Posts Tagged entrepreneurs

Tufts Study Aids to the Rescue!

Finals are without a doubt the most stressful time of the year on the Hill. With papers, exams, and the frigid weather, what’s a Jumbo to do!? Thankfully Mark Samaan and Spencer Schoeben, both A16, have the answer for stressed out Jumbos in need of supplies.

Samaan began the initiative after realizing he had few exams but would be around until the last day of finals. In order to make the most of his time, he came up with Tufts Study Aids, a cash-only delivery service that proves Jumbos with study essentials: from pens and paper to easy mac. He enlisted his roommate, Schoeben, to bring his idea to life on the Internet while Samaan handles the deliveries. Check out their entrepreneurial efforts here!

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GetchaBooks–Everywhere!

Every Jumbo on the hill since spring 2010 knows and raves about GetchaBooks, a free service created by Jumbos that searches for the books you need for a semester and compares prices to help you purchase the most cost-effective option, all based on your classes! Since its inception that spring, the site has been a runaway hit, earning them recognition in Inc.com and TechCrunch. A year after their success on the hill, GetchaBooks made their way onto more than 1,200 other campuses.

Two years since the fateful launch of the site, two members of the GetchaBooks founding team, Michael White and Ricky Mondello, both A12, graduated from Tufts and moved on to bigger projects that unfortunately leave little time for expanding the site. But fear not, current Jumbos! GetchaBooks will still be around for the Fall 2012 semester and may continue to expand to schools near and far. Mondello and White, along with co-founder and Bard graduate Michael Walker, have chosen to release their code for GetchaBooks so anyone with a knack for coding and love for saving money on textbooks can bring the site to their school. In their own words,

“We want you to take our code and build your own take on GetchaBooks, specifically for your school or region, to help even more students save money. As a bonus, you can make money for yourself through online bookstore affiliate programs, or you can donate the money to charity.

[...] Have fun!”

With their generous action, we’re sure students everywhere will save on textbooks! For more on GetchaBooks, check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

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For Your Entrepreneurial Needs

If you’re ever in need of a fun entrepreneurial perspective with a Jumbo spin or an alumni role model, look no further: Tufts Entrepreneurs Society has just launched their first blog! The blog delivers a mix of information from articles to media from their meetings and activities. In their latest post, they honor the Tufts band Timeflies, while comparing the band to a start-up:

Music has always been an entrepreneurial experience. Musicians start with nothing, no sound, no template and create elaborate tones and melodies. Many bands and groups have come from Tufts but one of the latest we’d like to feature, on Startup Beats, is Timeflies. At Tufts Cal Shapiro and Rob Resnick started a group called Timeflies. Before and while at Tufts both Cal and Rob (Rez) worked with many bands and technology making music. Rob was Music and Philosophy major and Cal a Music major with a minor in Entrepreneurship. In addition to talent, bootstrapping and a unique branding tool lead to viral adoption of Timeflies.

You can also find Tufts Entrepreneurs Society on Twitter and Facebook.

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Two Tufts Teams are Up to the MassChallenge

The 125 teams in the MassChallenge startup competition have been winnowed to 26, and two teams with Tufts ties are among the finalists vying for $1 million in funding.

  • Sanergy – winners of the social entrepreneurship competition at this year’s $100K Business Plan Competition. Team includes: Gaurav Tiwari, F12, along with Lindsay Stradley, David Auerbach and Ani Vallabhaneni. Sanergy aims to manufacture low-cost, high-quality, water-free toilets to reduce sanitation-related diseases in Kenya’s slums. The waste will be collected and converted into biogas and organic fertilizer. Sanergy has already launched the pilot phase of their enterprise.
  • Pintley – Founded by Tim Noetzel, A08. Gives personalized beer recommendations.

MassChallenge is part of the White House’s Startup America Partnership, a government initiative to promote innovation entrepreneurship. Judges will name between 10 and 20 winners at a ceremony on Oct. 24.

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Empowered Stories

The Empowered Program for Social Entrepreneurship, part of the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership, provides students with the necessary tools to become social entrepreneurs. Students accepted into the program become Empowered Fellows and embark on adventures around the world that we can exprience via their Fellow Blog.

