into my own hands and build a startup committed to reducing research waste.

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

Pun: Emery Wolf was a previous sustainability coordinator at UMD. We worked with him closely and his passion for the environment was inspiring to us. He generated initial data on the feasibility of our venture’s initial products. The data demonstrated a huge opportunity to transform the realm of hard-science research towards a more sustainable culture. We owe a lot to him for encouraging us to begin this startup journey.

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

PunSustainabli was founded in March of this year. Over the past three months, our team has piloted a Shut the Sash competition between four chemistry labs at UMD. During this program, these labs have been competing against each other to see who can reduce the most amount of energy consumption by keeping their fume hood sashes closed. We’ve also created a website that uses real-time data to visualize the amount of CO2 emissions being released by each lab and fume hood. Our plan is to then expand this program to the rest of UMD’s research labs so that we can fully measure its impact on costs and carbon emissions.

DC: As a student business owner, how do you define success?

PunWe define success as fulfilling our purpose and being able to sustain ourselves so that we can further amplify our impact on the world. It means being on the track to reaching our next greatest potential.

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

PunAside from further fostering an entrepreneurial outlook for our company, our main objective in this accelerator is to determine our go to market strategy; we hope to identify a detailed ideal customer profile and create the best pricing model that allows us to expand our programs and maximize our influence on the world of research.

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

PunFor primarily impact-driven startups like Sustainabli, there’s a tendency to prioritize our impact over our consumers’ needs. Our best piece of advice is to first delve deep into the individuals or entities that your business would be selling to; make sure your product or service is truly needed and that it will in fact survive in the market. Innovate a solution business model that will have both impact and longevity.

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JASON AND JAMIE COHEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP FUND AWARD 2022 RECIPIENT – North Star Creations

North Star Creations is a startup founded by Maryland Smith graduate student Mat Parsons, MBA ’22, and his wife Elaine Parsons. North Star Creations creates products for parents to teach their children how to recognize and understand emotions. These tools will equip their children with self awareness and relationship skills to navigate through life. North Star Creations was a part of Terp Startup Accelerator in summer 2021, won the Grand Prize for the Fearless Ideas Track at Pitch Dingman Competition 2021, and won third place in the Main Street Track at Pitch Dingman Competition 2022. Upon his 2022 MBA graduation, Parsons became a member of the Dingman Center’s Young Alumni Founders Council.

North Star Creations has been chosen as the recipient for the 2022 Jason ’96 & Jamie Cohen Entrepreneurship Fund Award. Parsons will receive $1,000 to further accelerate his startup, selected due to the perseverance, level of engagement, and growth potential he has shown over the course of the year. According to Parsons, the funding will be put towards developing a toy face that children can use to express how they are feeling in a fun way. 

Congratulations to Mat and Elaine Parsons of North Star Creations!

That’s a Wrap! Spring 2022 at the Dingman Center

The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is wrapping up a busy semester of events and programs. We are pleased to report that our students are excited to engage with us in person while we are continuing to offer some virtual options. We are proud to see our enTERPreneurs continuing to thrive, and look forward to the exciting work that will come out of the Terp Startup Accelerator cohort this summer.

Join us in looking back over our spring 2022 semester…

Signature Events & Programs

Dingman Fridays 

This semester, we continued using a hybrid model to deliver Dingman Fridays where the first Friday of each month was held in person at Van Munching Hall and following Fridays were held virtually over Zoom. Each week the Dingman Center hosted a series of experienced entrepreneurs as well as a legal advisor who gave students, alumni, staff and faculty practical and actionable feedback on business ideas. If you’re interested in participating, sign up for the Dingman Fridays newsletter to be notified when we bring back Dingman Fridays in the fall.

Feb. 23 – Being Black in Entrepreneurship Event

To celebrate Black History Month, The Dingman Center partnered with Southern Management Leadership Program to organize our third annual Being Black in Entrepreneurship event via Zoom. Panelists Audrey Awasom ‘18, Founder & CEO at Noble Uprising and André Blackman ‘05, Founder and CEO of Onboard Health, were joined by moderator Sydney Parker ’18, CMO of Aurora Tights as they discussed their contributions and experiences as Black entrepreneurs.

