Tag Archives: startup

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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Feature Friday! AnnasHandmadeHats

Founder of AnnasHandmadeHats, Anna Boyd ’24 (right), wearing her handmade balaclava.

DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Boyd: My name is Anna Boyd. I am a plant science major with a sustainability minor, 2024 graduation year.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Boyd: I am participating in Terp Marketplace this semester.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Boyd: I have a crochet business and I sell items like beanies, bucket hats, shirts, skirts, dresses, stuffed animals and more. I have had this business for about ten years and had my first table at a holiday sale when I was 13. 

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Boyd: My Grandma, Gg and my Aunt Kelly. Gg taught me how to knit when I was ten years old. She would always bring us crafts as kids and made me love knitting and being creative. My Aunt Kelly knits as well and is an amazing woman. She is so incredibly talented and helps me so much with patterns and ideas. I wouldn’t be where I am without them and the support of my mom, dad, and whole family.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Boyd: In the last six months I have made over $2,500 selling my crochet items through my instagram and Etsy, also a friend of mine, Olivia Wolfson wrote an article on my business for Her Campus magazine. I am also very proud of how much positive feedback I get from customers, I get a lot of people who order from me multiple times which I love and overall get so much support from my friends and customers. I am also very excited to be apart of Terp Marketplace.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Boyd: I am working on expanding my business more and participating in more events. I updated my etsy account to have a wider variety of my items, I will have a table at Terp Market place and am looking to apply for art attack in May. A big part of that is creating new fun things people like. I have some new stuff for Terp Marketplace that I am really excited to see if people enjoy and overall am working on many new styles and items to release.

DC: As a business owner, how do you define success?
Boyd: Even though I don’t have a big business by any means I consider myself successful. I think success is creating something you are proud of and the feedback you get from others. 

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Boyd: Find what you’re passionate about and stick with it. If you enjoy and are excited about your project, keep working on it and don’t give up.

To learn more about AnnasHandmadeHats please visit the Etsy here.

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Feature Friday! Em G Art Design Studio

Founder, Emily Garcia ’24, selling original artwork and products at Terp Marketplace.

DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Garcia: Emily Garcia, Studio Art & Art Education double major, 2024 graduation year.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Garcia: Terp Marketplace and Fearless Founders: New Venture Practicum (BMGT 468R)

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Garcia: Em G Art Design Studio offers handmade and personally designed products that can be gifted or used to personalize everyday living. These products are designed to be used as a source of inspiration, expression, and creativity.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Garcia: I understand what it’s like to juggle stressful events, illness, and lack of stability. Art is my source of expression. It is a place where I can create freely and with no restraints. But what also fuels my work is making someone smile from something I have made. Making someone smile is one of the best things in the world. For this reason, I strive to spread joy, inspiration, and hope through my startup.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Garcia: Within the last six months I have opened an Etsy shop, designed and made new products, registered into BMGT, applied for the TiE University Pitch Competition, designed my own business cards and certificates of authenticity for my paintings.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Garcia: I am working on getting more people to know about my business and presenting it in a professional way. In order to accomplish this, I have started creating videos to spread interest and to show behind the scenes on how I make my products. As well as, registering into BMGT at UMD.

DC: As a business owner, how do you define success?
Garcia: Success is when you set a goal and actively worked on achieving that goal. It involves learning from mistakes, identifying what worked and what did not.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Garcia: Do not be afraid of moving passed the “planning” stage. Take the steps to make your venture a reality, even if they may be small steps. Go for it!

To learn more about Em G Art Design Studio please visit the Etsy here.

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Feature Friday! Treasuremybeaute’

Treasure Valdez ’23, founder of Treasuremybeaute’.

DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Valdez: My name is Treasure Valdez, my graduation year is 2023, and I major in Communications with a minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Valdez: So far, I have been involved with the Dingman Center by attending Dingman Fridays.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Valdez: I would describe Treasuremybeaute’ as a brand that is designed for women with demanding lifestyles that are in need of high-performing products that saves time without compromising quality. TreasureMyBeaute’ products were created to add value, premium quality, and exclusivity to Women across the globe. Creating an experience of glamour that starts with our packing sparking and emotional charge as YOU unlock your gorgeousness.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup? 
Valdez: My mother has been my biggest influence for my startup because she is the reason why I am the person I am today. She continues to push me and always encourages me to never play small and to walk in my power. With that being said, I have broken generational curses and will continue to break more as I build my legacy and create generational wealth for future generations.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Valdez: In the last six months, I was granted opportunities to be featured on different platforms, increasing awareness about Treasuremybeaute’ products and how they solve issues for women on the go that allows them to achieve pro-like results in minutes.

