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Chicory, founded by Joey Petracca ’13 and Yuni Sameshima ’13 featured in Wired

By Mary Galvez on October 6, 2014
The Chicory team, from left: Joey Petracca, COO; Yuni Sameshima, CEO; Adam Donahue, CTO Chicory

The Chicory team, from left: Joey Petracca, COO; Yuni Sameshima, CEO; Adam Donahue, CTO Chicory

Joey Petracca ’13 and Yuni Sameshima ’13 continue to make strides with the venture they began in the Thought Into Action Student Incubator. Their startup, Chicory, is a site that connects recipe-hunting consumers to on-line grocers. They recently graduated from NYC’s premiere business accelerator program Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, where they worked with a number of experienced mentors whose advice led them to pivot and make some changes to their original vision for the company.  On Tuesday September 30th, Yuni presented Chicory in front of over 850 investors from NYC and all over the world. At the pitch Chicory announced major partnerships with Time Inc and the Daily Meal to get over chicory65 million impressions a month on their technology. Both myrecipes.com and thedailymeal.com are installing Chicory’s “get ingredients” button and testing out Chicory’s technology that links recipe content to online grocers. Read the full article in Wired.


Read more about Chicory and the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute


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Viktor Mak Strives to Make Real Changes Abroad

By Contributing Writer on September 12, 2014

With his new company, Vern Clothing, Viktor Mak ‘15 builds for stability in the Guatemalan highlands

Viktor Mak '15

Viktor Mak ’15

In 2013, Viktor spent the summer in the highlands of Guatemala and fell in love. He fell in love with the incredible Santiaguito and Santa Maria volcanoes, the colorful open-air markets, the picturesque Lake Atitlan, and the vibrant culture. But most of all, he fell in love with weaving – the handmade textiles, the backstrap loom, and the story each piece told.

But among the beauty, Viktor also became acutely aware of the harsh realities and challenges of Guatemalan life. These weavers were hard workers, putting in countless hours at their trade; but even so, they still face extreme economic uncertainty, discrimination, and underdevelopment.

That’s why Viktor decided to found Vern Clothing, a socially responsible apparel company that partners with Guatemalan weaving cooperatives to provide fair wages and economic stability in their communities.

“We were touched by the story of the Mayan weavers. After the Guatemalan civil war took the lives of many indigenous men, the women turned to weaving beautiful and elaborate textiles to support their families. Our mission is to share their talents with shoppers in America while providing opportunities for indigenous weavers,” said Viktor.

This July, the apparel startup caught the attention of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund. The venture capital fund awarded Viktor a $15,000 grant and summer office space in Hamilton to grow his company. With the support of the CE Fund, Vern made huge strides in marketing strategy and production.

But more than just growing the company, Vern founders were careful that the money circled back to what was really important: the people in Guatemala.

“When we got the grant, we were excited to make some huge leaps in the functioning and scope of Vern, but what was most important was how we could grow that money to send even more back to our communities. Thanks to the push we got from Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund we are not only economically empowering our workers, but also directly investing in two community projects, the Clean Stove Building Project and the Education Fund,” said Viktor.vern

This July, Vern was spurred to action by the border crisis – thousands of child refugees from Latin American countries fleeing violence at the U.S. border. The company held an official launch, but also paired it with a fundraiser and sale in hopes of sending even more back to Guatemala, the country of origin for over a third of the children.

“That day was probably the craziest we have had. But when we closed up shop that night and were going over numbers, I remember having my jaw drop when I realized that, on top of all of the money we were sending back to the workers, we were also going to be able to send 5 kids to school through the Education Fund,” Viktor commented. “So much work still needs to be done, and we are heartbroken by the current immigration crisis, but with our partnerships and contributions we hope to provide Guatemalans with economic and educational opportunities, which will hopefully incentivize them to stay,” he added.

Vern sells their apparel downtown at 20 Utica Street and online at http://www.vernclothing.com.

Viktor Mak ’15 is a student of Global Studies and Philosophy at Colgate.  He started Vern last year in the TIA Student Incubator with his business partner and high school friend, Matthew Kordonowy, a student at Washington and Lee University. In addition to TIA, Viktor is involved with  SGA, Konosioni, the Benton Scholars, and the Open Society. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, learning, and leaving a place just a little better than he found it.

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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

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.

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Entrepreneurs of New York Fund Award Winners – 2013

By Mary Galvez on April 6, 2013

The Entrepreneurs of New York (ENY) Fund was established to grow and advance the ventures of Colgate student and alumni entrepreneurs who are solving big problems and demonstrating an ability to execute. For the inaugural year there were 36 final applications – 24 from alumni and 12 from students, 10 of which were Thought Into Action students. Nine extremely successful alumni and/or parent entrepreneurs acted as judges and narrowed the applications down to a “top 10″ list, from which six final ventures were selected. The winners – four alumni and two student ventures – were announced during Entrepreneurs Weekend on April 6. Each team was awarded a grant of $15,000 in start-up funds and committed to working in Hamilton for six weeks from May 20 through June 28 on their businesses. The winners are:

GateSwapGateSwap
A safe, social, and sustainable way to exchange goods and services on college campuses.
Rob Carroll ’15 and Gabe Zetter ’15. Still full-time Colgate students, Zetter and Carroll attend the TIA program where alumni mentors are helping to shape Gateswap’s future.

 

Good_Nature03759fGood Nature Brewing
Handcrafted, all natural ales brewed with local ingredients.
Carrie Blackmore ’08 and her husband Matt Whalen opened a new storefront in the village of Hamilton.

 

protoexchangeProtoExchange
Proto Exchange aims to connect 3-D modelers and owners of 3-D printers to people who need finished 3-D products.
James Placa ’07 and his brother Jonathan think 3-D printing has arrived.

 

RealAbroadff999a

Real Abroad
The world’s first student-only travel website.
Jack Henley ’12, a graduate of the TIA program.

 

 

RIR

Recipe Into Reality
From recipe discovery to ingredient delivery, RIR connects the popular content of recipe websites and blogs with the online grocery.
Yuni Sameshima ’13 and Joey Petracca ’13 stayed in Hamilton after graduation to launch Recipe Into Reality.

 

Shindig

Shindig
A fun, free way to discover new beers, wines and spirits.
Harry Raymond ’11. ENY has helped propel his iPhone app, Shindig-Drink Explorers Club, onto a list of top 300 food and drink apps on the iTunes store.

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