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Another great eWeekend testimonial

By Mary Galvez on May 13, 2015
Keshav Garg '15 pitches Indify to the superstar panel (photo by Andy Daddio)

Keshav Garg ’15 pitches Indify to the superstar panel (photo by Andy Daddio)

Scott Spector, a writer for the Commercial Observer, a NYC real estate newspaper, happened to be on the Colgate campus on April 10 for a college visit with his son. The date coincided with the opening night of eWeekend, so Mr. Spector and his son decided to attend the all-star panel discussion, followed by the popular Colgate version of Shark Tank. Although they found the panel interesting, according to Mr. Spector, the fun really began when the students began pitching. Father and son were “amazed with the depth of the ideas and the provocative, insightful commentary from the panel.”

Read the full article here. Thanks to Kevin Danehy ’83 for forwarding the article to our attention.

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TIA blog series: Echo App, eWeekend, and TIA by Adam Buys ’17

By Contributing Writer on May 11, 2015
Adam Buys '17 pitches Echo App during eWeekend

Adam Buys ’17 pitches Echo App during eWeekend

Almost a month later I still get excited thinking back to Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend. From the all star panel, which included the likes of Jessica Alba and Neil Blumenthal, to the demo day that gave students like myself a chance to pitch their businesses in front of hundreds of alumni, eWeekend was an incredible experience. This capstone event marked the end of what was another great year for Colgate’s Thought into Action Entrepreneurship Institute. Since being accepted into the TIA Student Incubator back in September, I have been fortunate enough to get my business off the ground and take part in many of the great opportunities that TIA provides.

My venture is called Echo. Echo is a mobile application that looks at a user’s location and then generates a list of events happening around the user on that day. Since its conception, we have developed the application on multiple platforms, created extensive marketing plans, and have been fortunate enough to secure $15,000 in seed funding from Colgate’s Entrepreneur Fund. I can confidently say however, that none of this would have been possible without TIA. While developing the technology of the app, we were mentored by alums that were founders or cofounders of tech startups themselves. While planning Echo’s business model, we spoke with dozens of TIA mentors who invest in and mentor early stage startups to learn about what often works and what doesn’t. I realized very early on in TIA that a fifteen-minute conversation with someone who has already been in my position can save weeks of time that would otherwise be lost trying to solve a problem that someone else has already encountered and solved.echo

The unique advantage of TIA compared to entrepreneurship programs at other schools is the level of commitment and success of the mentors who take the time each month to come back to campus and mentor student entrepreneurs. One of the first things I found while starting Echo was that I knew almost nothing about how to build a business. The mentors in TIA have helped bridge the knowledge gap by providing hands on advice for everything from filing legal documents to thinking strategically about how to get the app in front of as many people as possible. I would strongly encourage any Colgate student with an idea for a business or not-for-profit venture to apply to TIA. Don’t let a fear of not knowing the next steps hold you back.

Adam Buys ’17 is a sophomore at Colgate majoring in Mathematics with a minor in either Computer Science or Philosophy. In his free time, Adam is an active member of the Colgate Debate Society. He is currently the president of the team and has won several tournaments including the novice national championship. His business partner is Julian Mazza ’18, a student at the University of Arizona and a Tucson native, also Adam’s hometown.

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What TIA has meant to me by Daniel Mosko ’17, Founder of PetFed

By Contributing Writer on April 23, 2015
Daniel Mosko '17 presents to an all-star panel

Daniel Mosko ’17 presents to an all-star panel during Entrepreneur Weekend

I came into my first year of the Thought Into Action Student Incubator with nothing more than an idea and walked away with all the knowledge, connections, and resources needed to be successful in the competitive world of business. That’s a loaded statement if there ever was one, but let me explain.

