An Interview with Pitch Dingman Competition Finalist: Dark Sonar Technologies

In anticipation of the final round of the 2018 Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center is interviewing each of the five startup finalists about their progress and upcoming challenges as they prepare to compete for the $15,000 Grand Prize on March 6 in the Grand Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. Learn more and register to attend the competition here.

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Dark Sonar Technologies

George Lee, Founder & CEO

DarkSonarLogoGeorge Lee, a senior finance major at University of Maryland, came up with the idea for Dark Sonar when he encountered synthetic identity fraud while trying to run his first business, an incentivized advertising website called rewardslive. When he realized that the only available cybersecurity services on the market were too expensive for the size of his business, he decided to develop his own solutions. This experience led to George launching Dark Sonar, a cybersecurity service that is both simple to integrate and affordable for small and medium-sized businesses. Since founding Dark Sonar, George Lee has been accepted into Startup Shell and has participated in the Hatch and Terp Startup phases of the Dingman Center’s Fearless Founders Accelerator. Dark Sonar has attracted customers across a variety of industries, and looks to continue to innovate by expanding to prevent theft and fraud in cryptocurrency and blockchain.

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Key Takeaways from the Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel

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From left: Moderator, Robert Hisaoka; Bradley Deyo; Brandon Deyo; Evan Lutz; Ali von Paris

By: Eric Elliot

On Tuesday, February 13, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the second event in our Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series, a Young Founders Panel which featured four successful entrepreneurs who launched their ventures as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14, Brandon Deyo and Bradley Deyo shared some of the insights they learned along with the challenges they faced turning their dorm room ventures into thriving businesses.

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Announcing the Fearless Founders: Hatch 2018 Cohort

Hatch 2018 Cohort

Hatch is a three-credit course within the Fearless Founders accelerator where students will build and test their business ideas using lean startup methodology. Each business is also assigned a venture mentor from the Dingman Center Mentor Network. Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible for up to $2,500 in seed funding.

Read on to learn more about this cohort’s exciting student founders and their businesses!

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Brandon and Bradley Deyo

By: Eric Elliot

RGHisaoka_LOGO_2The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses.

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Mars Reel – Brandon and Bradley Deyo

Mars Reel started eight years ago in February, 2010, when Brandon and Bradley Deyo were sophomores playing basketball at Richard Montgomery High School. They dreamed of being recruited by a college basketball program and landing a scholarship; however, they were just like everybody else. Teammates and other high school athletes were also vying for the same limited media attention. In an attempt to get noticed by recruiters, Brandon and Bradley began recording highlights of their games and sent them to recruiters. Word quickly began to spread about the brothers who brought cameras to every game, and soon, friends, teammates, and players from other teams began asking for help. The brothers served as contractual cameramen and taught themselves how to edit videos. Mars Reel quickly became a small production studio for high school basketball athletes looking to get noticed, and the highlight clips on Mars Reel grew exponentially. Within a year, Brandon and Bradley Deyo received the 2011 Ernst & Young “Youth Entrepreneur” of the Year Award.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Evan Lutz

By: Eric Elliot

RGHisaoka_LOGO_2The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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Hungry Harvest – Evan Lutz ’14

Evan wanted to be a social entrepreneur ever since he was little. Particularly, he wanted to do something about the inefficient food system of this country. Every year, 40% of food produced goes to waste due to superficial abnormalities; at the same time, 20% of the U.S. lacks access to a nutritious diet. Wanting to do something about this, Evan Lutz started Hungry Harvest in the basement of his dorm room during his senior year at the University of Maryland with the goal of reducing food waste and eliminating hunger. Hungry Harvest purchases surplus ‘ugly produce’ that would have gone to waste from farmers and wholesalers and then distributes them to weekly subscribers. For every box they deliver to a customer, they donate a healthy meal to someone in need.

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Hisaoka Speaker Series Young Founders Panel Preview: Ali von Paris

By: Eric Elliot

RGHisaoka_LOGO_2

The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses. Register now to attend, and stay tuned to our blog to learn more about each of the panelists.

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Route One Apparel – Ali von Paris ’12

In November 2010, Ali von Paris was faced with no work after the bar she worked at, the Thirsty Turtle, closed down. Wanting to honor the fallen bar along with her co-workers, Ali designed her first product, the “Turtle Survivor” jersey. Even though the jersey was initially targeted toward the employees, other fans of the bar quickly became interested. Ali saw this as an opportunity to leverage her passion for design and creativity into a business. Utilizing her social media channels, Ali advertised the jersey to her friends and family and secured 600 pre-orders for the product within just a few weeks, marking the start of Route One Apparel.

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Wrapping Up Fall 2017 at the Dingman Center

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The end of the semester is here once again! Student entrepreneurs are buckling down to get through their final exams, group projects and presentations before they’re off for the holidays. As the Dingman Center quiets down while students are studying, we’ve had time to reflect on the events we’ve held throughout the semester. In these past few months, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of energy, engagement and enthusiasm from the community at our events and programs at the Smith School. Take a look at some of our favorite highlights over the past semester!

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Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals Recap

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This past Thursday, we hosted our annual Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals in the Frank Auditorium of Van Munching Hall. With the recent news that University of Maryland had risen to #8 in the country in undergraduate entrepreneurship education, it was no surprise to see the room filled with attendees enthusiastically cheering for this extraordinary group of student founders.

Chaired by generous donor and UMD alumnus Robert G. Hisaoka, this year’s Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals was preceded by an announcement for the new Hisaoka Entrepreneurs program. As part of the program, each semifinalist team will receive mentoring, coaching and additional funding to accelerate their venture toward success.

With only 4 minutes to present and 2 minutes for Q&A from judges, the 10 semifinalists all pitched their businesses admirably, but in the end, the judges chose these six exemplary startups to advance to the Finals:

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Reflections on the 2nd Annual Ladies First Fall Dinner

by: Karolyn Maynard MBA ’18

Ladies First is the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Sara Herald, Associate Director of Social Entrepreneurship began the Ladies First dinner with these words.  The theme of the evening—‘Purpose’ and an avenue to achieving that purpose—Social Entrepreneurship.

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5 Reasons the Dingman Center is Smith Proud

Smith Day is a new tradition that celebrates our strong community of Robert H. Smith School of Business students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are innovative, collaborative and driven. We support and empower each other. We are truly proud to be Smith Terps. To celebrate the inaugural Smith Day, we at the Dingman Center would like to share what makes us #UMDSmithProud.

Our Diverse Community

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The University of Maryland, College Park campus is one of the most diverse in the nation, and the Smith School is no exception. The student entrepreneurs we see come through the Center come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances, and the diversity of ideas we hear daily reflects that. It is truly exciting to meet students with wildly differing perspectives and stories, but who are all looking to explore entrepreneurship.

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