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TIA / Entrepreneurs Fund featured on Syracuse WSYR-TV

By Mary Galvez on June 27, 2017


(Reprinted from Syr.com, June 19, 2017)

HAMILTON (WSYR-TV) – On a rainy Monday morning, several Colgate University students are inside a Hamilton incubator space thinking up their next big idea.

They’re part of Colgate’s Thought Into Action program, which awards grants to current students and alumni looking to solve problems.

“They’re accessing and resourcing the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to solve those problems,” Wills Hapworth, the Alumni Executive Director of the program said.

Ventures [that are] part of the project include a product that makes it more difficult to drop a cell phone, a sports highlight app, and several businesses around the Hamilton business district.

One of those businesses, Good Nature Brewing, received a $12,000 grant from the program several years ago. What started as a small tap room in Hamilton has expanded into a brewing facility and restaurant in the village.

“This solves a big problem,” Carrie Blackmore, Good Nature’s owner, said. “There were no breweries in Madison County and it was very difficult to find local beer at all.”

As an alumna, Blackmore was eligible for funding through one of Thought Into Action’s funds. She turned her grant into a successful company that now employs more than 35 people.

In total, about 165 full and part-time jobs have been created through Thought Into Action.

More than half of those ventures remain in operation.

TIA Mentor named Entrepreneur of the Year

By Mary Galvez on June 5, 2017

Melissa Coley ’79, President-elect of the Alumni Council awards Oak Atkinson ’87 the Entrepreneur of the Year award

TIA mentor extraordinaire, Oak Atkinson ’87, was selected as the Colgate alumni council’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year during this years eWeekend in New York City. Oak is the founder of tumbalina, the artisanal and digital card company that measures its success in smiles by “touching hearts one by one.” In 2003, the first year in business, tumbalina won several industry awards, including a “Louie”, (the Oscars of the stationery industry), and the American Package Design Award. In 2015, tumbalina sold over 17 million cards with clients like Snapfish, Walgreens and CVS .


While Oak is super busy running her multi-million dollar business, she is also a wife, mother and artist. Yet, she still makes time in her busy schedule to come to campus once a month to mentor TIA Incubator students. Why? To give back to Colgate and to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes. And . . . “it’s also fun.”

In addition to mentoring, Oak has taken it upon herself to hand-stencil a number of walls in the TIA incubator with inspirational and relevant quotes. This has been a laborious and time-consuming project that has added so much visually and inspirationally to our space. Oak has volunteered her time to this project, as do all of our mentors. TIA absolutely could not survive without our incredible group of alumni, parent and community mentors.






THANK YOU Oak and congratulations on this well deserved award.



Congratulations to Our 2017 TIA Graduates!

By Mary Galvez on May 23, 2017

Thirteen Thought Into Action students graduated in Colgate’s 196th commencement ceremonies May 21st. We couldn’t be prouder of each one of them and wish them the best of luck as they enter the next phase of their lives.

Adam Buys

Adam Buys
Sapling / WeRun App

Abeneazer Chafamo

Blaise Desnoes
Earthprint Organics








Ryan Diew

Raffi Khatchadourian
Indify/Waffle Cookie








Jazmyn McKoy
Heart of Tabitha

Daniel Mosko
PetFed / Seela

Caroline Nichols
D’Eat It







Hannah S. O’Malley

Keane Sanders







Orion Schelz
Colgate Dining Club












Good luck to our graduating seniors! We’ll miss you and hope you’ll pay it forward by mentoring future classes of the TIA Student Incubator!


Colgate hosts sixth annual Entrepreneur Weekend

By mhames on May 17, 2017

Colgate University, Thought Into Action (TIA), and the Entrepreneur Professional Network hosted the sixth annual Entrepreneur Weekend on April 29, bringing alumni, parents, students, and friends together for the first time in New York City.

The festivities included a panel conversation moderated by Forbes magazine tech editor Steven Bertoni ’02. The panel included: Samantha Radocchia ’11, co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Chronicled; Cliff Sirlin ’89, co-founder of the Domino Media Group and now managing director at LaunchCapital LLC; and Ram Parimi ’05, co-founder and vice president of sales, Social Tables. (Read more . . . )

2017 Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund Winners

By Mary Galvez on May 17, 2017

The Entrepreneurs Fund was created in 2013 in recognition of the large number of student and alumni entrepreneurs throughout the Colgate community who are solving problems and demonstrating an ability to execute. Open to for-profit and non-profit ventures with at least one Colgate member on the founding team, the fund offers prizewinners the opportunity to grow their ventures with seed capital; incubator space for the summer in Hamilton; and intellectual resources from within the Colgate community. The Efund was created in 2013 and initially funded by Dan and Linda Rosensweig  P’15, ’17.