Mar. 15 – Terp Marketplace

Dean Konana visiting Terp Marketplace venture, The CP Thrift Shop.

This semester, 37 students startups got to test the market by setting up tables in Van Munching Hall and selling their products and services for Terp Marketplace. The turn out was huge as vendors sold an array of products and services like sustainable clothing, delicious treats, custom candles, and more.

Apr. 26 – Pitch Dingman Competition

The three top Quattrone Venture Track teams pose with their winnings.

After two years of being virtual, the Dingman Center held Pitch Dingman Competition 2022 Finals in person at Stamp Grand Ballroom. The event was bigger and better than ever with over 300 in-person and over 500 virtual attendees watching the six student start up finalists pitch to judges Shark Tank style. While all of the finalists did an outstanding job presenting their business and ideas, this year, Edwin Djampa ’22, founder of Omega 3, won the grand prize for the Main Street Track and Sanketh Andhavarapu ’23, founder of Vitalize, won the grand prize for the Quattrone Venture Track.

Terp Ladies First Founders Class

Ladies First Founders is the Dingman Center’s signature course for female and non-binary students interested in entrepreneurship. This semester, 13 students worked to build soft skills for overcoming gender biases in entrepreneurship. Unlike previous years, students did not need to have launched a venture, as the focus of the course was on demystifying entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the course and why these students took it read here.

Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum

New Venture Practicum is another one of the Dingman Center’s signature courses where students experiment with business models, revenue streams and go-to-market strategies. After developing their business throughout the semester, students end the course by pitching for seed funding.

This semester’s cohort included:

  1. Build Bigger – Jonathan MacGregor ’22
  2. Easy Park – Sarthak Patel ’25
  3. Em G Art Design Studio – Emily Garcia ’24 (Studio Art and Art Education)
  4. Heart2Starr – Ileana Lozano ’22
  5. Odin Electric – Paul Mouring ’22 (Mechanical Engineering)
  6. Sequester Carbon Certified – Nathan McMullen ’23
  7. Shai Consulting – Shiv Agarwal ’23
  8. StockadooHrithik Bansal ’22 (Computer Science) and Justin Fenn ’22 (Computer Science)
  9. Sparza – Ryan Myer ’22 (Finance and Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
  10. Treasuremybeaute’ Treasure Valdez ’23 (Communication)
  11. Tribar – Perri Moeller ’22
  12. UCleaner – Blake Kuzemchak ’23
  13. Undefined Dreamerz – Takiyah Roberts ’25 (Material Science Engineering)
  14. Venture – Isaac Lefkovitz ’24 Samai Patel ’24

To learn more about the course and the businesses involved read here.

Founders Forum

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Founders Forum is held once a month, shown here at The Hall CP.

Not only will events like the Pitch Dingman Competition–among other Dingman Center programs–benefit your business, but they will provide you with a community of supportive like-minded individuals. Once a month, both current and alumni members of Terp Startup, Pitch Dingman Finalists and Startup Shell participate in Founders Forum. This forum is an opportunity for participants to hone entrepreneurial skills, learn from peers, and catch up with one another. During these meetings, we dive into a new topic related to running a businesses in a roundtable-style, while also making time to socialize.

Terp Startup Accelerator

This is now the program’s eighth consecutive year, and the first time the program will be held live again after two virtual years. Aside from the program’s workshops and roundtable discussions held throughout the summer, each team in the cohort will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 and a dedicated advisor to help them grow their businesses.

