2017-2018: OUR YEAR IN REVIEW

The 2017-2018 academic year was another stellar one for Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship across our many innovation and entrepreneurship programs.  Furthermore, I am also thrilled to announce a gift of $25M from Nicolai Tangen (W’92) and AKO Foundation to support construction of Tangen Hall, home to Venture Lab. For more on this exciting new project, see below.

 

Karl Ulrich, Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship helps Penn students interested in entrepreneurship & innovation find their unique path and career, whether they’re ready to:

EXPLORE THE WORLD OF STARTUPS

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TANGEN HALL AND VENTURE LAB

This year, we set out to accomplish one of the largest undertakings in advancing entrepreneurship and innovation at Penn. The result is Tangen Hall, and within it, Venture Lab. A 70,000 square foot facility that will anchor the west end of the campus, Tangen Hall marks a new chapter for the entrepreneurial community at Penn and in Philadelphia, providing a central hub for groundbreaking innovation. The massive physical space lends itself to many opportunities, bringing together the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators to collaborate and cultivate talent.

Tangen Hall is possible through a $25M gift from Nicolai Tangen, WG’92, and the AKO Foundation.

Read the press release here.

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LAUNCHPAD

On November 15, 2016, we launched our podcast, Launch Pad from Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Karl Ulrich and Rob Coneybeer WG’96, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Shasta Ventures, each weekly show features interviews with successful entrepreneurs. Subscribe or listen on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Google Play.

Two years and 34,000 streams later, Launch Pad continues to grow its audience with powerful interviews and insightful commentary from some of the best entrepreneurs in the world.

In addition, once a month, Karl picks the Elevator Pitch of the Month, featured on Forbes, highlighting the best of the podcast. The series began in October 2016, and so far, these articles have had 43,640 reads.

Read some of Karl’s recent Forbes pieces:

Cozmo Brings AI To The Living Room
Cut Loose The Corkscrew with Coravin

DEVELOP A VENTURE

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PENN WHARTON INNOVATION FUND

This year saw some modifications to the Penn Wharton Innovation Fund which now includes three different award levels based upon venture implementation phase.  The Validation Phase Award ($250), the Implementation Phase Award ($1000) and the Launch Phase Award ($5000) support student entrepreneurs in their venture development.

BY THE NUMBERS

72 companies were awarded funding through the Penn Wharton Innovation Fund
A total of $120,000 was awarded to all the companies
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VIP-C

The Venture Initiation Program (VIP) is our incubator for student startups. VIP-Community (VIP-C) offers the community, support, and resources you need to develop your venture, right here on the Penn campus. VIP-C currently has a rolling admission policy, meaning students can apply at any time.

BY THE NUMBERS

90 members companies 43% founded by women 35% undergraduate/65% graduate students
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EXPERTS IN RESIDENCE

Our Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program includes Experts in Residence, now in its 3rd year, who offer practical advice and assistance with building a company. As part of the program, Start Here Mondays helps students navigate their unique entrepreneurial pathways in conversation with one of our expert staff members.

QUICK INFORMATION

Start Here Mondays – 187 student appointments
Entrepreneurial alumni met with 162 students
Student experts in tech, business and design met with 169 students
Legal experts met with 81 students
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Y-PRIZE

 

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship, the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Penn Center for Innovation co-sponsored the Y-Prize, a contest in which members of the Penn community compete to propose the best applications for an emerging technology.

The 2017-2018 Y-Prize winner, Cellview Sciences, was founded by Henry Zhou, C’18; Ellen Naruse, W’18; and Michael Lee, W’18

LAUNCH YOUR STARTUP

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STARTUP CHALLENGE

In 2016-2017 we transformed the Business Plan Competition into the Startup Challenge. In its 20th year, new guidelines allowed for a greater depth of quality participants and teams. We also saw an increase in the number of female-founded ventures.

The 2018 Startup Challenge winners are:

  1. Perlman Grand Prize: $30,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, & strategy services to Sanguis
  2. Second Prize: $15,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, & strategy services to MD Ally
  3. Third Prize: $10,000 + $15,000 in legal, accounting, & strategy services to Avisi Technologies
  4. Frederick H. Gloeckner Award for Best Undergraduate Team: $10,000 to Avisi Technologies
  5. Social Impact Prize: $10,000 to Strella Biotechnology
  6. Innovation Award: $10,000 to MD Ally
  7. Michelson People’s Choice Award: $3,000 to Strella Biotechnology
  8. Crowd Favorite Award: $2,000 to Strella Biotechnology
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STARTUP SHOWCASE

Last April, we held our 2nd Annual Startup Showcase, including the semifinalists and finalists of the Startup Challenge. We could not have held such an amazing entrepreneurial celebration without the many staff volunteers from across Wharton!

