Featured EIR: Bob London

By Justin Taubman, MBA’16

This week I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview Bob London as part of a blog series on the Dingman Center’s newest Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and their various entrepreneurial backgrounds. Bob is one of the Dingman Center’s new EIRs making himself available to students on Dingman Fridays this year. Bob has a very interesting career and hopefully others will find it inspiring. Bob London

Years ago, the term “self employed” was regarded by many as another way of saying unemployed. At least that is what Bob London remembers from when he left his job with a global telecom company to create his own consulting shop in the late 1990’s. He really just wanted to be his own boss and have more flexibility, something that his friends were particularly jealous of when he would tell them that he was going for a bike ride in the middle of the day.

When I asked Bob what he feared most about going out on his own, he surprisingly told me that he didn’t have enough fear. The fear of losing stability and a regular paycheck is something that I believe entrepreneurs either innately lack or they gradually overcome. Bob explained to me that the social acceptance of leaving the comfortable and stable corporate world has come around a lot since the 90’s. Although we laughed about how most people today think about entrepreneurship, they immediately look at their phone and Facebook or Pinterest icons float through their head. In fact, entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes like Russell Garing’s bitters company or Bob’s consulting venture.

Bob’s expertise is in B2B marketing strategy and planning and his primary goal as an EIR is to ensure that anyone who seeks his advice will walk away understanding the importance of seeing the world from the customer’s perspective–via customer discovery and other methods. Bob explained, “you need to always be curious about the customer’s perspective and balance the passion for your idea with what your customers want.” I could not agree more. It may seem simple, but it’s incredible how many products have skipped that critical element of the design phase…remember the Segway? Yeah, neither do I!

Remember to pitch your business ideas by Bob London and the rest of the EIRs at Dingman Fridays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. We’re here every Friday! #TGIDF

More on Bob London

Bob London, President of London, Ink LLC, serves as an Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for B2B technology and professional services firms. His clients typically have a significant market opportunity or challenge and need an injection of senior marketing expertise and leadership–but aren’t ready for the cost and commitment of a full-time marketing executive. Clients work with London, Ink to assess their market opportunity, better understand their customers’ needs, determine strategic options and develop a practical go-to-market plan to improve revenue, market awareness, customer acquisition and retention. London, Ink also prioritizes and executes key B2B marketing initiatives–from online marketing to web design/development to social media to public relations–that generate the highest return on investment.

Bob is a 20+ year marketing veteran who has achieved rapid results with marketing budgets ranging from the $200 million network television launch of MCI Friends & Family to London, Ink’s frugal $1,000 annual budget (really!). He also served as VP of Marketing for Digex, Incorporated, a national Web hosting and management firm that grew 100% annually during his tenure and went through not one but two IPOs, as well as director of product marketing for Verisign, the leading web identity and security firm.

Bob serves on the board of The Marketing Alliance, the leading education and networking group for B2B technology marketing executives in the DC area. Bob is a marketing advisor for Bisnow’s Gen Z program for budding high school entrepreneurs and also serves on the board of advisors of National Capital Companies, a mid-market investment bank headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Bob graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a BS in Marketing. He resides in Potomac, MD with his wife and two teenage sons.

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Entrepreneurship doesn’t always mean starting a mobile app

In today’s start-up environment, we see constant reporting on apps and digital players. The logic makes sense, scaling is a lot simpler and the pockets of acquirers are deep and open. A year ago my friends and I did something a little different, we started a cocktails bitter company in DC, called Embitterment. We had been playing with the product for fun almost two years before, when we realized this big market had no local brand. The downside to entering is that 70% or more of peoFB_IMG_1438814940328ple who have been exposed to bitters have no idea what they are, or understand their application. The short answer is that they are a flavor extract and you put a few drops in most drinks. So we were forced to not only produce the product, but also discover what the market would be in the few hours we had each week to work between our full-time gigs.