  1. Arch Dash – Ina Kovacheva ’23 (Computer Science)
  2. Bedtime Sports – Josh Doying MBA ’23
  3. CryptoKicks – Shiv Agarwal ’23 (Psychology)
  4. Em G Art Design Studio – Emily Garcia ’22 (Studio Art & Art Education)
  5. EMPIRE 242 – Kang Ewimbi ’23 (Entertainment Industry)
  6. JuJu Food Delivery – Weixiang Wang ’22 (Computer Science), Nanxin Luo ’25 (Finance and Information Systems), Zeyang Liu ’22 (Economics), Keying Sun ’23 (Statistics), Liqianrui Yang ’22 (Economics and Management), Zirui Zhou
  7. Omega 3 – Edwin Bright Djampa ’22 (Nutritional Food Science)
  8. ReGlass – Bennett Greenspun ’24 (Astronomy)
  9. Sparza – Ryan Myer ’22 (Finance), Kyle Sznoluch
  10. Sustainabli – Alisha Pun ’24 (Economics)
  11. TapIn – Rob (Diego) Castro ’24 (Finance), Zach Lefkovitz ’24 (Computer Science), Samai Patel ’25 (Computer Science), Corbin Voorhees ’25 (Aerospace Engineering), Joe Beckman ’25 (Undecided), Matt Gashaw ’25 (Computer Science), Edward Awe ’25 (Finance, Government and Politics), Neil Kundagrami ’24 (Computer Science and Math)
  12. UCleaner – Robert Choe PhD ’23 (Bioengineering), Blake Kuzemchak PhD ’23 (Bioengineering), Erfan Jabari PhD ’23 (Bioengineering), Noah Eby PhD ’23 (Bioengineering)

We’re Still #Trending!

The Dingman Center is officially on TikTok

Follow us on TikTok! @dingmancenter

The Dingman Center has stayed #trending this semester with our TikTok account! We have posted four videos advertising Giving Day, Terp Marketplace and Pitch Dingman Competition 2022–with more videos to come in the summer and fall. So far, our videos have almost 3,300 views combined. Be sure to check out our account and give us a follow to get exclusive Dingman Center content.

We hope everyone in the Dingman Center community has a restful and relaxing summer. We can’t wait for all the remarkable entrepreneurship to come in the upcoming school year.

Warmly,
The Dingman Center Team

Feature Friday! Stockadoo

Stockadoo is a platform that allows fans to trade shares of creators’ channels, which reduces creators’ reliance on ads and sponsors—while giving fans an opportunity to make money.
Justin Fenn ’22

DC: What’s your name, major, and graduation year?
Fenn: Justin Fenn, Computer Science Spring 2022.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Fenn: I participated in and won the Hult Prize 2019 at UMD and was fortunate enough to be able to compete with my team in Boston at the regional finals. Also, I attend Dingman Fridays regularly for guidance on a range of questions. Additionally Stockadoo was worked on in New Venture Practicum, one of the Dingman Center’s signature courses.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Fenn: Stockadoo is a platform that allows fans to invest in their favorite creators by trading shares of creators’ channels, monetizing the creator in the process. Our goal is to reduce the reliance on the advertisement economy by allowing fans to support creators directly while also benefitting through trading on the Stockadoo exchange.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Fenn: It may sound silly, but Star Trek is a big influence on my startup and most startup ideas I’ve had. Specifically, the hopeful attitude that Star Trek takes on how the future could be and that we will find solutions to our human vices, such as greed. In the future given by Star Trek, money does not exist, freeing up most anyone to pursue the goals they’d like to in their life. I hope that even if it’s extremely minor, Stockadoo can make a step towards a future like that.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last five months?
Fenn: Since January, we went from an idea to a brand, website, prototype and spread the idea to many people through surveys and word of mouth. We have signed up multiple creators who are willing to beta test the app when it launches.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
Fenn: We are finishing the beta version of the app and will be launching this summer. We are excited to get feedback from users and creators alike and hope we can provide a valuable product to both.

DC: As the founder of Stockadoo, how do you define success?
Fenn: I define success as the continual process of refining an idea to provide the most valuable solution while maintaining the integrity of the core goal of a business. In the case of Stockadoo, the app may change drastically, but the core goal of reducing the reliance of digital content on advertisements remains the same.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Fenn: The most important piece of advice I could give is simply to lean toward making any decision instead of making the best decision. Most startup decisions are situations where you can analyze the multiple options for an eternity and still not have enough information to make the best decision. If you make decisions sooner, you save a lot of time and make incremental progress to a larger goal.

To learn more about Stockadoo, please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Chat Health

Aishwarya Tare ’22 (second from the left) winning second place at the 2022 Pitch Dingman Competition Finals.

DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Tare: Hi, I’m Aishwarya Tare. And in a week, I’ll officially have my degree in Human-Computer Interaction with a minor in art history!