In the Incubator, all the ventures are broken into small groups where 3-5 alumni mentors focus on your group specifically. My mentors went above and beyond what was asked of them and really took me under their wing. I came to TIA with absolutely no idea of what to do to progress my venture. The mentors pushed me in the right direction and taught me the true value of networking. As it turns out, there are Colgate connections to just about everything petfedyou can think of. Some of my friends who were trying to start businesses ended up failing because they didn’t know how to do something that was required for their business; for example building a prototype. TIA taught me the value of not being afraid to ask. In order to be able to ask, you need someone to ask, which brings me back to that networking thing.

The other huge tool TIA gave me this year was the ability to present. In my first pitch to just a small group, I was nervous and ended up stuttering my way through the entire thing. By the end of the year, I was able to pitch my venture to a celebrity panel during Entrepreneur Weekend – in front of more than 2,000 people. The mentors want to see us succeed and in my case specifically, that meant doing a lot of work on my pitch.

Think about how much collective experience these mentors have, coming from backgrounds ranging from CEO’s of successful companies to young entrepreneurs themselves. Getting constructive feedback from just a fraction of them allowed me to identify my weaknesses and work on them with help from these mentors until they no longer existed.

This year’s work in TIA culminated in Entrepreneur Weekend, where the kickoff event featured a panel of incredibly accomplished celebrity entrepreneurs. The panel discussion concluded with a student venture shark tank where four student ventures were selected to get on stage and pitch to these celebrities and CEOs.

I attended the event last year as a freshman and when I was sitting in that audience, I remember thinking how cool it was that students just a year or two older than me got to be on that stage with all of those celebrities right there in front of them. I never thought I would have been one of them, yet alone the very next year. Just goes to show what one is capable of doing in TIA!

I whole-heartily recommend applying for TIA – I went from watching, to pitching MC Hammer and Jessica Alba.

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Children and Youth First USA in the news

By Mary Galvez on March 24, 2015
Amanda Brown '15

Amanda Brown ’15

Check out two articles featuring Children and Youth First USA founded by Amanda Brown ’15. CYFUSA is the US branch of a Nepali NGO founded in 2008 to directly help marginalized children access their right to education. In Nepal, CYF runs a boarding school called Life Vision Academy, which currently provides a safe home and progressive education for 34 underprivileged children from across the country. These kids all come from challenging backgrounds, some are homeless, and all of the girls are the first of their families to receive a full education.

The USA team works independently in fundraising and grant writing to benefit the improvement and expansion of Life Vision Academy. The current goal is to purchase the school’s own property to escape the steep rent on the current plot, and then build a larger facility to accommodate 200 students by 2016.

On March 14, nearly 50 Colgate alumni, students, faculty, and parents came together for Colgate’s first ever off-campus Hackathon to create innovative ways to boost up CYF as part of Colgate’s Day of Impact . Hosted by Jeff O’Connell ’94 at his downtown Maker Studios offices, the Colgate Hackathon involved engineers, computer coders, and technicians who helped Amanda enhance the web presence of CYFUSA. Read the full article.

On March 20, Amanda wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post Business section entitled Why Colgate’s Day of Impact Matters. In the post Amanda speaks about her organization, why she has taken on this cause, and how the Colgate community has come together to support her efforts. Amanda is truly an inspiring young lady and will speak at the TIA reception during eWeekend about her experiences. Please plan on joining us.

(Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O’Connell ’94, Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate’s Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

(Left to right) Thought Into Action founder Andy Greenfield ’74, P’12, digital technology network volunteer Jeff O’Connell ’94, Amanda Brown ’15, and Thought Into Action Executive Director Wills Hapworth ’07 during Colgate’s Hackathon on Saturday, March 14

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Apply to Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund 2015 for a chance at $15K

By Mary Galvez on February 25, 2015
Recipients of funding work in the incubator space that occupies a former hardware store in downtown Hamilton.

Recipients of funding work in the incubator space that occupies a former hardware store in downtown Hamilton.