The nice thing about going product first was that we didn’t have to decide on what our product should look like based on market research, but simply what market existed for what we made. This did mean that scaling would be longer as we had to find clients via trial and error, yet we found that even those who choose not to buy often talk about us to their friends. Some of these friends became customers and our sample bottles were being pooled and collected in a few cases. As the sample volume dropped, the customers began to emerge. Our marketing guru, Eric had done a lot of work over the first six months to help with this emergence, the drinks community loves Instagram and Facebook so posting nice pictures of someone else’s product being used with ours often got their attention. The costs are low in that type of marketing, and you get 1439066832121a nice cocktail out of it. I should probably mention that R&D is by far the biggest perk for me, since it entails that we all just gather and test cocktails. That makes me more excited than any start-up I’ve seen so far, we always remember to relax here and that we are there as friends. Stresses can build and there is no HR to mediate, so be prepared to get upset but don’t hold on to anger. Most companies fail, forget about trying to avoid failure and start enjoying your successful moments.

A note on funding, I would estimate that we have put less than ten thousand dollars in the company. When you can control your own growth, something many digital applications can’t, you can avoid building up excess capacity early and instead fund with reinvested earnings. While I can calculate the benefits of leveraging, I can tell you that not worrying about bank loans is more than worth it early on. Being flexible with a products roll out and growth gives us time to focus on balancing a part-time endeavor with our full-time lives.

By Russell Garing

Russell is a 2nd year MBA student at the Smith School of Business. He is working as a Graduate Assistant at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Beyond working on his startup, Russ is interested in Finance, Analytics and Supply Chain Management. 

Final Day of TechCrunch Disrupt ’15

Today’s the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt, the grand finale. We’ve seen some interesting startups present on stage, even more interesting booths in Startup Alley, and today’s the day when we see the winner. The finalists were a diverse bunch:

  • An indoor farming operations platform (Agrilyst)
  • A POS/Inventory system specifically designed for the burgeoning cannabis market (Green Bits)
  • A Mint.com for small business (Leap Financial)
  • A nail decorating robot (Preemadonna)
  • A healthy subscription food model for kids’ lunches (Scrumpt)
  • A Slack-type communications solution for Healthcare (Stitch)

While each of these contenders have an interesting and thoughtful approach to product-market fit, only one will come away with the final cup and the $50,000 grand prize.

This year, it was Agrilyst, a cloud-based solution to manage indoor farming, with Green Bits as the runner up. Interestingly, both top finalists this year seem poised to take advantage of the growth in legalized cannabis consumption. Given the small niche, it’s hard to see Agrilyst as a truly disruptive company in the same league as Uber or Airbnb, but it does seem like a real innovation for the underserved farming industry. Greenhouses are complex, heavily data intensive operations, and owners have previously had to make do with disparate tools like Excel that were not well suited to the job.


image from TechCrunch

Still, first prize isn’t everything, as the $180 MM funded second placer from years past CloudFlare can attest when they went up on stage. At the end of the day, the real prize at Disrupt isn’t the prize itself, but the attention and credibility in the eyes of investors and the tech media.

Then there’s the other “startup” that launched here at Disrupt. While it’s not one of the contenders on stage, one of the most memorable moments here was seeing Snoop Dogg announce the launch of his new startup, a premium cannabis lifestyle content site dubbed Merry Jane.


Company tour of LinkedIn

This trip has been a nonstop whirlwind of networking dinners, company tours, and of course the hive of activity here at Disrupt. The passion and awareness for tech and innovation here is both eye-opening and deeply satisfying to see. Even during our last day here at the conference, we still managed to fit in a lunchtime trek to LinkedIn’s downtown office here with a friend to show us around. 

While getting around the city during this trip is a small detail, I think it’s been a telling example of the environment here. We’ve been completely spoiled by the cost and convenience of Lyft Line and UberPool, shared ride services that are a game changer for effortlessly getting around a new city at a low price. It seems like everyone takes it here, with enough demand for most rides you see them continuously pick up and drop off multiple passengers.

droneIt’s been incredible being completely immersed in the tech industry here, a tradition that I hope will hopefully continue into the years ahead.

