Terp Toolkit: Marketing Your Startup

Startup marketing can involve a variety of different activities, from the creation of promotional materials to Search Engine Optimization. Given limited time and resources, particularly among student entrepreneurs, it can be overwhelming to think about where to start.

Your marketing focus will depend upon the nature of your business and your target customer. For a fairly comprehensive list of marketing tools and resources, for everything from Advertising to Analytics, check out The Essential List of Start-up Marketing Resources.

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Cupid’s Cup Startup Showcase to Feature Terp Founders

Cupid’s Cup is more than a competition — it’s a showcase of top entrepreneurial talent. Unique to this year’s showcase, participants are all University of Maryland student-run startups.

Who should attend? Entrepreneurs looking for advice. Investors looking for early-stage companies. And of course, students wondering what entrepreneurship is all about!

1403169_10152354076726692_2112121409411916732_oHere are the companies and founders that you’ll have a chance to meet at this year’s showcase:

  • Tommy Johnson, VentureStorm – We are an online platform that connects student entrepreneurs to student developers.
  • Bethany Monaghan, Bethany’s Organics – Bethany’s Organics strives to make healthy food more convenient, honest, environmentally friendly, & delicious!
  • Sanil Shah, Tabster – Tabster is a mobile application that allows customers to arrive at high-volume restaurants, check-in and pre-order their food while waiting.
  • Ian Moritz, Prideshorts – PrideShorts combines everyday lifestyle with college spirit.
  • Jordan Greenwald, Meta Cartel – Meta Cartel is a progressive street-wear brand that makes limited edition hats.
  • Mike Mandl, ViRtu – Virtual Reality college tours for high school students, and grad school tours for international students.
  • Zachary Matz, 417 App Studios LLC – Our social-gaming mobile application, Puzzable, allows users to send their photos to friends and family in the form of a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Adam Vinner, CrabShell Cases – Custom laser-engraved phone cases for individuals and organizations.
  • Omar Goheer, K. Sultana – K. Sultana produces breathable scarves and creates entrepreneurship and skills development opportunities for women.
  • Jeff Hilnbrand, Startup Shell – Startup Shell is a student-run coworking space and incubator at the University of Maryland.
  • Kevin Kirk, Imaginex – We develop system control software used to create immersive, interactive, and social experiences.
  • Vincent Bellitti, CareerPeer – CareerPeer is a career path selection and management tool for undergraduate students interested in a career in business.
  • Atin Mittra, MADE – Peer-to-peer financial education for college students

In addition to seeing these hot innovations and supporting entrepreneurship at UMD, why else should you check out the Startup Showcase?

  • No tickets needed. The showcase is open to anyone who walks in the doors.
  • Help entrepreneurs gain customer feedback.
  • Connect with fellow entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Help startups gain funding by voting for your favorite booth. The top five will be awarded $2,000 each.

Be there on April 22nd! Although live-viewing is sold you, you can still register to watch the show in a satellite viewing area right next door. Register today: http://www.cupidscup.com.

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Terp Toolkit: Finding Office Space for Your Startup

Terp Toolkit highlights resources for starting your business.

Shared office spaces are popular among start-ups and an excellent way to find workspace without breaking the bank. Co-working spaces also often provide perks and resources beyond a desk, including: internet, conference space, area discounts, access to a network of business people and investors, kitchens, and even free snacks and coffee.

Startup-OfficeA few options to check out include:

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Get to Know the 2015 Cupid’s Cup Finalists

Last week, Kevin Plank and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship announced the finalists of the 10th Anniversary Cupid’s Cup business competition. The finalists come from top schools across the country including Cornell, Duke, Drexel, Stetson, Virginia Tech, and our own University of Maryland.

After successfully moving through several rounds, these entrepreneurs have proven they have what it takes to compete in the finals on April 22nd at the University of Maryland.