Congratulations to the five teams chosen as this years winners of the fund:


BetterMynd is improving the mental health of America’s 21 million college students. BetterMynd gives students access to a network of certified mental health counselors and allows them to engage in teletherapy sessions. Cody Semrau ’14


Gipper is a sports highlight app and service that harnesses a love for athletics to improve engagement and further advancement at high schools and colleges. Matthew Glick ’19 and Jack Zamore ’20


Loophole makes a rubber ring phone accessory that prevents you from dropping your phone while also improving how you use your phone. Patrick Crowe ’18 and Steven Stillwell (Towson University)


room2learn is a social platform and design consultancy that provides custom and affordable design solutions for K-12 schools shifting towards 21st century learning. Grace O’Shea ’11, Fernando Trujano, and Jane Zhang.

Vision democratizes the college campus visit. We mitigate financial, temporal and logistical restraints that prevent prospective students from visiting campuses through a platform rich with video content from colleges across the country. Rob Carroll ’15 and Nick Freud ’15.




Inc. Magazine names two TIA ventures among Coolest College Startups

By mwalden on April 25, 2017

Last month, while the sports world was reveling in March Madness, entrepreneurs were tuning in to Inc. magazine’s Coolest College Startup competition to see which of 16 ventures would win the 2017 title.

This year, Colgate was the only university represented twice on the brackets — and both ventures made it to the third round of the competition, thanks to votes from the public: Trippie, the airport-guidebook app launched by Ryan Diew ’17 and Samantha Braver, and swimwear company Fair Harbor, founded by Jake ’16 and Caroline ’19 Danehy.

“We were incredibly thrilled and humbled to be chosen as one of the 16 Coolest College Startups,” Caroline Danehy said. “We definitely wouldn’t be in the position that we are in today if it weren’t for the support of Colgate’s Thought Into Action incubator and community at large.”

The Thought into Action Incubator pairs alumni and parent mentors with student entrepreneurs, providing the guidance and encouragement that undergraduates need to identify and overcome problems through new business start-ups. Fair Harbor and Trippie have also earned venture funding during the university’s Entrepreneur Weekend Shark Tank pitch competitions. (Read more . . .)



Navigating the Start-up World, by Zach Zaro ’07

By Contributing Writer on August 12, 2016
Zach Zaro '07

Zach Zaro ’07

Zach Zaro has spent the last nine years working in a variety of positions in the start-up world. For the last six years, as a software developer, he helped build Percolate as an early-stage engineering and product leader, and his most recent venture as the founding CTO at Maven Clinic, a digital health clinic for women. Following are some thoughts Zach has had as well as lessons learned on his entrepreneurial path.

Liberal Arts and Technology Careers
A liberal arts education was a great preparation for the career I’ve had in technology. Some of the skills I use every day are: the ability to research and think deeply about unfamiliar topics; the ability to digest and distill complicated ideas into simpler ones; and the ability to ask good questions. These are the foundations of thoughtfulness that our liberal arts professors all strive to show us.

The most basic aspect of the technology industry is that things go obsolete very quickly. Google replaced older search engines, and is now being challenged itself. Snapchat suddenly has more users than Twitter. Amazon Web Services made the “public cloud” popular, and now Google and Microsoft are selling the next generation of cloud services. New programming languages are invented. The treadmill is relentless and ceaseless.

A liberal arts education gives you the ability to think critically, which is invaluable when it comes to adapting in this ever-changing world. Thinking critically encourages you to have reasons to justify your conclusions, instead of relying on groupthink and dogma. The practice in these skills that you get at Colgate will give you the freedom to make choices about what to learn based on what really fits into your path ahead, all things considered. When you think from first principles instead of based on what you might have heard or read, you can form a coherent story about why to do things, as opposed to simply following a formula or processing orders. It’s never bad to spend time exploring and staying current – the hard part is finding a balance between putting your nose down and working, and picking your head up to see what might be happening around you.

Additionally, thinking critically forces you to actually know what you want to say and why you want to say it. This will make you a powerful communicator in the workplace. In today’s data-driven world, knowing what questions to ask is the only way to get the support you need for your arguments. If you cannot describe exactly what you want to get out of a database, you won’t be able to get the data you need – and so critical thinking will only become more important as we rely more and more on “big data” in businesses large and small. When you can consolidate multiple points of view and help guide decisions and consensus, you can become a lynchpin of your team, and an asset to any enterprise that you endeavor to contribute to.