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Tare: For programs, I’ve only done Pitch Dingman, but I’ve been involved through Ladies First, Dingman Fridays, Startup Shell, and interning at StartupUMD all since my freshman year. We also just won second place at the PDC.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Tare: Chat Health is an AI data analytics platform that equips university health centers with information to make more efficient decisions on where to allocate their time and resources on campus. Our app, including our NLP chatbot, allows students to view and leverage all of the health resources, services, and events available to them on campus. Our predictive analysis dashboard for universities allows them to see in real-time, how students are utilizing the health ecosystem and how well their services are faring.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Tare: Potentially corny, but my personal inspiration will always be my parents, who I think perfectly balance the importance of family and close relationships with the drive and ambition you need to be successful working at a startup. They never shied away from working overtime, but are also some of the coolest adults I know. 

Also, growing up in Silicon Valley, I was surrounded by all these companies that used data to change the world including IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Palantir, etc. They are such inspirations because we would like to disrupt healthcare in the same way, and really change the way that people view their health for generations.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Tare: We’ve made some pretty big pivots in the last six months, definitely feeling the growing pains of achieving product-market fit. We completed our MVP and launched a beta test with UMD students, went through the i-Corps program, and participated in the Values and Ventures finals and PDC finals. We also began focusing on building long-term tools for university health centers over solving just the problem on the student side because focusing more on our student app felt something like putting a band-aid on a gash. For this summer, we’re focused on applying to some SBIR grants, iterating on the university-facing dashboard, and securing a couple of pilots with schools for the Fall 2022 semester.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Tare: The biggest thing we are working on right now is security partnerships with universities. By co-developing Chat Health with them, we can make sure we are meeting their needs while also making it a really easy sell when we have validated how the product fits into each university’s health ecosystem. To do this, we are illustrating where student needs on campus aren’t being met, and how we have closed some of these gaps through students using our app at UMD. By the way, if you’re a student interested in joining our ongoing UMD pilot, you can sign up here!

DC: As a young business owner, what motivates you?
Tare: The adrenaline of making progress. It is such an addicting feeling to glean a new insight that challenges your perspective, find a new use case, validate an assumption, make a pivot, or get funding from others who believe in what you’re building.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Tare: You don’t have to be the foremost expert in the field of the problem you’re trying to solve, you just have to be willing and motivated to become more knowledgeable about it than anyone else. Talk to as many people experiencing the problem as possible, seek learning material, surround yourself with people who are experts and lean on them, and be willing to constantly change and iterate your understanding of it because your startup will become so much bigger than yourself.

To learn more about Chat Health, please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Fusion100

Founder of Fusion100, Ilan Orgel ’22, sporting his merchandise.

DC: What is your name, major, and graduation year?
Orgel: Ilan Orgel, Finance, graduating in May of 2022.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Orgel: Pitch Dingman Competition 2022.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Orgel: Fusion100 is a global lifestyle clothing brand whose mission is to inspire people to become the best version of themselves.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Orgel: Marketing through professional athletes in the NBA and NFL.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Orgel: We were featured on the biggest sports media outlets in the world Sportscenter, Bleacherreport, and NBA on ESPN. We have shipped our products to countries outside of the United States.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Orgel: Currently working on an entire summer collection that is going to launch at the end of April. It will include shirts, shorts, and more.

DC: As the founder of Fusion100, how do you define success?
Orgel: Building a community around the world and have people feel a certain way when they are wearing Fusion100. Continuing to work with big names and expand the brand.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Orgel: Believe in yourself and have a vision.

To learn more about Fusion100 please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Quandry

Quandry is a digital platform that provides retail traders tools for researching, developing, and deploying automated trading strategies.

DC: What are your names, majors, and graduation years?
Houlton: Bryan Houlton, Computer Science and Robotics, Winter 2023. Ryan Downing, Finance and Computer Science, Spring 2022.

Co-founder Bryan Houlton ’23

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Houlton: I’m involved in a lot of startup stuff at UMD. For Dingman, my company is participating in the Pitch Dingman Competition for 2023. We’re in the Quattrone track and competing for $30,000, but I’m also involved in the Hatchery and Startup Shell.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Houlton: We make tools for algorithmic trading, a field where people make use of complex formulas and mathematical model to make decisions to buy or sell stock. Our product basically boils down to a web platform where you can log on, build an algorithmic investing strategy, test it over years of market data to see how it would have performed, and if you like the results, start trading with real or fake money. Then, you can list your strategy on the marketplace for others to invest in, and you’ll make a commission on their profits: essentially making everyone their own hedge fund.