We wanted to learn a little more about the talented founders behind the startups in the final round so we asked them a few questions, like what are they up to when they’re not working on their startsups? And, what was their reaction to being named a Cupid’s Cup finalist by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank? They had some interesting responses!

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Terp Toolkit: Getting Started

Terp Toolkit highlights resources for starting your business.

Do you have an exciting business idea or startup that is gaining traction, but not quite sure how to get started with managing your growing venture? In this installment of Terp Toolkit, we’ll cover the basics — such as web hosting, development, phone, and email — which are essential to scaling your startup.

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Five Startups Named to Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship Summer Incubator

The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship has announced five students who have been selected for its summer incubator, Terp Startup. Terp Startup is the third and final stage of Fearless Founders, an experiential program that provides student teams the strategy, frameworks and tools necessary to develop their business ideas using lean startup methodology. The program demystifies the venture creation process by breaking it up into three stages: Idea Shell, Hatch and Terp Startup.

While Terp Startup has been a stage of Fearless Founders for several years, it has been revamped to focus on students who want to spend the summer working on customer acquisition, receiving feedback from mentors and attending workshops. More than 15 students applied to the program and the competition was tough.

“Three years ago we set our sights on strengthening our pipeline of talented student entrepreneurs,” said Elana Fine, managing director at the Dingman Center. “The Terp Startup applicants and selected participants exemplify the students, companies and community we aimed to attract.”

The Terp Startup summer  incubator helps student entrepreneurs make the pivotal decision to continue working on their venture or decide to use their entrepreneurial skillset working at another company. At the end of the summer program, students should have:  made substantial progress on their product or service; secured or increased initial customers and partners; have the ability to make the “go/no-go” decision based on metrics and market indicators.

During Terp Startup, participants will work in the Dingman Center Tuesday through Thursday,  June 9 through July 30.  Students will receive a stipend of up to $3,000 for their business and general cost of living and are eligible for a $2,000 stipend for on-campus housing expenses.

The following will participate in Terp Startup 2015:

Startup: Bethany’s Organics
Founder: Bethany Monaghan `16
Bethany’s Organics is on a mission to make healthy food more convenient, honest, delicious & environmentally friendly. The company uses only the highest quality ingredients, never sacrificing taste. All of our products are non-GMO, organic and vegan friendly! It’s first product, Crustless Creations, is a healthy spin on your childhood favorite. Crustless Creations are crustless sandwiches filled with the perfect ratio of nut/seed butters & delicious fruit spread served on whole wheat bread. Bethany has completed the Idea Shell and Hatch Stages of Fearless Founders and competed in the fall 2014 Pitch Dingman Competition.

Startup: Demer
Co-Founders: David Engle `15; Tony Liang `17; and Seean Kim `17
Demer is focused on consumer image recognition to help reduce the uncertainty in a consumers everyday life. The startup was created in January 2015. The founders look forward to on-boarding beta users to test out the prototype of the consumer application in the upcoming weeks. The Demer team has utilized the Dingman Center’s Pitch Dingman and Legal Office Hours advising sessions on numerous occasions since launching their product in January.

Startup: Javazen
Co-Founders: Eric Golman `15, Ryan Schueler `14, Aaron Wallach `14
Javazen promotes health in the coffee industry through the creation and distribution of functional beverages. The startup aims to lead new trends in the beverage industry which can make the world a better place. Javazen products are always organic, always nutritious, and always delicious. The startup began selling their tasty product in the Dingman Center’s Terp Startup Marketplace, and are now selling in dozens of grocery stores and organic markets.

Startup: Meta Cartel
Founder: Jordan Greenwald `15
Meta Cartel is a progressive streetwear brand that makes limited edition hats. Founded after an inspirational trip to Spain, the brand began designing hats as a medium of expression, and with a purpose of creating a parallel to themes found in street culture. Since then, Meta Cartel has also expanded into custom hip-hop inspired art, and has maintained a strong presence in the emerging arts scene. Last year, Jordan helped re-launch the undergraduate entrepreneurship club called E-Connector. He was also selected to represent the student body at the 2014 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference.

