More than 400 Drexel University faculty, staff, students and alumni joined local entrepreneurs at Startup Day—hosted by Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship—on Nov. 11. Student entrepreneurs — finalists in the University’s business plan competition — competed for cash prizes and in-kind services to turn their plans into ventures.
The first place winner — Oratio — received $12,500; the second place — AnneeLondon — received $7,500; and the third place winner — Boost Linguistics — won $5,000. Startup Day also provided attendees with the opportunity to network with local entrepreneurs.
“Drexel Startup Day 2016 was a showcase of entrepreneurship across Drexel and in all of its forms,” said Chuck Sacco, assistant dean of Strategic Initiatives at the Close School and director of the Laurence A. Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship. “Attendees heard stories of how entrepreneurs got started, how they overcame early challenges and how they are moving ahead. They saw how six early stage ventures are working to make their mark and got to spend one-on-one time with entrepreneurs and innovators from across the University.”
A closer look at the winning startups:
Oratio, founded by Drexel engineering student Danish Dhamani, is an easy to use, on-demand speech and video AI that provides you with targeted insights on speech and its delivery. The enterprise software—for the life science industry—can help sales reps close more business by leveraging machine learning algorithms to automatically evaluate a sales pitch on parameters such as content, confidence, clarity, tone and energy.
AnneeLondon, founded by business student Rachel Benyola, is a lifestyle brand that provides style-conscious safety gear and accessories to address the most common complaints of cyclists across the globe. The company’s debut product is the London helmet that folds down to 30 percent of its original size for quick and easy storage.
Boost Linguistics was founded by business student Ethan Bresnahan to improve the way businesses write marketing material. It uses writing enhancement software that reviews a piece of content and suggests changes that will raise its overall impact on a customer.
The Close School is the nation’s first freestanding school of entrepreneurship to offer degrees. Drexel students can benefit from several Close School programs, including an Entrepreneurship Living-Learning Community, where like-minded students live in a residential environment dedicated to entrepreneurship programming; Entrepreneurial Co-ops, offering mentoring and financial support to students who spend a co-op period (six months) working in their own business; and a “Launch It!” course that provides students with guidance and seed money to “de-risk” their own business model. Through the School’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp course any Drexel student can learn how to be entrepreneurial through innovative thinking and doing.