The TIA team is THRILLED to return with the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund. The fund was established in 2013 to grow the ventures of Colgate student and alumni entrepreneurs who are solving big problems and have demonstrated an ability to execute. A grant of $15,000 is given to each of the winning teams to help bring their ventures to commercial viability while incubating in Hamilton, NY.

The awards are decided based on the quality of the venture and team. The fund is open to for-profit ventures and must have at least one Colgate member on the founding team.

Over the past two years, eleven teams have been awarded $165,000. Many of these teams have gone on to raise additional rounds of capital, have been part of esteemed programs such as TechStars, and achieved profitability with their ventures.

Ventures are judged by a panel of alumni and parent entrepreneurs on a number of different criteria, including; ability to execute, team, commercial/social impact, impact of problem being solved and solution proposed, viability of bringing the project to fruition, stage of development, etc. We are seeking more than just an idea; prototypes and customers are a plus, as is additional interest and support from outside investors.

More information about eligibility, award benefits, & judging criteria, can be found HERE.

At least one member of the founding team must reside in the village of Hamilton for the full six-week duration of the incubator. Awardees will have access to entrepreneurial mentors in the Colgate community and the regional startup ecosystem in Central New York, and will be introduced to potential investors. Teams maintain all rights to their intellectual property and are provided with office space.

Applications are now open and due by March 20, 2015…but don’t procrastinate. APPLY TODAY!

Awards will be announced on April 11th @ Colgate’s Entrepreneurs Weekend.

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Colgate Day of Impact – NYC Hackathon

By Mary Galvez on February 25, 2015

Powered by the Common Good Network, the Digital Media & Technology Network, and the Entrepreneur Network.

hackathon
Saturday, March 14, 2015
10:00 a.m. | Teams Formed, Hacking Begins
5:00 p.m. | Presentations & Reception

Do you like to solve problems? Please join us for the first-ever off-campus Colgate Hackathon in New York City! This hackathon will gather smart, capable Colgate alumni, students, and parents to solve real world problems for the Colgate Thought Into Action Institute and for a student-run venture called Children & Youth First (CYFUSA), a not-for-profit run by Amanda Brown ’15 designed to educate young women in Nepal.

For more information and to register, see HERE.

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TIA blog series: Project Wrist Key by Tyler Sherper ’17

By Contributing Writer on January 20, 2015
Tyler Sherper '17

Tyler Sherper ’17

To lock, or not to lock. That is the question. Every time we walk out the door we have two simple options: lock our door at the risk of losing our keys which could result in a call to campus safety and a hefty lost key fine, or take the gamble and leave our door unlocked – vulnerable to the common thief.

Project Wrist Key is a bracelet that allows users to store their key by wearing it. My freshman year I started out locking my door when I went out, having to lug my key everywhere. After a couple of late night calls to campo and lost key fines, I was sick of it and just kept my door unlocked. Unfortunately, I fell victim to dorm room theft and had to resume locking my door. Project Wrist Key is the simple solution to a common problem, one that I think I can help a lot of people with.

Last semester I worked closely with a couple of mentors, specifically my group leader John Nozell ’81. He’s inspired my business decisions and shown unwavering encouragement. Furthermore, I’ve gotten strong support from Mary Galvez and Wills Hapworth ’07, while Paul Pollock ’82 has helped immensely with the legalities regarding patent content and business structure. I’m extremely grateful for theirProject Wrist Key time and guidance, and I can’t thank them enough.

The biggest challenge that I’ve been facing is the whole engineering side of my venture – I’m learning my strengths quickly and weaknesses even quicker. I’ve had to become an engineer, a sourcing expert, a salesman, an accountant – all within the last couple of months (some better than others). Adapting and executing things I have no prior knowledge on how to do has been the biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome, but I can’t explain how exciting learning something new is. It puts everything into perspective, revealing how all the many puzzle pieces fall into place to build your business.

This semester I plan on nailing down production, perfecting the first product, and then distributing it to my suppliers. I see Project Wrist Key reaching various aspects of the wearables market in the very near future, so stay tuned.

