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3rd annual Entrepreneur Weekend a huge success

By Mary Galvez on April 25, 2014


From the superstar panel discussion and Shark Tank competition on Friday night to the student demos and pitches on Saturday, the Colgate campus was infused with the energy and enthusiasm of the entrepreneurial spirit during the third annual Entrepreneur Weekend.

Friday night began with David Faber of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street moderating a discussion among some of the biggest names in Silicone Valley – Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17, former COO of Yahoo and now CEO of Chegg,  Tony Bates, former Microsoft executive VP and Skype CEO, Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, John Donahoe, eBay president and CEO, and Ashton Kutcher, actor and founder of A-Grade Investments. This was followed by three teams from the TIA Student Incubator pitching to the panel in a Shark Tank-type competition. Although the four students who pitched were beyond nervous, they all looked calm, cool, and collected in front of the rock-star panel. All three teams walked away with funding for their ventures.

Andy Greenfield '74

A reception followed immediately after with the launch of The Entrepreneur Professional Network. Katie Finnegan ’05, chair of the Entrepreneur Network, gave some brief remarks introducing the network and how it will serve current and future entrepreneurial alumni. Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of an award to Andy Greenfield ’74 in recognition of his founding Thought Into Action. It was Andy’s idea that planted the seed of entrepreneurship at Colgate that in five short years has grown into the mighty oak that is the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute. THANK YOU, Andy!


arielSaturday kicked off with a panel discussion in Golden Auditorium on Colgate Networks and You, hosted by Katie Finnegan, Leo Russell P’15, Chair, Society of Families, and Gus Coldabella ’91, Trustee.  During this time, TIA students were setting up their booths in the Clark Room in the Hall of Presidents where alumni, parents, family, friends, faculty, staff, and students started trickling in around 11 am.  Students engaged with the visitors to their booth until all were called into lunch in the main room. President Herbst welcomed the crowd of more than 300 and introduced Teri Egler ’77, P’07, P’11, President of the Alumni Council. She had the pleasure of awarding the first Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Julian Farrior ’93, founder of Backflip Studios.

President Herbst then announced the winners of the Colgate Entrepreneur Fund for 2014. They are: Vern Clothing, Sapling Advisory, HUGS (Hamilton United Gift Shop), Prettier Please, and Late Date. Each venture will receive seed capital, incubator space for the summer in Hamilton, and intellectual resources from within the Colgate community.

Colgate Entrepreneur Fund winners

Colgate Entrepreneur Fund winners

Saturday culminated in Shark Tank II, where eight more teams from the TIA Student Incubator pitched their ideas to the crowd. David Fialkow ’81, P’17, co-founder of General Catalyst Partners, acted as the moderator, judge, investor, and even chief solicitor for additional investment dollars from the audience. In typical Fialkow fashion, he made things up as he went along, and though we had no idea what he would do, by the time things were over, he himself had pledged over $20,000 to the students and got audience members to commit another $20,000.  Audience members asked questions just like a real investment meeting, and all the students walked away with not just dollars, but a ton of real world experience in pitching and thinking fast on their feet.


pitchIf you are interested in supporting the entrepreneurial opportunities and experiences facilitated by the Thought Into Action Institute, please click here to make your gift. Please note “Thought Into Action Fund”  in the other designation field and note if you have a preferred venture in mind for funding. All support will be administered according to the guidelines of the fund.

Finally, an event of this magnitude could never be possible without the support and hard work of numerous departments across campus. Many, many thanks go out to a number of people and departments who all worked to put this special weekend together. From the President’s Office, to Institutional Advancement, Communications, Information Technology, Sodhexo, Buildings and Grounds – a heartfelt THANK YOU! Special thanks go to Mari Assaid and Rhea Dexter from the Special Events Office for coordinating all the different entities. The TIA team and our students are grateful for everything this incredible weekend has made possible. Recruitment is underway for the TIA Student Incubator for next year, and we’re looking forward to another exciting and successful year with our student entrepreneurs.


Picture credits go to Andy Daddio, Photographic Services Coordinator.


2014 Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund Winners

By Mary Galvez on April 18, 2014

Congratulations to the five winners of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund announced this past Saturday at Entrepreneurs 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:


HugsHUGS (Hamilton United Gift Shop)
Connecting the Hamilton business community to the global Colgate community, one “hug” at a time.
Max Stein ’17



LateDateLate Date
The best place to find the perfect date for your next event!
Katie Rydell ’14 and Amara Wilson ’14



prettier pleasePrettier Please
Professional hair and makeup services delivered to you at home.
Olivia Cranin ’07 and Rachel McLaughlin




Sapling Advisory
Like eHarmony* for financial advisors and prospective clients.
Josh Lasker ’14 and Daniel Swiecki ’14



VernVern Clothing
A socially responsible apparel brand that works with artisans in Guatemala to produce handmade fashion accessories.
Viktor Mak ’14 and Matthew Kordonowy ’14 (Washington and Lee University)


Each team was awarded a grant of $15,000 in start-up funds, incubator space for the summer in Hamilton, and intellectual resources from within the Colgate community.  The fund was created and initially funded by Dan Rosensweig P’15, ’17.

Read our archives.

Event details: Superstar panel and shark tank, April 11

By Jason Kammerdiener on April 8, 2014

Ashton KutcherWhen: Friday, April 11, 2014 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cotterell Court


Andy Kerr (football) parking lot and the Lacrosse parking lot near the hospital. Please do not park at the hospital. Handicap parking is available at Cotterell Court and the Huntington Gym with permits. See the Colgate University map.

This panel conversation on founding, funding, building, and scaling the most innovative companies in the world features some of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial experts, including:

  • Tony Bates, former CEO of Skype and executive vice president at Microsoft
  • Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb
  • Ashton Kutcher, actor, director, and A-Grade co-founder
  • Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17, CEO of Chegg

Moderated by David Faber, CNBC anchor/producer and host of Squawk on the Street.

Reservations required. Please bring your confirmation e-mail to enter.

Additional Information:

  • Doors will open at 5 p.m. There will be a bag check upon arrival
  • Please bring your confirmation e-mail to enter.
  • The use of electronics is permitted. Please refrain from flash photography or recording. Silence all electronic devices.
  • The program timeline will be 6 – 7:30 p.m. Please do not leave early unless it is an emergency.
  • For the safety of everyone, please do not attempt to approach the stage before or after the lecture. No autographs or photos with the panelists.

For more information contact the Office of Special Events for Institutional Advancement at cuspecialevents3@colgate.edu