Tag Archives: DC entrepreneurs

Dingman Jumpstarts Alumni Ventures

The Dingman Center has many entrepreneurship programs available to University of Maryland (UMD) students currently on campus. However, lately we noticed that the resources available to Terp alumni were a bit lacking. UMD has some of the most entrepreneurial alumni out there and the Dingman Center is poised to provide these alumni with the same venture creation methodologies we teach current students. This winter, the Center will launch Dingman Jumpstart, a startup boot camp designed exclusively for UMD alumni. The program will allow alumni to test their early stage venture’s hypotheses and conduct meaningful customer discovery in a short period of time. At the end of the program, which includes a boot camp weekend in January then two follow up meetings in February and March, each venture within the program should have a clear “go” or “no-go” decision.


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The Opportunity:

Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) invests billions of dollars into the R&D of innovative technologies. With the help of a national program called I-Corps, and through national and regional partnerships with top business schools across the country, these and other federally-funded research projects are given the entrepreneurial tools needed to succeed in the market. I-Corps participants go through a rigorous startup curriculum, developed in collaboration with lean launchpad pioneer Steve Blank, who was instrumental in coining the customer discovery methodology that played a huge part in launching the lean startup movement.

NSF selected a consortium including UMD, George Washington University and Virginia Tech to create the regional DC I-Corps program. Educators and local thought leaders in entrepreneurship make up the teaching faculty for the program. Last winter, Dingman Center Managing Director Elana Fine was recruited to join the teaching faculty and spent months teaching and advising I-Corps ventures.

The Result:

With the I-Corps curriculum now in Dingman’s toolkit, we considered how we could bring these skills to the Terp community, and the idea for Dingman Jumpstart was hatched.

“Jumpstart is really exciting for both Maryland alumni and the Dingman Center. For alumni, it’s an opportunity to access all of the resources available at the Dingman Center, which they may not have known about or accessed while in school,” said Fine. “This program is also a way for us to continue to provide value and support to our entrepreneurial alumni well-beyond graduation.”

In addition to Fine, who has been named one of DC’s “Power Women in Tech,” the Dingman Jumpstart faculty includes fellow DC I-Corps faculty member, Dean Chang.

Applications for Dingman Jumpstart are open now through December 12, 2014. Click here for more information and to apply.

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MBA Students Work for DC Startup Homesnap in Venture Practicum Course

Dingman Center recently launched the second year of Venture Practicum, a course that provides MBA students with hands-on experience at startups. Selected students are paired with a local startup based their skills and interests. We invited Jimpei Harada, second year full-time MBA student from Tokyo, Japan, to share his experiences thus far in the course. Along with part-time MBA student, Tadhg Moriarty, Jimpei will be consulting for Homesnap, a real estate search platform for people to explore homes online or from a mobile phone. Dingman Center Board of Advisors Chairman, Mark Walsh serves as Executive Chair of this D.C. based startup. You may also remember Homesnap from last year’s Cupid’s Cup Showcase.

Grant Lee (GL): Tell me how and why you decided to participate in Venture Practicum?jimpei
Jimpei Harada (JH): Last summer I interned in the Amazon Japan leadership program in the Supply Chain Department. My role was more of a consultant than a supply chain intern. Traditionally, in the business world, people tend to collect and analyze data and then come up with possible solutions. However, at Amazon, my boss, who was an experienced consultant in McKinsey, taught me a different framework which is to develop the potential solution first and then prove that work by gathering and analyzing data. For this project, I want to leverage the skills I have learned through my internship and MBA coursework and apply them to Homesnap. Plus, I have never worked in the US; I believe it will be a valuable experience.

GL: Describe the startup will you be working with this semester?
JH: Homesnap is a real estate broker platform. Users can download the app, take and upload pictures, and search information using the property search.


GL: Describe your project. What is the goal?
JH: The goal is to create a platform to measure user engagement. The company wants to know how users test, track, and behave with the website and app. Tadhg Moriarty and I will investigate website analysis like Google Analytics and create tutorials in the end.

GL: Do you think working at a startup will be unlike any other job you’ve had?
JH: Definitely. Prior to beginning MBA, I had ten years of corporate experience as an IT engineer in Japan. Through the MBA program, I have learned that startup companies have a fast decision-making process, and now I am going to see how it works.

GL: How do you think the project will help your future career?
JH: I hope I learn to have an “entrepreneurship mindset” while doing this project. This project will help me to ease the pain of transition period from a student into a full-time employee.

Founded in 2008 and based in Washington DC, Homesnap is a trusted real estate search platform for people to explore homes and search real estate listings online or from a mobile phone. Using the Homesnap app (available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices) you can snap a photo of any home, nationwide, to find out all about it. For listed homes, you may be able to see interior photos too! When you’re ready to buy or sell real estate, you can contact a real estate agent within Homesnap to schedule a showing or list your home in the Multiple Listing Service.

Follow the Dingman Center blog for updates on the other students and startups participating in Venture Practicum.

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Worth Reading 12/6/13

As of today, there is one month left to apply for Cupid’s Cup. We have received  many impressive applications from all over the country, and we are still looking for more. Interested in total of $115K in cash prizes? Want to compete in the nation’s toughest competition? How about exclusive access to Kevin Plank‘s professional network? Don’t hesitate, apply for Cupid’s Cup right now and impress us with your brilliant business!

Now, let’s check out the Worth Reading for this week.

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Worth Reading 11/22/13

Global Entrepreneurship Week was a great success for the Dingman Center! From Tuesday’s Entrepreneurship Connector to Thursday’s Pitch Dingman Competition, check out some highlights in the below photo gallery. Thank you to those who celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week with us.

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Now, let’s check out this week’s Worth Reading.

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