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen?
Valdez: The most important thing I am working on right now is launching an editorial campaign to increase visibility for the product lines Lip Heist Collection and Blink Obsession Collection. I plan on making this happen by hiring a creative director, an image consultant, and a professional editorial photographer.

DC: As a business owner, how do you define success?
Valdez: I define success as self-love, when you are comfortable in your own skin and happy with who you are every day that you wake up. Also, using that self-love to build a legacy that I can be proud of.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Valdez: The phrase that I live by is to learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable because this takes away any limitations that are placed upon you. Do not allow yourself to become the projections of someone else’s fears. Take that risk!

To learn more about Treasuremybeaute’ please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! E. Ozie Productions

“The Beautiful Math of Coral,” an original novel by E. Ozie Productions founder, Ijeoma Asonye ’23

DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Asonye: My name is Ijeoma Asonye. I am a junior mechanical engineering major and creative writing minor graduating in 2023. I am also part of the QUEST Honors Program.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Asonye: I have been involved in Ladies First Founders. In the past, I would actively come to First Fridays!

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Asonye: With our foundations from the novel “The Beautiful Math of Coral”, E. Ozie Productions is a multimedia creative house. We are using our creative voice to rise to the forefront of revolutionary conversations about community, society, and identity. We believe in the power of art, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and storytelling for social impact through various different mediums.

DC: At what point did you know you wanted to start your own venture? 
Asonye: I’ve always loved books so the idea of writing a book came across my mind during the pandemic and I just jumped on the opportunity. My venture started off with my book “The Beautiful Math of Coral” after watching a TEDtalk of the same name. I would call my book a coming-of-age story that creates metaphors with concepts in STEM, mixed with lots of love and other intangible things. I think it’s a very swoon-worthy book. Now I am looking forward to expanding what kind of creative works we do in the future as a creative house like an AR app for books we are working on.

DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Asonye: As of right now, ARTECHOUSE plays a big influence for my startup showing the beauty in STEM with their recent exhibition of “Life of A Neuron”. I love how ARTECHOUSE integrates art, science, and technology in the visual sphere. I also was inspired to create my own creative house by learning more about Einhorn’s Epic Productions which is an entertainment creative house. I think they are doing some really cool stuff for underserved gen-z fandoms which is an industry I am tapping into with my book. One of the co-founders of the company purchased my book and that is how I learned more about them.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Asonye: My most significant accomplishment, as of right now, would have to be that my book “The Beautiful Math of Coral” debuted as a #1 New Release on Amazon! I also participated in Terp Marketplace which was super exciting. I sold a few copies and was able to meet lots of people with an interest in books. My book got featured in the mechanical engineering department magazine, Metrics. Although I don’t consider it as a direct project under my company, the research I started as an undergraduate researcher, which is similar to the values of my company called “E.Ozie and The Mixed Reality For Humanity Project” received a grant from the Do Good Institute at UMD!

DC: As a young business owner, what motivates you?
Asonye: What I look to for motivation changes every day. It could be an hour long conversation I had with someone in the film industry that pumps me up or simple affirmations I say every day. As of lately, the music group BTS has motivated me to work hard. Funny enough my college essay was about their influence on me and now I’m a university student so I guess it must be working. I have a poster of them in my room on the cover of TIME Magazine with the headline “Next Generation Leaders”. Although the title “Next Generation Leader” seems like a lot to bear to me I imagine myself as one. Also hearing stories of boss women doing their thing in different industries like music, business, technology, etc.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Asonye: Three things: grow your network, explore, and surround yourself with like minded individuals.

To learn more about E. Ozie Productions please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Omega 3 LLC

Edwin Bright Djampa ’22, founder of Omega 3 LLC.