By: Ying Chen

YingYing graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Marketing, a minor in Biology, and a strong mix of extracurricular experience in graphic design and digital media. He previously worked at JPMorgan Chase in Wilmington, DE working up from intern to a Leadership Development Program rotational analyst, to Marketing Manager. He has a strong interest in technology and product development. 

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We arrived at Tech Crunch Disrupt this morning filled with anticipation. We were excited to explore the dozens of new companies that had set up booths in Startup Alley, to listen to amazing speakers, and to take a road trip to Mountain View to visit the offices of Google and Facebook.

The most memorable speakers of the day were Nikesh Arora of SoftBank and Andrew Bozworth from Facebook. Nikesh spoke about SoftBank’s strategy, which is to invest in great companies with strong leadership, as opposed expending capital trying to build out the same competencies inside SoftBank. Andrew, or Boz as he is called, was questioned quite extensively about Facebook’s relationship and attitude towards companies who want to advertise on the FB platform. In the past, the relationship had turned contentious when companies felt that Facebook was not upfront about advertising policies.

By far, my most favorite part of the trip has been visiting the Google and Facebook campuses. At Google, we got to ride around on the company bicycles, eat in their cafeteria (the ice cream is delicious!), and speak to three people who work in different areas of the company. We learned about initiatives at Google Play, Google Search, as well as the difficulties of building and managing the Google server farms.

At Facebook, we got to tour the vast campus and write on The Wall. The Facebook campus had a very small town feel to it with a main street and small shops with everything from a barbershop to an ice cream parlor. Facebook emphasizes community and family by offering exercise classes and weekly movie nights in the summer.

To me, the difference in West Coast vs. East Coast companies comes down to an emphasis on the quality of life. Googlers take time out of their day to sit in the courtyard or to play on their beach volleyball court. Facebook employees bring their families to the campus on Wednesday nights to watch movies together. It’s about working hard, shooting for the moon, and enjoying your life.


Lana at Facebook HQ in Palo Alto

By: Lana Bronipolsky

Prior to starting her MBA at Smith, Lana spent 7 years in the financial services industry, most recently at PIMCO in Southern California. Originally from the DC metro area, Lana was excited to return to the area and through the Dingman Center participate in the local startup culture. At Smith, Lana has focused on entrepreneurial finance and is especially interested in financial technology. Her team was awarded first place in the Leadership Under Fire case competition and her team was runner up in the Venture Capital Investment Competition in November 2014 team. She is most interested in helping early stage companies raise capital, develop growth strategies, and run efficient operations.

Day 1: TechCrunch Disrupt ’15 San Francisco

By: Jun Wang

I took an UberPOOL with another woman who came to Disrupt to represent her company at the Startup Alley. I arrived at 8:28 a.m. to the event venue at the 22nd Street, Pier 70. The venue surprised me at first with its rustic exteriors, massive steel beams inside, and the uniqueness of its raw beauty. Rooted deep in history, set among the old shipyards of San Francisco, the buildings of Pier 70 evoke images of a bygone era and stir the imagination. No luxury conference halls and fancy interior designs, even the typical mild Bay weather was heated by the organic concentrations of thousands of attendees from all over the world.

The conference kicked off with five-minute opening remarks by TechCrunch, no lengthy speech, typical to other professional conferences. A serial of fireside chats, conversations and panel discussions involved investors such as Ron Conway and Topher Conway (SV Angel), Yuri Milner (DST Global), Beth Seidenberg (KPCB), Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures), Jeremy Liew (Lightspeed Venture Partners), Bill McGlashan (TPG Growth), Dana Settle (Greycroft Partners); successful startup entrepreneurs such as Parker Conrad (Zenefits), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Pavel Durov (Vkontakte), and Helen Greiner (Cyphy Works); and current tech leaders such as Dr. JoSnoop Dog at Disrupt launching his company MerryJanehn Kelly (IBM), Dr. Richard Marks (Sony), Paul Raphael (Felix and Paul Studios), and Claude Zellweger (HTC). Just when I thought think Snoop Dogg came as an entertainment star for the conference to add some fun and music, he sat down with Ted Chung on stage talking about Merry Jane, his newly launched pot-flavored lifestyle media platform. Snoop Dogg founded a tech startup? Yes, what else can you imagine will happen with this tech startup boom?!