Co-founder Ryan Downing ’22

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Houlton: We’ve had a lot of support from the UMD entrepreneurship community. We were accepted into the Hatchery, a new UMD incubator, and are being mentored by some amazing people there. We also have great connections through Dingman, Startup Shell, etc. To shoutout a few, I’d say Haroon, Idris, and Zeki Mokhtarzada, Juliana Neelbauer, the Startup Shell admin team, and our main Dingman contacts, Lottie Byram and Alex Onufrak.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Houlton: Well, we’ve only been around for ~5mo and are launching our product in May. So, our big updates are that we were accepted into the Hatchery and are close to finishing our initial product. We’ve also managed to onboard two awesome people to work with, one of which is another UMD student helping with some software engineering, and another is a UI/UX designer based out of California. I would consider getting them onboard to be a significant accomplishment purely because of how much they have contributed to the company and how important they have been to our success so far.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
Houlton: Right now, our most important thing is making sure that the product is ready for launch by the end of May. We’re working hard on building out the last couple features that we need, fixing bugs, iterating on our user experience, and marketing. Both Ryan (my cofounder and CTO) and I are working probably 50+ hours a week to really push this through, so organizational processes like sprints have been a must for consistent execution. We’re also looking to raise some money in alignment with the product launch, so opportunities like Pitch Dingman, Y Combinator, Contrary, and other VC firms that we have connections to are a hot topic for us right now.

DC: As a young business owner, what motivates you?
Houlton: There are two answers to this: the internal and the external. Internally, it’s the cliché “I’ve always liked to build things”. It’s what everyone says, but for most people that are into this kind of stuff, it’s true. Getting to build a product that you’re excited about and see other people also get excited about is a truly unique experience. The external motivation is the people I get to interact with by being a part of UMD entrepreneurship. This ranges from my fellow students in Startup Shell to the Mokhtarzada brothers running the Hatchery, as they all come together to drive UMD in the entrepreneurship space. Watching every one of them be passionate about UMD’s startup community makes me want to participate in the great opportunities popping up all over the university.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Houlton: I’m assuming anyone reading this is going to be from UMD, so my advice we be to get involved in the UMD startup communities. My background is in tech and a solid portion of what I do at Quandry is coding, but I find that more and more of running a startup is about people. Who are your mentors, who are you learning from, how well do you get along with your cofounders and core team, who are you hiring, etc. We’re not at this point yet but what I’ve heard is that, especially as your company grows, you’ll be spending less and less time on the base level work (coding, cold calls, so forth). It’s important to have a team that you can trust and rely on to be able to delegate to and propel the company forward. To find people, some great communities to get involved in are Startup Shell (would HIGHLY recommend for any students), Dingman Center (great events like Pitch Dingman and the Summer Accelerator), and the Hatchery (applications are every September). At these places you can find some amazing people to learn from, but also, working for a startup is a good way to see if you want to make your own. You’ll get a good idea of what the job looks like for founders, as well as learn a lot about tech, marketing, or whatever you’re working in to help when you start your own company. To summarize, focus a lot of your time on finding great people that have skills that compliment your own, and learn as much as you can about startups through work experience or campus communities. There will probably never be a better time in your life to take a risk on a startup, so if you’re thinking about it, just go for it.

To learn more about Quandry, please visit the website here.

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E-Fund Grant Winners | Spring 2022

Panthalassa Holdings, LLC

Student: Perri Moeller, ’23
Prize: $858.01

Panthalassa Holdings is developing land based aquaculture opportunities through the innovative Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology. This will create healthier and sustainable domestic seafood production and create economic incentives for environmental stewardship as the RAS will be located in economically suppressed rural areas. As of 2019, the US Seafood trade deficit is $16.9 billion and these imports are causing the collapse of our natural resources. Panthalassa Holdings will help fill the seafood production gap in America as we need a network of sustainable land based aquaculture to easily and sustainably feed our growing population.

Use of Funds

Perri and Panthalassa Holdings plans on using the funds to attend the Industry Conference RASTech to showcase her venture and make important industry connections, as well as business cards to facilitate her networking.

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