To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Dingman Center is featuring a series of blog posts about our EnTERPreneur Acadmey, a program to help guide student ventures from idea to launch. The Academy provides members with a variety of resources including startup fundamentals workshops, advising, office space, selling opportunities and seed funding. The Academy’s three stages Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup provide students with specific resources and requirements that suit the level of progress for their ventures.
Today’s featured startup is imagine(x), the brainchild of EnTERPreneur Academy member, Eric Mintzer. Eric is also an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland who has been engaging frequently with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Eric’s current startup, imagine(x), which was the runner-up at last month’s Pitch Dingman Competition, is an engineering firm poised to change the way we experience performance art. Read the Q&A to find out more about Eric and his business, imagine(x)!
Q: Please describe your business.
A: imagine(x) is a creative engineering firm which bridges the gap between science and art. We strive to develop the most innovative and awe-inspiring technologies of the future, today. We specialize in augmented reality, pixel mapping, interactive installations, and real time visualizations.
Q: How did you get the idea for your business?
A: I had the idea to create imagine(x) after being blown away by incredible stage setups and immersive entertainment environments. I wondered, “What can we come up with next?” and decided to become part of that ‘we’ by creating systems that allow concert-goers to naturally interact with these complex audio-visual systems.
Q: What phase is your venture in and what are your next steps?
A: imagine(x) is hatching. My next step is to finish developing various projects I am working on, while servicing a handful of clients to enhance my portfolio and create revenue to reinvest.
Q: What drew you to become an extrepreneur?
A: I attribute three large areas of my life that contributed towards my entrepreneurial motivations: my parents, my education, and the internet.
My parents, from a very young age, prioritized the importance of being happy and doing what I wanted to do. This was very different from what my outside environment suggested – financial success. When financial success became less important, education towards an industrial job became boring and I started doing what any middle-school student would do for fun – independently studying computer programming. This old drive to Create has gratefully stayed with me long enough to be amplified by the University of Maryland with their unparalleled support and initiatives.
Q: As a student startup, what are some of the challenges that you face?
A: Apart from my daily challenges of generating and debugging code, my greatest is managing my time efficiently. I have various business oriented goals that involves marketing, branding, analyzing and more, but I am more interested in testing and bringing new technology to the market quickly. This temporary solution is allowing me to super-accelerate my learning and development, but also has the potential to restrict the speed of business growth.
Q: How did the Dingman Center contribute to the development of your startup?
A: The Dingman Center has been a tremendous resource for my venture. Faculty and staff have provided me with outstanding mentorship; entrepreneurs-in-residence and alumni have consistently offered guidance and experience; the supporting network and relationships connected me with industry leaders, potential clients and growth opportunities; and the workshops, speaker events and week-long summer entrepreneurship boot camp provided hands-on education, real life experiences, and startup funding.
While many classes at the University teach you to learn from the past using best practices and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship expands on this by also encouraging and fostering innovation and leadership for an unpredictable future.
Q: What about being a part of the EnTERPreneur Academy excites you the most?
A: The enTERPreneur Academy is a large leap forward towards alternate opportunities and reform in education for students that strive on it,\ and I am excited to be in the inaugural EnTERPreneur Academy class! I am anxious to watch the growth of this program and the successful stories that result from it.
Come back for tomorrow’s feature! And don’t forget to “like” the Dingman Center’s Facebook Page tomorrow! One lucky new fan will receive an awesome prize package from the Dingman Center for liking us tomorrow for our Facebook Challenge!