My favorite speaker of the day was billionaire, Russian venture capitalist, Yuri Milner. Unlike some, Mr. Milner was not scared that killer robots are coming to destroy humanity in the years ahead. His view about the rise of artificial intelligence is better described as a beautiful friendship between humans and machines. “I think that what we see very clearly is that there is a convergence between the human brain and computers,” said Milner. “Google is a good example of that; when you have a million people feediCrowded Conference Scene at Disruptng the machine — all the content on Google is created by the human brain and then there are a bunch of servers that are analyzing this data and feeding it back into the human brain, so there is a very peaceful co-existence between us and Google. Our brains are slowly adjusting to Google being around.”

While trying not to adjust my brain too much to passive listening, I went around talking to various entrepreneurs coming from different corners of the world – Japan, Argentina, Taiwan, Brazil, Czech, Hungarian, Uruguay, and Egypt.

At 6:00 pm the conference ended with 12 newly launched companies competing on the Startup Battlefield. Companies ranged from improving Virtual Reality gaming background to Data Analytics for indoor farming to educating 5-year olds to create a robot through intelligent toys. Tomorrow includes speakers from Facebook, Fitbit, GoPro, Pandora, and Y-Combinator talking on stage, and an afternoon comHeadshot_JW3pany visit at Google and Facebook. Exciting, isn’t it!

Jun Wang is a second year MBA candidate at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Born and raised in China, Jun started her global citizenship by studying and working in Japan, Germany, and now the US.  Before coming to Smith, Jun was a Product Manager and Lead Auditor at a leading German technical inspection company and working with the United Nations in 11 different countries on renewables, energy efficiency, and waste management projects. Jun’s MBA focus is General Management and Entrepreneurship. Jun currently serves as the President of Professional Communications Club, VP of Smith Energy Association, Entrepreneurs-Club, and Smith Pride Alliance. She is also the Founder and President of the Smith MBA Toastmasters Club and the Campus Director of Hult Prize@ University of Maryland (in partnership with Clinton Global Initiative). Jun’s long-term goal is to launch a technology company across the globe to promote conscious consumerism and environmental sustainability.

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Smith MBA’s Trek to TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

The Dingman Center sponsored several students that are attending the 2015 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco. The students will be blogging each day from the event about their experience. Follow all week to hear more about Disrupt!

Smith School MBA students teamed up this year to take a trek to TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco, CA and we couldn’t be more excited. This event has attracted a lot of key figures and companies in the startup industry in the past, and this year is no different.


Disrupt SF is all about encouraging and debuting innovative startups and technologies. Companies like Uber, who revolutionize the old standard way of doing things and promise a better way, are the new norm for innovation. We’ll get to hear founder stories and insights from some of the best in the industry. There are more than 80 speakers and judges that include the likes of Snoop Dogg, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Facebook’s Andrew (Boz) Bosworth, Cowboy Venture’s Aileen Lee, Houzz’s Adi Tatarko, the list goes on!

There are a lot of new technologies out today that are laying the groundwork to radically change our lives in the future. Two promising technologies that I am most excited to learn more about this year are Bitcoin and virtual reality. Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows people to make transactions without any middlemen – no transaction fees, no banks, and no governments. Not only is Bitcoin itself potentially very disruptive, but the underlying technology, blockchain, can be revolutionary for many other applications. The other technology, virtual reality, is an immersive, computer-simulated world that has practically infinite applications. While initially thought of for gaming, virtual reality has many other uses including education, entertainment, and exploration. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony are racing to be the best and take advantage of this ripe new industry.

We took it upon ourselves to leverage our Smith network to line up some additional opportunities while we were in the Bay Area. Sunday night we have dinner with a whole host of Smith MBA alumni who ended up here after graduating from Smith. Apple, Google, and eBay are just a few of the companies where alumni are working and our Smith School Business Development team helped to get us in contact with them.

