Never do a live demo! – We did.

Neuroflow cofounders Chris Molaro WG'17 and Adam Pardes GR'19, shortly before their pitch at SXSW.
Neuroflow cofounders Chris Molaro WG’17 and Adam Pardes GR’19, shortly before their pitch at SXSW.

By Christopher Molaro WG’17, Founder of NeuroFlow

Bill Gates famously crashed Windows 98 in a live demo.  In fact, there are numerous examples of such failures—no one is safe from a live demo disaster!  There is just so much that can go wrong that is out of your control, and if Murphy has anything to say about, he will make sure that if something can go wrong, it surely will.

The other week, the NeuroFlow team was headed to Austin, TX as we were accepted into the pitch competition at the SXSW Interactive Conference.  Two weeks before our trek to Texas, we were finalizing the specifics of the pitch—a pitch we have done for the last 10 months, probably hundreds of times, and were merely polishing.

Read more Never do a live demo! – We did.

A Student Founded Accelerator

By Calista Dominy C’20, Co-founder of Pre-Med 

Calista Dominy presenting at YouthHack
Calista Dominy presenting at YouthHack

Being part of the YouthHack Ventures Accelerator, founded by David Ongchoco C’18, has been a beyond rewarding experience. As a team of two freshman entrepreneurs starting a patient education app company, my co-founder, Eash Aggarwal C’18, and I have found it immensely helpful to have a network around us to support and help us through the ups and downs of growing a business.

Read more A Student Founded Accelerator

How To Be A Lean Retail Entrepreneur

By Daniel Meurer WG’17, Founder of Laguna Beach Towel Company

Today, retail entrepreneurs have a major opportunity to build lean, profitable businesses and capture share from large retailers.

Changes in distribution, advertising and freelance outsourcing accessibility have created the opportunity for entrepreneurs to offer equivalent value at lower prices. Smaller, newer, and nimbler companies can organically build brands and narratives that resonate with consumers and can do this using low cost, but high impact, advertising channels. This has pressured margins across the industry, but has simultaneously offered creative entrepreneurs the opportunity to create successful retail businesses.

Legacy retail companies can ride this trend by aligning themselves through partnerships, investments, or acquisition with smaller, upstart consumer brands. Retailers can also gain through association with smaller, more narrative focused brands and leverage brick and mortar stores, and established brand equity to play a greater role in curation, aggregation and distribution.


Read more How To Be A Lean Retail Entrepreneur

5 Lessons From Founders’ Retreat

By Renata Arauz-DeStefano WG’17, Founder of Mwayi

Founders' Retreat - Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship
Founders’ Retreat participants.

A couple of weekends ago, I, along with 26 other founders or founders-to-be, drove off into the woods of Maryland for a 3-day retreat organized by Penn’s student-run Founders’ Club.

The retreat was an aspiring entrepreneur’s petri dish—from long, meditative walks along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to board games designed to spark innovation, we were surrounded by the great ideas of others or the opportunity to discover our own.

Read more 5 Lessons From Founders’ Retreat

2017 Y-Prize Winner VisiPlate Offers Innovative Glaucoma Solution

Y Prize Winners VisiPlate
Team VisiPlate: Brandon Kao EAS’18, Rui Jing Jiang W’18, and Adarsh Battu W’18

In front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Singh Center’s Glandt Forum this week, four teams made their pitches for how to turn technology developed by Penn Engineers into the next big thing.

Each year, Engineering, Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton Entrepreneurship and the Penn Center for Innovation come together for an invention competition known as the Y-Prize. Unlike the XPRIZE, where competitors come up with novel technologies to solve a particular problem, the Y-Prize starts with the technologies and challenges entrants to find commercial applications that they are particularly suited for.

At stake: $10,000 to help get the winning idea out of the lab and into the market.

Read more 2017 Y-Prize Winner VisiPlate Offers Innovative Glaucoma Solution

New Year’s Resolution: Found Your Company

By Daniel Meurer WG’17, Founder of Laguna Beach Towel Company

Laguna Beach Towels
Laguna Beach Towels

In 2015, a few weeks before starting my MBA at Wharton, I launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, Laguna Beach Towel Company, an outdoor textile brand. The seed was planted a few months earlier, when a good friend from college told me about some people he knew who were selling a variety of products online and generating millions in revenue. What was incredible about these companies is that they only had one employee: the founder. Read more New Year’s Resolution: Found Your Company

Building a Changemaker: Notes from the Germination Project

By Stephanie Kim MPA’16

  • A reverse vending machine that provides transit credits in exchange for recyclable goods.
  • An immersive, cross-cultural exchange and language learning program that doesn’t require a passport.
  • A grassroots anti-smoking movement to improve the health, environment, and brand of a city.
  • A network of rooftop gardens connecting corporations with communities.

These are four ideas that were pitched to a panel of judges not by experienced social entrepreneurs, but by teams of Philadelphia-area high school students. These students—relative strangers to each other—had 45 minutes to come up with their vision, and just five hours to turn it into a cogent, shark-tank pitch for grown-ups.

And, the real kicker: they couldn’t use the internet.

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship blog Social Impact
Read more Building a Changemaker: Notes from the Germination Project