Startup: Starchild Studios
Founder: Ayana Zaire Cotton `15
Starchild Studios is a co-working concept for DC creatives. The startup’s ultimate goal is to showcase, connect, and empower DC’s creative community. Starchild Studios is currently showcasing local artists through their media outlet, Distrikt Magazine. It will connect creatives through a collaborative studio space opening in 2016. Ayana hopes to empower the creative community through workshops on entrepreneurial insight for artists. Ayana has completed the Idea Shell and Hatch Stage of Fearless Founders, receiving seed funds after completing both of these stages.

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Mark Your Calendar: Spring is Full of Entrepreneurship Events for Terps

It’s officially spring, and with that comes many exciting entrepreneurship events for the Terp community. Here are some highlights you won’t want to miss!

Apunnamedril 8 & June 11: Dingman Center Angels Pitch Sessions

The final two investor pitch sessions will be held for the Dingman Center Angels. Members will gather to hear pitches from promising regional startups. Click here for more information.

April 10 & 17: Pitch Dingman hops on the TerpRide bus.

In celebration of UMD’s 3rd Annual 30 Days of Entrepreneurship, the Dingman Center EIRs will be on the TerpRide bus on these two dates to provide startup feedback to Terps. The bus will be parked outside the Stamp Student Union. Terps can pitch their business ideas on the bus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

April 22: 10th Anniversary Cupid’s Cup Competition

Join Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and an all-star panel of judges as six student entrepreneur finalists compete for more than $115K in cash prizes in one of the world’s toughest business competitions. RSVP today, space is limited and the event will sell out!

3:30-5:30 p.m. Startup Showcase
6 p.m. Final Competition
Register at www.cupidscup.umd.edu

cupidscupMay 6: Inaugural Rudy Awards presented by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship  

Guests will be invited to join the Center for its inaugural awards celebration where honors will be given to a Student Entrepreneur of the Year; Mentor of the Year; Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year; a Faculty Award and more. Invitations will be distributed in the upcoming weeks.

May 7-9​: Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference

The Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Management and Organization Department will host the 11th Annual Smith Entrepreneurship Research Conference (SERC) in Van Munching Hall. The conference is a gathering of PhD students and professors who perform research on the topic of entrepreneurship. It’s an opportunity for researchers across the world to exchange ideas about their work. Click here for more information.

DCE logoMay 21: UMD Commencement Ceremony

The Dingman Center will see many Fearless Founders, MBAs and other student entrepreneurs walk across the graduation stage. For details, please visit ww.rhsmith.umd.edu/commencement/.

May 23-31: AdVENTURE Challenge: China

The Dingman Center will travel to China for the 9th Annual China Business Model Competition. This year’s delegation includes MBA students from the Smith School and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Check out more details here.

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Be sure to visit the Dingman Center’s website for information on additional events and student resources.

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Part-time MBA Launches Grey Matter, A Terp Startup that Protects First Responders

WebImagine a technology that could protect first responders and law enforcement agents from dangerous chemicals.

Not only would the technology protect agents from such chemicals, it would actually block the chemicals from clothing, turn them into water and cause the toxic chemicals to evaporate before even having a chance to touch agents’ skin. That is what the technology behind DC-area startup, Grey Matter, claims to deliver.

The venture, co-founded by part-time Smith MBA student Tommy Luginbill, recently secured $75,000 in federal grant funding to bring this potentially lifesaving, self-decontaminating clothing technology to agents in the field.

How did Grey Matter get its start?

Tommy Luginbill, Grey Matter

Tommy Luginbill, Grey Matter

Tommy Luginbill is no stranger to entrepreneurship. A part-time MBA student, Tommy comes from a line of entrepreneurs and even helped to start a family-run solar contracting business before business school. Given his strong interest in startups, Tommy started hanging out at the Dingman Center (one of the resources that drew him to UMD) and even pitched an idea to an EIR for an energy software venture.

