The Challenge of Product-Market Fit: Microdyne Robotics

Microdyne Robotics was a member of the second cohort of the Penn I-Corps Accelerator Program, hosted by the Penn Center for Innovation in spring 2016. We asked the founders to reflect on the program, and how it helped their startup grow.

By Elizabeth Hunter ENG’13/GR’19, Denise Wong GR’17, and Edward Steager, Co-founders of Microdyne Robotics

Microdyne Robotics is a company founded with the broad vision of automated manipulation of objects at length scales less than 100 microns, generally smaller than the width of a hair. We’re interested in applying new discoveries and techniques that we develop in the lab to problems such as biological cell sorting, targeted drug delivery, and fine-scale force microscopy. We use arrangements of electromagnets to manipulate microfabricated, magnetic robots that are controlled using visual feedback, typically using a microscope as an interface.

Microbots schematic
Microbot schematic

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Wharton Network Helps Alumna Grow Startup

Wharton San Francisco alumna Rel Lavizzo-Mourey WG’15 launched her luxury outerwear company called Silver Lining Bespoke during her second year in the EMBA program. We recently caught up with Rel and asked her to tell us about her experiences starting a company in school and how Wharton has helped her since graduation. Here is what she said:

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Hey CEO, That’s Not Your Job Anymore

By Karthik Sridharan W’07/ENG’07, Co-Founder & CEO of Kinnek

This is a message for all you CEOs of early-stage companies.

Phase 1: High Touch

As your company goes through various phases of its lifecycle, the CEO role must also undergo some pretty dramatic changes. In the formative days of your company, it’s all hands on deck. It doesn’t matter if you’re CEO or intern, you’re getting your hands dirty with the nitty gritty. That’s unavoidable.CEO 600x450 Read more Hey CEO, That’s Not Your Job Anymore

Exit Interview: Jennifer Meller WG’16, Co-founder of Navimize

Recent Wharton Executive MBA grad Jennifer Meller took advantage of every entrepreneurial resource while she was a student, including becoming a member of our incubator, the Venture Initiation Program. Before she graduated last month, we asked her a few questions about her experience as a student entrepreneur. Here’s what she said:

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It’s About the People

By Stephen Robert Morse C’07, Co-founder of Skillbridge

I didn’t go to Wharton.

I majored in English and history—I know what you’re thinking… but at Penn, I started making films and founded a documentary film production company that focused on films that created social change. I teamed up with two friends, Jeff Levin C’07 and Jon Levy W’07 to pitch the company to the Wharton Venture Initiation Program (VIP). Somehow, we beat out a load of talented competitors and were selected for the program.

The Skillbridge team.
The Skillbridge team.

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Beer & Cookies

Current ventures by Wharton alumni range from med tech to not-so-guilty pleasures.

NOMsense

Cookie sandwich concept first baked up in Penn’s Harnwell College House in 2014, founded by Wharton senior Roopa Shankar and College seniors Alina Wong and Rachel Stewart, and now an Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Awards national finalist. Their spring menu features snickerdoodles with chocolate cookie dough filling, semisweet chocolate drizzle and crushed toffee filling, and that’s just their “classic.” You can also try the “cutie pie,” the “nut job” or the “n003” cookies in stores around the Philly area. Or order online.

Nomsense 600x450

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Challenges of Scaling a SaaS Business in India

By Nigel Lobo W’08/WG’13, Founder of Quikchex

After graduating from Wharton in 2013, I moved back to India to build Quikchex – a cloud HR Software platform focused on the Indian SMB market. At Quikchex, we help business owners and HR Managers automate their backend HR processes like payroll, leave and attendance. Typically most SMBs manage these processes extremely manually (think Excel spreadsheets), resulting in an inefficient allocation of time and resources.Saas Image 600x450 Read more Challenges of Scaling a SaaS Business in India