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 our 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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CUPID’S CUP COMPETITION NAMES TWELVE SEMI-FINALISTS TO COMPETE AT UNDER ARMOUR GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS

College Park, MD – February 24, 2015 – Twelve startups have been selected from nearly 200 worldwide entries to advance to the semifinal round in the Tenth Annual Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, presented by Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The entrepreneurs will present on March 10 at Under Armour’s global headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. The top five startups will compete for $115,000 in total prizes at the final round to be held April 22 at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Semifinalists will travel from across the country and Canada to spend the day pitching their businesses and interviewing with the investors, entrepreneurship experts, and Under Armour executives who will serve as judges. Plank and the judges will narrow the applicant pool to five finalists who will compete for a transformative prize package including $115,000 in total cash prizes ($75,000 for the grand-prize winner), coaching from a team of successful entrepreneurs, and the prestigious Cupid’s Cup.

The twelve semifinalists represent 11 universities and a broad range of industries. They are:

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Finalists Announced for Spring Pitch Dingman Competition: RSVP Today

CaptureOn March 4th, five Terp start-ups will compete for $3,500 in funding at the semi-annual Pitch Dingman Competition, which will be held from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in Tyser Auditorium, Van Munching Hall. The finalists will each have 6 minutes to pitch their business before the UMD community.

An all-star panel of judges will select the most promising companies to walk away with the cash prizes.  The audience will also have the chance to text-to-vote for their favorite company and award them the $500 Audience Choice Award. Make sure you register to attend and bring a friend to cast your votes at the competition!

Meet the finalists:

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Entrepreneurship Meets Impact at UMD’s Social Enterprise Symposium: RSVP Today!

The Social Enterprise Symposium (SES) is one of the largest annual events on the University of Maryland’s campus that focuses on interactive learning and entrepreneurial thinking with a social impact mindset. Created and hosted by the Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC), the February 27 event will bring together students, faculty and business leaders from across the region to explore positive social, environmental and economic change through a variety of lenses.

“SES is important to the UMD community because it welcomes faculty and staff from all disciplines to explore how business (and business principles) can help advance economic, social, and environmental well being,” said Kim Glinka, Associate Director at the Center for Social Value Creation. “This year in particular we’ve partnered with academic allies to explore these topics through specific academic lenses. Partners in the School of Public Policy, Arts and Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences, and the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will each lead workshops and breakout sessions.”

This year, UMD and the CSVC are thrilled to welcome Shira Shafir, Director of Social Impact at TOMS Shoes as the keynote speaker. (BTW, word on the street is that discount coupons for TOMS products will be handed out before Shira Shafir’s morning presentation! You won’t want to miss it!)

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Thinking about applying to a business competition? Five tips from Elana Fine

For b-schools, incubators and other organizations that support startups, business competitions are very hot right now. For entrepreneurs, they can be great opportunities to flex your entrepreneurial muscles and gain traction for your startup or business idea.

CC-04Apr14-635_hr However, with a seemingly endless list of competitions to choose from and limited time, how do you decide which competitions to enter?

Here are five things to consider from Dingman Center Managing Director, Elana Fine:

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Dingman EIR Disrupts the Real Estate Industry with Latest Venture, iUnit

iunit3Envision the Prius of apartment buildings: wired with the latest “smart” technology, environmentally friendly, affordable, cool. That’s exactly what lifelong entrepreneur Brice Leconte delivers in his latest venture, iUnit.

Brice is one of the Dingman Center’s EIRs (Entrepreneurs-In-Residence), who help UMD students realize their entrepreneurial ideas during the Dingman Center’s weekly Pitch Dingman sessions. A long-time entrepreneur, Brice has a passion for disrupting industries and building socially active companies. He has started and invested in a wide range of businesses, from real estate development, to bricks and mortar, to e-commerce and tech startups. Today, he is focused on disrupting the real estate industry with his latest brand, iUnit.

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