One such story is that of Anne Wolfe, A13, who spent her summer interning for Fundacion Paraguaya in their micro-finance division:

At the gas station SeñoraVirginiapointed out where I should wait and told me which bus I needed to take to get back home. She then asked me when I was planning on coming back toParaguay, to which I gave my typical response: “I’d love to someday but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to.” She offered me her number and told me to call her when I came back, that I was welcome to stay with her whenever I wanted, and asked for my number in return. “Sé que soy pobre, pero tengo una corazón grande.” (I know that I am poor, but I have a big heart). This simple statement nearly brought me to tears. After less than fifteen minutes of talking with this woman she had offered to share everything she had with me, a stranger, an extranjera. She is a perfect example of the Paraguayan culture, a culture which encourages sharing in all of its traditions, a culture in which poverty does not impede generosity.

Sitting around the dinner table in the casa de pasantes (the intern’s house) last night I was reminded again of Señora Virginia. We began to discuss the idea of poverty: how it’s defined and who has the liberty to define it. Is it simply a number or is there something more? Many of the women with whom Fundación Paraguaya works don’t consider themselves poor even though they are far below the “poverty line.” The way they see it, if they have enough food, there isn’t much to worry about.

Be sure to check out the rest of the fellows’ stories on their blog. They can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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Seth Godin on Smart People Podcast

Seth Godin (E82) was featured on Smart People Podcast last week. Godin, a world-renowned expert on marketing and entrepreneurship, has published thirteen best-selling books. In addition he founded companies such as Yoyodyne, an internet based direct marketing site, and Squidoo, a community website based on user-created, interest-specific pages.

Smart People Podcast was created at the end of 2010 with the purpose of interviewing savvy, experienced individuals on topics as broad as sports, philosophy, economics and everything in between.  In the interview Godin discusses his 2010 book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? among other topics.

Seth Godin also writes a widely read and prolific blog. In a recent post on creativity, he writes:

It’s not enough to be aware of the domain you’re working in, you need to understand it. Noticing things and being curious about how they work is the single most common trait I see in creative people. Once you can break the components down, you can put them back together into something brand new.

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Seven Tufts Teams Among MassChallenge Nominees

The Boston-based MassChallenge startup competition announced 125 finalists on May 25, including five six seven companies comprised of Tufts students or alums:

  • Roof for Two – winners of this year’s $100K Business Plan Competition. Team includes: Karan Randhawa, A11, Andrew Altman, A11, Max Pinto, A11, David Chen, A11 and Justin Ferranti A12. A shield combining windshield and roof protection for motorcycles in Southeast Asia to be used during rainy season.
  • Educate Lanka – 3rd place in this year’s $100K Business Plan Competition, social track. Team includes: Fletcher students Manjula Dissanayake, F12, and Sadruddin Salman. Provides financial scholarships to underprivileged students in Sri Lanka.
  • Jump Off Campus – 3rd place winner in last year’s $100K Business Plan Competition, classic track; previously called “Ditch the Dorm”. Team is Cal Shapiro, A11, and Mark Abramowicz, A10. A website devoted to apartment listings for landlords looking to rent their properties and students looking to live off campus.
  • Sanergy – winners of the social entrepreneurship competition at this year’s $100K Business Plan Competition. Team includes: Gaurav Tiwari F12 along with Lindsay Stradley, David Auerbach and Ani Vallabhaneni. Sanergy aims to manufacture low-cost, high-quality, water-free toilets to reduce sanitation-related diseases in Kenya’s slums. The waste will be collected and converted into biogas and organic fertilizer. Sanergy has already launched the pilot phase of their enterprise.
  • Pintley – Founded by Tim Noetzel, A08. Gives personalized beer recommendations. (Check out this recent coverage of Pintley on TechCrunch.)
  • Swellr – Founded by Andrew Varley, E06. A socially conscious e-commerce marketplace that empowers citizens to fund education projects by shopping locally.
  • 1minute40seconds – Founded by Blade Kotelly, E95. The service bills itself as “the easiest way to create video content on the web.”

MassChallenge is part of the White House’s Startup America Partnership, a government initiative to promote innovation entrepreneurship. The competition, now in its second year, received 733 entries from 24 countries and 34 states, according to a statement

“The finalist companies will reside at MassChallenge’s 22,000-square-foot space at Fan Pier [rent-free] for the accelerator program from June 27 until the final ceremony on October 20,” according to the statement.

EDIT - Added 1minute40seconds and Sanergy to the list, making it seven Tufts teams instead of five. Sorry for the oversight!

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