Early-Stage vs. Later Stage Companies
So far, I’ve worked at nine “start-up” companies ranging in size from just me up to 100 people, and in roles ranging from entry-level to executive leadership. There’s a huge difference in the experience at these different size companies. Understanding this is very helpful as you’re looking at where to work or thinking about how to build your own team. The differences are really much bigger than you might expect, and this decision is one of the most important when thinking about what your daily experience will be like.

Working with yourself or just another person or two, the biggest challenge is prioritizing your time and getting something done that moves your business forward every day. You need a laser-like focus on details and every hour you put in matters a huge amount. It’s interesting to think about the effect of this as a total percentage of the hours worked on the company as a whole. When it’s just you at the beginning, a day can affect a whole number of percentage points. At Ford Motors, a whole year of full-time work is probably a rounding error on a TI-83 calculator.

With a team of about 10 people, things are very different. You are probably the only specialist in whatever you do, but there are other people with similar skill sets that can help. Leadership is so important at this stage because team habits are forming and bad communication can waste multiple people’s time. The emphasis here should be focus on communication and culture as a leader, and on building a culture of respect and professionalism as a member of the team.

Once a company gets bigger than 30-40 people, and really up until 100 people, everything changes again. You’ll have teams of specialists in each important skill set, and often the organization within these teams is more important for the day-to-day of the company than the overall structure/culture. As a team leader, you want to focus on finding people to delegate the details to, so that you can focus on the big picture. As a team member, at this stage, you want to focus on processes and building automatic productivity and communication into the company workflows, so that your job gets easier and the company benefits from your impact as a multiple of the hours you put in.

TIA Mentoring
Being a TIA mentor and interacting with young entrepreneurs in general has been a great way for me to learn surprising truths about how people approach new ventures. The most important thing I have learned is that there is such an amazing reservoir of talent and ambition at Colgate. The TIA program has found a way to put some structure around that energy and it’s amazing to see the results that have come out of it. I hope to learn more from the classes to come!

One thing I’ve seen (and reflecting on my own weaknesses, probably) is just how easy it is to lose focus on getting something out the door and into the market, instead of worrying endlessly about the details. You can get distracted by trying to envision the perfect customer, find the optimal price point, or user-test the best wireframe. These are all important, but as Mike Tyson once said “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face” – and when you are working on a new idea you should be trying to get punched in the face as quickly as possible. The most exciting thing about being around the TIA program is seeing all the punches that everybody is willing to take in order to put thought Into action.

Zachary Zaro is a 2007 Colgate graduate with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. Since graduation he has worked in the technology industry in New York City and has been a TIA mentor since 2012. While he lives in Brooklyn, Zach really misses living on Lake Moraine.

Fifth Annual Entrepreneur Weekend

By Mary Galvez on April 20, 2016
Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate’s fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration. (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate’s fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration. (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Colgate and Thought Into Action hosted the fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend, April 8–9, celebrating the relentless determination that goes into successful ventures and connecting students with veteran business builders.

The weekend kicked off with a keynote conversation on Friday night. Moderated by Forbes magazine tech editor Steven Bertoni ’02, the panel included Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices; Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass; Jon McNeill, president of global sales and service at Tesla Motors; Clare MacGoey, CFO of Giphy; and David Fialkow ’81, managing director at General Catalyst Partners.

The Shark Tank–style competition was moderated by Peter Boyce of General Catalyst Partners and Rough Draft Ventures alongside Andrew Parietti ’10, president of Outdoor Voices. The panel heard from Thought Into Action students Samantha Braver ’18 and Ryan Diew ’17 of airport navigation app Trippie; Richard Sanders ’17 of the sports beverage company Seela; Miranda Scott ’18 of The Waffle Cookie, a socially conscious baked-goods start-up; and Rex Messing ’15 and Ryan Clement ’16 of the outdoor adventure firm Tuwa Tuwa, Inc.

After delivering their pitches and answering a series of questions from the pros, the students split a $20,000 pool of capital that will help them move their ventures forward. The first-place prize of $6,900 was awarded to Trippie; second-place $5,200 to The Waffle Cookie; third-place $4,100 to Seela; and fourth-place $3,800 to Tuwa Tuwa, Inc.

On Saturday, an expo-style event was held in the Hall of Presidents where twenty teams of entrepreneurs showcased their ventures to almost 400 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends. Five teams alternated pitching their ventures during the afternoon to an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd. The weekend wound up with a reception at the TIA Incubator downtown with one final presentation by Jehdeiah Mixon ’18 and Hannah Shaheen O’Malley ’17 pitching their venture UNRAVEL.

Read the full article by Mark Walden from the Colgate Communications office.