Tyler Sherper ’17 is from Mercer Island, Washington. She is an attacker for the women’s lacrosse team at Colgate and is a Molecular Neuroscience major and a Sociology minor. She is a member of the Delta Tau Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and is a passionate hiker and photographer.

 

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TIA blog series: Fair Harbor by Jake Danehy ’16

By Contributing Writer on December 16, 2014
Jake Danehy

Jake Danehy ’16

Fair Harbor is a lifestyle brand that is based on the idea of the simplicity of summer and our dedication to the environment. We make men’s bathing suits out of recycled water bottles, using proven, high quality yarn. Every year 50 million plastic water bottles are discarded after just one use. These water bottles end up in landfills, the oceans, or are burned. Because of this, we believe that water bottles should be recycled, melted down, and turned into products that can be worn/used everyday. It is our mission to create a high quality performance product that embodies the pureness and simplicity that is Fair Harbor.

Fair Harbor is a town on Fire Island, New York — a place we went as kids and learned how to surf. Fair Harbor defines summer: clean beaches, no cars, the smell of salt water in the air. Because of our ties to and love of Fair Harbor, we feel that it is our responsibility to clean the oceans of plastic waste, so that everyone can always enjoy the luxuries of summer for a long time to come. Because of our passion for the outdoors, we donate 5% of our profits to the Surfrider Foundation, an organization that cleans up beaches, helping restore natural order to the ocean.

We came up with this idea because we love the ocean and want to keep it clean. We also saw a gap in the existing market for timelessly fashionable performance bathing suits. Because of the gap in the market and our dedication to the environment, we believe that Fair Harbor will be a success.

TIA has been incredible for Fair Harbor. I cannot express how helpful it has been to bounce ideas off of experienced and very knowledgeable entrepreneurs. The mentors in TIA have been through the start up process before, making their guidance and expertise extremely valuable to our venture. I honestly cannot thank them enough for their time.Fair Harbor

A few mentors that have been extremely helpful to our venture in particular have been my group leaders, Lynn Plant ’77 and Greg Dahlberg ’98. They have been instrumental in helping my team and me through some of the challenges that we have faced. Also, Wills Hapworth ’07, Andy Greenfield ’74 and Dina Dunn ’88 have been extremely helpful and very positive about our venture. Lastly, Paul Pollock ’82 has been exceptionally helpful by providing the legal service that we need to become a business and protect our brand.

Again I am so grateful for all of their help along the way, and cannot thank them enough for their time.

The biggest challenge that we have faced has been putting all of the pieces together to develop the bathing suits. Before we started, the process seemed pretty easy: go find fabric, make a design, and produce the product. We have found out, however, that it is much more complicated than that and there are many parties involved in developing a garment.

After running around for a few months trying to do everything ourselves, we finally hooked up with a manufacturing firm who helps entrepreneurs every step of the way, with product design, sourcing, sample making, sizing, and manufacturing. Sweenie Manufacturing has been great and if everything goes as planned, we foresee a production run of 500 pieces within the next few months.

Over the next semester we plan on making sure that our samples fit great and once we get that down we will move on to manufacturing. We are making one bathing suit design, with five different styles, 100 pieces of each style. I see this brand going far as we will not limit our brand to bathing suits. After we develop our bathing suit and are comfortable in the market, we will then expand our line to other beachwear, all with a vision of being sustainable, embodying the classic feel of Fair Harbor.

Jake Danehy ’16 is from Larchmont, New York and a goalie on the Colgate men’s lacrosse team. He is a geography major and has taken many classes on sustainability and properly allocating our resources. He is extremely passionate about the outdoors and loves all types of recreational activities and fitness. He has partnered with his 17 year old sister, Caroline (incoming class of 2019!) who has a strong interest and adoration for fashion, as well as his best friend, Sam who is a business and entrepreneurial studies major at USC.