During the morning, the 27 semifinalist teams pitched in closed room sessions to panels of alumni, who then chose the Eight Finalists. Those finalists pitched live that afternoon. Watch the recap video below.

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VIP-X

VIP-Xcelerate is the next step of the venture journey for VIP-C students. The program is an intense, 3-month accelerator program for the most dedicated student entrepreneurs and the most advanced startups. Admission into VIP-X is by invitation only.

SPRING 2018 VIP-X COHORT
VENTURE FOUNDER YEAR
Collecto Federika Longinotti-Buitoni WG’18
InstaHub Michael Wong W’18
InstaHub Dayo Adewole ENG’15, GEN’15, GR’21
InstaHub Matthew Hana ENG’18
Steignet A.J. Steigman WG’18
Aavrani Justin Silver WG’19
Aavrani Rooshy Roychoudhury WG’19
ZEV Gabriel Elsner WG’18
ZEV Eddie Kong GEN’18
SUMMER 2018 VIP-X COHORT
VENTURE FOUNDER YEAR
PHRASE Health Mike Zeidlhack WG’19
PHRASE Health Marc Tobias MD, PennMed
Strella Biotechnology Katherine Sizov C’19
Strella Biotechnology Sanjula Weerawardhena WG’18
MD Ally Shanel Fields WG’19
Clove Joe Ammon WG’19
Sigo Insurance Nestor Solari G’19, WG’19
Sigo Insurance Julio Erdos C’10, ENG’10, G’19, WG’19
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VIP-SF

Last summer, we opened up VIP-SF to all Penn and Wharton alumni. Now, in its second year, VIP-SF has succeeded in attracting more entrepreneurs looking to launch their ventures.

FALL 2017 VIP-SF COHORT
VENTURE DESCRIPTION FOUNDER YEAR
Bear Flag Robotics Affordably retrofit existing tractors with cutting-edge driverless technology. Ingino Cafiero WG’17
Close Loop Knowledge Management for Sales teams. Cory Bray W’06
Hostfully Helps vacation rentals curate content and create 5-star experiences. David Jacoby WG’01
Kinima.fit An AI-based virtual fitness trainer that uses a 3D camera. Daniel Judd ENG’14,W’14
LadyMarry Event planning simplified. Joanne Jiang WG’13
Novi Bank The world’s first smart checking account. Philip Cortes WG’11
Pivot Health Company Digital hiring platform for diverse healthcare candidates. Anthony Campos WG’16
Sitter Friends Book babysitters, nannies, and after-school care providers instantly Fahad Jalal WG’12
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ANGEL DAY

The 2nd Angel Day was held May 31, 2018 at Wharton San Francisco, where we hosted Wharton Alumni Angels of Silicon Valley for a pitching event and reception:

BY THE NUMBERS

60 angels and alumni in attendance at the pitch event
142 alumni attended the reception event
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SUMMER VENTURE AWARD

The Summer Venture Award provides funding during the summer months for students to work on their ventures.

SUMMER VENTURE RECIPIENTS
VENTURE FOUNDER YEAR
Clove Joe Ammon WG’19
MD Ally Shanel Fields WG’19
Presto Duncan McCrae W’19
rePurpose Aditya Siroya C’19, W’19
Strella Biotechnology Katherine Sizov C’19

SCALE YOUR COMPANY

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SCALE SCHOOL

In partnership with Wharton Lifelong Learning, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship launched Scale School in March 2016. The workshop series, hosted at Wharton San Francisco, features expert Wharton faculty, alumni entrepreneurs, and Bay Area industry executives who share their insights about how to address common challenges. 

Watch the recap videos below.

SCALE SCHOOL PROGRAMS

  • Growth through Acquistions (January 11, 2018)
  • Scaling Ventures: Linking Strategy and Exercise (September 28, 2017)
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ENTREPRENEURSHIP ALUMNI DINNER IN BEIJING

Our 3rd Annual Entrepreneurship Alumni Dinner, held on March 1, 2018, in Beijing honored Robert Zou, WG’94, Chairman and CEO of Arrail Group, Ltd., with the Penn Wharton China Entrepreneurship Award. The event kicked off with a fantastic panel on “The Globalization of China’s Tech Companies.”

View our interactive slideshow here.