The Dingman Center connected us with an EMBA graduate who used to work on Google payments and is a serial entrepreneur. We’ll get to meet him for drinks and dessert on Monday evening and pick his brain on how he’s been able to apply his Smith education to be successful.blog2

The Smith network also extends to friends of the Smith family. We leveraged our personal networks to arrange meetings and tours of some nearby companies. On Tuesday we’ll get to take a trip over to Mountain View and Menlo Park where Google and Facebook have their headquarters. We’ll get to go on informal tours of their glamorous campuses: Google’s Googleplex and Facebook’s brand new 430,000 square foot campus. On Wednesday we’ll be going over to LinkedIn to have lunch with some employees. All made possible
from our network!

By: Shane SaltaSaltaS-18Aug15-5

Shane is a first year MBA candidate at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Having gone through GE’s IT Leadership Development Program, Shane has 7 years of diverse technical leadership experience at GE Capital. While at GE, Shane implemented streamlined IT systems to efficiently handle billions of dollars of sales. Prior to GE, Shane worked for the National Football League and Lockheed Martin. In his free time, Shane has been known to build & program robots as well as LED projects such as his iPhone Controlled LED Suit (www.ShaneSalta.com/ledsuit). Shane holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Miami (FL). He currently lives in Annapolis and enjoys volleyball and extreme sports such as wakeboarding and snowboarding.

Top Ten Reasons to Join Fearless Founders Idea Shell

Welcome back to campus, entrepreneurs! The Dingman Center programs are well underway for the semester. Currently, we’re holding info sessions for Idea Shell, the first step of the Fearless Founders evidence-based accelerator program taught by successful entrepreneurs. The next info session is set for Monday, September 21 from 3 to 4 p.m. The deadline to sign-up for Fearless Founders: Idea Shell, Fall 2015 Cohort is rapidly approaching. The tentative schedule includes nine workshops/sessions on Monday’s, 2-4 pm, beginning Monday, September 28 and concluding Monday, November 16.

Upon your successful completion of Idea Shell, you are eligible for Hatch, a for-credit course (BMGT468 or ENES498) in Spring 2016. Here are the Top Ten reasons to join Idea Shell from some of the alumni of Fearless Founders:

Photo Dec 15, 4 25 21 PM10. Join a cohort of passionate entrepreneurs

9. Validate your problem/customer/solution fit

8. Practice customer discovery and “Talking to Humans”

7. Use feedback, iterate and pivot on your idea

6. Develop your plan for your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

5. Network with the vast Dingman Center community

4. Prepare yourself for the “Hatch”, Fearless Founders Stage

3. Present your idea for $500 in seed funds

2. Participate in the “Speed Pitch” elevator pitch event

1. Receive the exclusive title of being a “Fearless Founder”

Don’t keep talking to your family and friends about your great ideas. Turn your ideas into a business by joining Fearless Founders: Idea Shell!

Sign-up Here

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Matchmaking for College Students Takes on a New Meaning

Matchmaking takes many forms. When we think of this term we often think of finding a significant other. Someone who can help make your life whole. In startupland, matchmaking is being redefined. When entrepreneurs talk about a true match it’s usually in the form of a co-founder, a developer, a salesperson. Similar to traditional matchmaking, this match is hugely important to a founder’s life because it’s who they’ll spend 80-plus hours weekly working on a venture.

Venture StormThere are a number of big players in entrepreneur matchmaking, including CoFoundersLab, as well as a number of big players in the freelance space, such as Elance, Upwork, and Freelancer. At the University of Maryland, a team of students are combining matchmaking and freelancing with their startup, VentureStorm. VentureStorm differs from the major players because it is not solely a platform to find a freelance project for the month, but also provides the opportunity to join a team. The startup is entering the market with a focus on college students. Users of VentureStorm are aiming to form relationships, build teams, and launch a business straight out of college. The venture’s value proposition is that students can find team members or co-founders on their campus.