DC: What is your name, major, and graduation year?
Djampa: Edwin Bright Djampa, I go by my middle name Bright. My major is Nutritional Food Science, Graduation May 2022.

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Djampa: I have been involved with the Pitch Dingman Competition in 2021.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Djampa: At Omega 3, we aim to provide consumers with an easy, accessible, and delicious way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into their daily diets and reap the many health benefits of this essential, brain-boosting nutrient. We hope to empower people to take charge of their mental health through nutrition. We want the link between nutrition and brain function to be at the forefront of the dialogue surrounding mental health. We hope one day, you can walk into any local grocery store and find a section of food items dedicated to brain support.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Djampa: In the last 6 months we’ve been able to get into all the retail locations and cafes on UMD campus. We have also been able to get on to Georgetown University retail locations. We have also been able to partner with NAMI to provide participants with granola bars. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives.

DC: Can you describe your typical day as a student business owner?
Djampa: My typical day is: I wake up at 6am and review all emails and all potential orders. I work to respond to emails and fulfill orders. Then around 7am I either run around and check up on stores in person or I ship the online orders. Around 8am I eat breakfast and begin my class work for the day. My classes typically end at 12pm. I then take a 1 hour break to relax. At 2pm I begin to work on social media and branding content to promote Omega 3 (this typically takes about an hour and a half). For the remainder of the day 4-8pm, I then work to find new gyms, stores, universities, and yoga studios to enter into.  From 8 till about 12am I return to school work/class assignments. 

DC: What’s the most important thing you are working on right now, and how are you making it happen? 
Djampa: Currently at Omega 3 we are working on a huge rebranding effort. To make it more clear on our packaging and social media platforms that we are a brain-centric food company.  The rebranding efforts will be completely done in Mid January 2022.

DC: As a business owner, how do you define success?
Djampa: It is honestly very hard to define success as a business owner because the marker for success is ever-evolving. I would say true success for most business owners is when the business is no longer running them, but instead, they are in a position where they are running the business.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Djampa: Your internal compass is the only thing that will get you through this entire journey of entrepreneurship. Remain true to your internal compass. Also never ride the highs for too long and certainly don’t ride the lows. As hard as it may be, try and remain even-keel as much as possible.

To learn more about Omega 3, please visit the website here.

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Feature Friday! Fancy & Spicy

Founder Brin Xu ’22 and colleagues serving Fancy & Spicy samples at Dingman Fridays.

DC: What is your name, major, and graduation year?
Xu: Brin Xu, Sociology, 2022

DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Xu: I have been involved in Pitch Dingman competition, Terp Startup Accelerator, Terp Startup Fellows programs.

DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Xu: Fancy & Spicy is a digital culinary platform allowing anyone in the world to share authentic food experiences. We primarily offer online cooking classes, and plan to become a social platform for food lovers.

DC: Now that you’ve won the Pitch Dingman Competition ‘21, what’s next for your company? 
Xu: Since we won the Pitch Dingman Competition, we have been working on our scaling initiatives with support from the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. We are moving our company toward the path of sustainability.

DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last six months?
Xu: In the last six months, we redesigned our website to build the foundation for future development, expanded products lines, built a team of 4 top chefs, continued producing attractive social media contents, and honed our value proposition. These efforts have been very rewarding. For example, we have acquired 157 new customers and received revenue about $10,000 so far.

DC: Can you describe your typical day as a business owner?
Xu: My typical day as a business owner is busy and fun. I usually read industry news and emails during my breakfast to catch up information. In the morning, I check our class bookings, billings, and cash flow to make sure things are on track. In the afternoon, I meet up with my customers, chefs, website developer and other stakeholders. Evening is a good time to reflect, and plan work for the next day.

DC: As a business owner, how do you define success?
Xu: As a business owner, I think success is running a profitable company that contributes to social goods. Knowing that I am doing is helping myself and others toward a better and heartier life means a lot to me.

DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Xu: I would advise them to find a supportive community. I have been very lucky to have the Center’s support through the way, otherwise Fancy & Spicy would not be here today. I encourage first-time founders reach out to communities and move forward. 

To learn more about Fancy & Spicy, please visit the website here.

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