Read the Maroon News article here.



Congratulations to the 2016 Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund Winners

By Mary Galvez on April 20, 2016
Wills Hapworth, Samantha Braver, Ryan Diew, Adam Pratt, Nick Friedman,Leda Rosenthal, Jenny Lundt, Amber Codiroli, Britty Buonocore

Wills Hapworth, Samantha Braver, Ryan Diew, Adam Pratt, Nick Friedman, Leda Rosenthal, Jenny Lundt, Amber Codiroli, Britty Buonocore


Congratulations to the five teams who were chosen as winners of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund announced at this years Entrepreneur Weekend. The fund was established in 2013 to grow and advance the ventures of Colgate student and alumni entrepreneurs who are solving problems and demonstrating an ability to execute. The winners are:


Trippietrippie – a mobile app that takes the guesswork and turbulence out of navigating big airports.

Samantha Braver ’18 and Ryan Diew ’17


Halliganfirefighter_icon – easy to understand firehouse software so all you need to worry about is the job.

Alex Montgomery ’11, Drew Brien ’11, Adam Pratt ’18, and Nick Friedman ’16


Alz You NeedAlzLogoMarch2016_1_opt – a communication interface designed specifically for families with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or a dementia­-related illness.

Leda Rosenthal ’18 and Jenny Lundt ’19


Amber’s Natural Goods
Ambers – a producer of all natural peanut and nut products, mainly nut butters, based out of Hamilton, NY.

Amber Codiroli ’10


Flour & Salt BakeryFlourSalt_Logo – a local retail bakery that caters to a niche market for breakfast, baked breads and bagels, and sweet and savory pastries.

Britty Buonocore ’12



Trippie – The Answer to Tired, Hungry and Grumpy by Ryan Diew ’17

By Contributing Writer on February 22, 2016
ryan diew '17

Ryan Diew ’17

Two years ago I found myself stranded in Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC. I had an hour layover before boarding my flight to San Francisco, and after a week of finals I was dying to get home. I was tired. I was grumpy. And I was hungry. There was an issue though—it hadn’t occurred to me that I needed to pack food for my trip. One might think that I could have just purchased something in the terminal, since airports have lots of food options. The problem, however, was that I had no idea what food places were nearby or how long it would take me to get to them. To make matters worse, I’d traveled with 3 carry-on bags. Given how tired I was from traveling all day, lugging my bags a long distance across the airport to search for food would simply not have been very feasible. During this time of despair and ravenousness I thought to myself “Why isn’t there a service that can show me airport food vendors, and deliver food to me?” It was in that moment that Trippie was born. I made the decision right then and there to pioneer a service which would remedy a problem that far too many travelers face on a daily basis.

sam braver '18

Samantha Braver ’18

Over time, Trippie has evolved from an airport food delivery service, to an airport information mapping tool, which allows travelers to see all of the food vendors around them in the terminals. Currently, there is no mobile based service that’s focused on helping travelers see nearby food options, as only individual airport websites hold this information. Trippie is a mobile app that will take the guesswork and confusion out of navigating big airports. Frequent flyers will no longer need to visit many different airport websites, which are often very “buggy”, since Trippie consolidates all of the essential information into one simple app. The app will allow travelers to explore a detailed interactive map for any airport they visit and immediately get the lay of the land. Current development of the app is going very well. Using San Francisco International Airport as our model, we have successfully integrated mapping functionality, as well as a menu displaying food options in each terminal. We are looking forward to having the app available for download by fall 2016.

TrippieSince the idea’s original conception, I have had the pleasure of meeting an exceptional woman in Samantha Braver ‘18. A casual conversation about campus activities fostered a strong friendship and partnership which took this idea to new heights. From day one, Sam’s creativity, passion and intelligence has helped grow and improve Trippie substantially. The addition of Sam, partnered with the help of TIA mentors Janice Ryan ’94 and Bruce Rutter ’73, has really helped us turn thought into action, as we are about to embark upon something really great with this venture. Janice and Bruce stressed to us the importance of taking small steps with our venture, which makes solving the current problem that plagues airplane travelers very realistic and attainable. Trippie would not be possible without them.

Ryan Diew is a junior majoring in Computer Science. This past summer he worked with Google to become Colgate’s Google Student Ambassador on campus for the 2015-16 academic year. On campus Ryan is involved in numerous activities including varsity basketball, Link Staff and student government. He is very interested in the fields of Computer Science and technology, as well as marketing and advertising.

Samantha Braver is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and Art & Art History. She is a member of the SGA Executive Board, does marketing for the fitness department, and is a member of marketing club.