“College students have brilliant ideas for websites and apps but they can’t build them on their own,” says Tyler Denk, VentureStorm’s Chief Operating Officer. “In tech, there’s so much space to develop ideas that benefit everyone. VentureStorm allows students to collaborate with other students to bring an idea to life.”

When a student logs into the VentureStorm web site they create one of two profiles: project owner or developer. The project owner posts their idea with a description of the type of developer they’re looking for, as well as their budget and offered compensation. Developers can then browse the database of projects at their university and apply to projects based on their interests and expertise (Ruby on Rails, php, etc). From there the matchmaking begins. Once a match has been made, the VentureStorm collaboration page allows project owners and developers to communicate, negotiate, and utilize legal documents and development tools. VentureStorm also acts as a third party payment platform that ensures secure transactions between the two parties.


L to R: Ephraim Rothschild and Tyler Denk.

Like so many startups, the founders came up with this idea when they ran into the problem themselves. A few semesters ago Denk, a Mechanical Engineering major, and co-founder Taylor Johnson, an Electrical Engineering major, came up with an app idea but neither student knew how to develop an app. That’s where the idea for VentureStorm began. From there, Johnson brought on twin brother, Tommy Johnson, also an Electrical Engineering major. Later, the team added two talented developers: Ephraim Rothschild and Akash Magoon; both Computer Science and Mathematics double-majors. Rothschild is currently VentureStorm’s Chief Technology Officer, and Magoon is the company’s Chief Information Officer.

After working on the idea for a few months, members of the team joined the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders accelerator where they did extensive customer discovery and developed a minimal viable product. Denk and Rothschild are spending the summer in the Fearless Founders incubator program, Terp Startup.

“For students who are not in the computer science school, finding a talented developer can be hard,” said Rothschild. “We bridge that gap and that’s why I’m excited to be spending my entire summer working on VentureStorm.”

Like students with corporate internships, both Denk and Rothschild are spending 40-plus hours per week working on VentureStorm. The main focus of the summer has been developing. Both value the Terp Startup experience and are enjoying working on their own venture rather than for an outside entity.

“There’s nothing better than pursuing your own idea, working on your own schedule,” said Denk. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur because I like carrying out my vision.”

The team acknowledges they have to start focusing on more than just perfecting the tech side of the platform, they must start focusing on marketing and business development. This fall, they hope to bring on several campuses to the platform. Denk, Rothschild and the rest of the team hope to grow VentureStorm so that after graduating they are able to run the business full time.

About VentureStorm

Co-Founders: Tyler Denk ’16, Taylor Johnson ’16, Tommy Johnson ‘16, Akash Magoon ’18 and Ephraim Rothschild ’17

VentureStorm is an online platform that connects aspiring student entrepreneurs with talented student developers locally on their campus to advance their business from idea to launch. The VentureStorm team is currently building a unique collaborative workspace on their platform to enhance the communication and development process. The team aims to expand their services to more universities by Fall ’15.

Stewart Fellow Interns at NYC Tech Incubator

At the Dingman Center, we work with many students who want to start their own business. We also work with students who don’t yet have an idea to pursue. For both groups, we encourage them to spend a summer interning in startup land. To jumpstart students’ startup careers, the Center offers two fellowship programs. Dingman Center Angel and Board of Advisors member, Kathryn Stewart, wanted more students to gain the valuable experience of working a venture capital firms and startups so she made a generous gift to form the Kathryn Stewart Fellowship Program. To be selected as a Stewart Fellow, students must secure a summer internship with a VC or angel-funded startup. Once selected, Stewart Fellows are granted a $5,000 stipend to supplement the summer salary offered through their internship.

When the program was launched last winter, student interest sky rocketed. However, many realized how hard it can be to find the right startup or VC to intern. This was not the case for Daniel Stern. Daniel has worked on a few business ideas as a Terp. He’s participated in the Center’s Fearless Founders accelerator program. This summer, he wanted the valuable experience of working at a tech incubator. Through an alumnus from his high school, Daniel learned about the Grand Central Tech Incubator. Pursuing the incubator’s summer internship program would allow Daniel to gain exposure to more than one startup and he jumped at the chance to apply to both Grand Central Tech Incubator and the Stewart Fellows.