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TIA blog series: The Condom Truck, by Emily Hawkins ’15 and Katie Williams ’15

By Contributing Writer on November 12, 2014
Emily Hawkins, The Condom Truck

Emily Hawkins ’15

Our venture is The Condom Truck, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate conversation about sexual health and positive sexuality. We distribute condoms labeled with three conversation starters, encouraging individuals to chat about sex in a fun, respectful way. With The Condom Truck, we hope to give people the tools, language, and permission to make sexy talk fun and exciting. We developed the idea on a car ride to Colgate Inn Trivia Night in July 2013, and instantly thought of TIA as the opportunity to turn our conversation into a reality, and a reality we can share.

TIA has given us a structured forum in which to develop our ideas. We were nervous to bring the idea to TIA because we understand that our venture is quite different than other ventures and deals with potentially more sensitive and personal topics. The support we have received, and continue to receive, from our mentors and fellow mentees has been paramount in turning our ideas into realities.

Katie Williams, The Condom Truck

Katie Williams ’15

Our next steps involve procuring an actual truck (only requirements: must be purple and have a side window), and determining a plan of action in terms of Condom Truck events and interactions. We also want to move beyond the conversation starter condoms, and expand our inventory of positive sexuality goodies.

The biggest challenge so far has been communicating our idea. It is easy for us to talk about positive sexuality, but explaining the foundation of our mission has had its difficulties; we are trying to change a conversation, not build a product. To that same effect, people are intrigued by our venture, and want to know more. This has helped us expand our support network and engage more individuals in the positive sexuality conversation. We’re super excited to continue building our venture!

Follow us on Instagram: @thecondomtruck

Emily Hawkins ’15  is a Peace and Conflict major and a Women’s studies minor and comes to Colgate from Honolulu, HI. She is passionate about issues of gender equality and has, while at Colgate, immersed herself in the positive sexuality movement. On campus, she is the program coordinator of Yes Means Yes, a 6-week, student-facilitated positive sexuality seminar; production manager of “This is Not a Play About Sex,” a student written and produced play; a three-year member of Link Staff, Colgate’s First-Year Orientation leaders and yearlong mentors; and president of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society.

Katie Williams ’15 is a  Geography and History double major from Washington, D.C. On campus she is the co-leader of the Swinging ‘Gates, Colgate’s only all-female a capella group; the co-president of the newly founded Geographers Without Borders club; a member of Colgate’s Campus Master Planning Committee; and Senior Admission Fellow. It was her experience in Colgate’s Yes Means Yes positive sexuality seminar that inspired her ventures in TIA. 

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My story: Ram Parimi ’05, Social Tables

By Mary Galvez on October 23, 2014

At TIA, we know our strongest asset is our extensive and committed bank of entrepreneur mentors. Made up of alumni, parents, and community members, our mentors bring a wealth of experience, from successes and failures, in the startup world. It’s their experience that allows them to guide our student entrepreneurs to develop the insight, attention to detail, and dedication that they’ll need, not by lecturing them or giving out the answers, but by spurring them to action and fueling their passion. We asked a few of our mentors to provide updates on their companies and we would like to share those with you. We hope you find them as inspiring as we do.

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Social Tables – Ram Parimi ’05

RamIn 2012 I started at Social Tables on our founding team of 5 to build and lead our sales efforts. Today my team is 15 and our company has 60 employees. Our award-winning event management software is used by Social Tablescatering sales teams at Hyatt International and Caesars Entertainment; national nonprofits such as Boys and Girls Club of America and The Recording Academy; corporate event planning teams such as Genentech and Forbes; advancement teams at world-renowned academic institutions such as Harvard Business School and Stanford University; and venues such as Navy Pier and MetLife Stadium.

In July, Social Tables secured $8 million in series A funding led by Tier 1 venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP). The funding allows us to take more risks and bring our vision of helping people achieve great things to life! With more than 200,000 events planned in the software in the last 2 years, we are pioneering the movement to bring collaborative software to the hospitality & event planning industry.

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