Dr. Brandy Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Brandy Johnson, Ph.D.

As Terps are known to do, Tommy worked tirelessly and fearlessly dove into the courses available around the Smith School, including the Fearless Founders program. He learned of a new pilot program at the time on campus called iCorps, which matched business students with lab innovations to identify viable commercialization paths. It was here that Tommy met inventor Dr. Brandy Johnson, a Ph.D. working in the Naval Research Lab.

Dr. Johnson was developing smart anti-decontaminating materials made from chitosan, a biopolymer made by treating recycled crab shells. Tommy knew about the lean startup methodology, how to create a business plan, and how to conduct customer discover and identify markets.

And Grey Matter was born.

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Announcing the Spring 2015 Pitch Dingman Competition Winners

Last week’s snow storm couldn’t keep the Smith community from celebrating student entrepreneurship at the spring 2015 Pitch Dingman Competition. Held twice annually, the competition gives student entrepreneurs the opportunity to apply and compete for $3,500 in startup funding.

Five finalists were selected to pitch their businesses to a packed auditorium and all-star judges panel on Wednesday, March 4 at Van Munching Hall. The judging panel included Asher Epstein, COO of Access Health Group; Harry Geller, Entrepreneur in Residence at Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Liz Sara, CEO of Best Marketing LLC; Mark Walsh, Founder & CEO of Genius Rocket; and Tien Wong, CEO of Opus8, Inc. (pictured below with Elana Fine, Managing Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship).

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Elana Fine, Asher Epstein, Mark Walsh, Harry Geller, Liz Sara and Tien Wong.

Victus, a mobile application that allows users to request food to be delivered from restaurants within their local area, took home the $500 text-to-vote Audience Choice Award. Team members include a team of 2016 UMD undergraduates Elakian Kanakaraj, Computer Engineering; Avinash Satish, Finance and International Business; Karan Singh, Finance and Information Systems; Brandon Azzi, Finance and Information Systems; and Evan Qi, Computer Engineering.

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Victus team and judges.

The second place winner was Erika Binsley, D.M.A. French Horn Performance, May 2017, with her company Savorfy. Winner of the $1,000 second place prize, Savorfy makes the world’s first savory protein bars to contain seventeen grams of high-quality protein per serving and no added sugar. The bars were created to help people save time and money, while providing superior nutrition and delicious flavors.

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Erika Binsley and judges.

And last but not least, taking 1st place and the $2,000 prize, was 417 App Studios. Founder Ghedalia Gold-Pastor, a Mechanical Engineer major, Fall 2016, developed Puzzable, a social gaming mobile application ​that allows​ users to send pictures with a personalized message ​in the form of a jigsaw puzzle.

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Ghedalia Gold-Pastor and judges.

Congrats to all our student enTERPreneurs!

If you have an idea for a startup, stop by a Pitch Dingman session for feedback and brainstorming with our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Pitch Dingman hours are held every Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Dingman Center (2518 Van Munching Hall) and open to all UMD students.

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Lessons from TOMS Shoes at the Social Enterprise Symposium

By Danielle Bennings

Shira Shafir, director of Social Innovation and Impact at TOMS Shoes

Shira Shafir, Director of Social Innovation and Impact at TOMS Shoes

Last week the Center for Social Value Creation hosted the 7th Annual Social Enterprise Symposium; one of the largest annual events at the University of Maryland. Students, faculty and staff from across campus gathered for a day of interactive sessions, panel discussions and workshops centered around social, environmental and economic change. One of the most exciting aspects of the day was the morning keynote from Shira Shafir, Director of Social Innovation and Impact at TOMS Shoes. Her talk focused on the evolution of TOMS as an organization and their mission to use business to improve lives. Keep reading for highlights from the talk.

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