Tell us about Grand Central Tech Incubator. What types of startups are there?

DS: Grand Central Tech is really unique in that they offer free rent and office space to startups without asking for equity.  They have startups apply to be in their program for a whole year, and after the year is up, most of the startups “graduate” to the upper floor of their building where they continue to operate and remain part of the GCT community.  The whole idea is to create the most vibrant tech and entrepreneurial hub in New York City.  There are startups working on all different challenges, from 3D printing and Bitcoin solutions to creating unique sports betting and online marketing platforms.

How many and which startups are you working with? 

DS: I’m splitting my time working for two startups currently: LiquidText and Barebands.  LiquidText helps users better understand, read and make connections with online content and analyzes how these people interact with this online content.  Barebands is a lightweight watch for fitness fanatics, looking to take their product into retail.  I will most likely spend end up all of my time working for LiquidText.

Take us through your day (or week) at your internship?  

DS: So far I’ve mostly been through orientation, which consisted of visiting the offices of Google, Microsoft, and General Assembly to learn about design thinking and the processes that go into building a startup.  Currently my day consists of figuring out the best route to get Barebands into retail, learning from people at other startups in the co-working space, and doing market and user research for LiquidText at night.

11013069_904663806245936_5229352905002620853_n (1)

What projects are you most looking forward to working on this summer? 

DS: I’m looking forward to building business partnerships and helping decide what features to launch with for LiquidText, and also helping Barebands get their foot in the door with retail stores.

Why did you want to intern at an incubator rather than a startup? 

DS: I wanted to intern at an incubator because I get to work with the best of the best entrepreneurs all under one roof while still getting the experience of working at one of their startups.  Being part of this incubator allows me to be part of a large entrepreneurial community while still getting experience at a startup.

What do you hope to gain from a summer spent in NYC? 

I hope to learn from experienced startup veterans how to start and grow a business and gain the skills necessary to do so myself.  I also hope to build relationships and meet some awesome people along the way.

Have you had any cool startup/networking experiences since you’ve been in NYC? 

DS: I haven’t had any crazy stories yet, but there are some impressive people working in GCT (the co-founder of Shapeways, the founder of Gilt, the founder of General Assembly, multiple ex Google executives) who I hope to get to meet and build relationships with as the summer goes on.

What else are you working on this summer?  

DS: On the side, I started my own Ecommerce website with a friend from UMD called East Coast Cornhole (www.eccornhole.com).  While it has yet to take off, running my own business is an awesome learning experience, and has forced me to learn extensively about internet and content marketing, as well as SEO and the patience it takes to grow a business from absolutely nothing.

Dan SternDaniel Stern is finance major and a junior at the University of Maryland. He’s from Cheshire, CT, and aspires to run his own startup in the near future. He’s passionate about tackling big problems and changing the way we view the world. During his time at UMD, Daniel has participated in the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders accelerator and competed in a Pitch Dingman Competition with his startup idea, Globoclub Fitness. In July 2015, Dan and a fellow student launched the e-commerce site, East Coast Cornhole (eccornhole.com), to sell high quality Cornhole Sets and Boards.

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Startup Founder Inspires Unique Company Culture


david picture

David Engle is the CEO and co-Founder of Demere.co, a a virtual clothing platform that allows users to upload photos of their garments and within 20 seconds – based on age, gender, weather, and personal style – Demere can predict the best outfit for the user to wear in addition to notifying them of what to purchase online to add to their current wardrobe, as well as while they are shopping in physical stores. Currently, the platform is in a private beta, which is one reason why David is participating in the the Dingman Center’s Terp Startup summer incubator program. Leading up to the full site launch in early fall, David and the Demere team are spending the summer collecting valuable user data to improve the platform. Continue reading

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