Startup Challenge Semifinalist: NeuroFlow

neuro flow logo
Neuroflow Team Picture - cropped

Team Leader:
Chris Molaro, WG’17

Team Members:
Adam Pardes, Gr’19
Sam DeLuccia, GEN’17
Jenny Wang, GNu’17
Taylor Concannon, ENG’17/GEN’18
Matt Roll

elevator pitch: NeuroFlow is changing the way we see brain health. We developed a digital health solution that uses real-time biometric data to measure stress for optimal mental health and enhanced performance applications.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
Chris Molaro, NeuroFlow’s co-founder and CEO, was a Captain in the US Army and deployed overseas, witnessing with his Soldiers and fellow Veterans the extreme ineffectiveness of the mental health system. With the advent and progress of innovative technologies that are mobile and non-invasive, for the first time ever we are have access to data that otherwise would not be available. NeuroFlow is leveraging that change in the market and these new technologies to analyze this exciting data.

How will your venture change the world?
Mental health and the way we understand our brain and mind is ambiguous to say the least. The standard of care is patient self-reporting and pure subjective measures. We have no clear, consistent way of understanding our brains. With NeuroFlow’s real-time data analysis tool, we can draw patterns, incorporate AI and machine learning in understanding how our minds really work and react to various stimuli – we are truly changing the way we see brain health.

Fun Facts:

  • Christopher Molaro – met his wife 17 years ago when they were 12
  • Adam Pardes – was on the high school varsity bowling team
  • Sam DeLuccia – first concert ever was Britney Spears
  • Jenny Wang – won a silver medal on the National Mythology Exam
  • Taylor Concannon – contributing writer for Rock On Philly
  • Matt Roll – ambidextrous tennis player

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach logo
Laguna Beach - Danny Meurer

Team Leader:
Danny Meurer, WG’17

elevator pitch: Laguna Beach: Outdoor textile brand bringing timeless, classic, California style to consumers at a reasonable price. Lean company that has sold 15,000 units over the past twelve months with only one employee and marketing spend of less than $2,000.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
I saw the opportunity and relative ease of starting a direct-to-consumer business and from my time working as a cabana boy and growing up in Los Angeles believed towels and other textiles were an unmet product of need.

How will your venture change the world?
We bring consumers higher quality, better looking towels and other textiles at affordable prices, while putting a portion of our profits to work for the community.

Fun Fact: Hiked to Everest Base Camp before starting business school.


Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: FounderNest

FounderNest
FounderNest - Miguel Gonzalez

Team Leader:
Miguel Gonzalez, G’17/WG’17

Team Members:
Felix Gonzalez
Javier Garcia
Manuel Botija

elevator pitch: FounderNest is an online matchmaking platform that helps founders overcome their challenges. First, by helping them identify th eir most pressing needs. And second, by connecting them with the right experts in a timely manner.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
The two cofounders, Miguel and Felix, have been working on different ventures for the past six years . Throughout this time , we have experienced the struggle of finding expert advice for our ventures and we actually had to close off two of them as we were unable to find expert help to overcome our challenges. Through FounderNest, we are tackling this problematic while helping our peer founders grow their ventures and succeed.

Fun Facts:

  • Miguel’s fun fact: He is extremely good at impersonating other people’s voices!
  • Felix’s fun fact: He is one of those rare species that can proudly say to have never drunk a glass containing any type of liquor or wine.
  • Javier’s fun fact: He doesn’t know why but when it comes to describing an extreme picture or situation, he unconsciously selects the word that describes exactly the opposite. For example, if he goes to the beach and it’s really hot, he would say “Oh my god, this is really cold!”
  • Manuel’s fan fact: He works on Saturdays because he just loves it!

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: IYALI

ILAYI logo
IYALI team photo

Team Leader:
Olatomide (Tomide) Awe, WG’17
Team Members:
Loujeine Boutar, W’19
Sonali Dane, C’19

elevator pitch: IYALI is a lifestyle brand that creates high-quality african-inspired handbags made by local artisans for individuals around the globe. A portion of our profits addresses the root of poverty in West Africa by supporting education of girls in the region.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
The idea for IYALI began to form when I returned to Nigeria after my studies in the UK. Following the number of weddings I attended, I became more aware of the beauty of my culture, as well as our tribal fabrics used during weddings. I became intrigued by what could be done with our traditional wear, other than wearing them the way they were intended to be worn. With this idea on the fringes of my mind, I came to business school and developed an interest in the plight that the girl child faced not only in the western world but also in Africa and other parts of the world. Being a citizen of Nigeria, a country in West Africa, it became a mission of mine to use my available skills to alleviate the situation and a combination of these ideas gave birth to IYALI.

How will your venture change the world?
IYALI will change West Africa first, and then the world by keeping the issue of girls education at the forefront of our minds as consumers. We will also put our money where our mouth is by actively keeping girls in school with a portion of our profits. When 10% more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3% and we hope to advocate for this change in the region.

Fun Facts:

  • Tomide: I’m a certified sailor.
  • Loujeine: I volunteered at the Miami Open as a staffing member (and saw Nadal!).
  • Sonali: I love criminology: any irrational behavior like crime & terrorism is super fascinating to me.

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: HopJob

HopJob high resolusion final
HopJob - Team Pic

Team Leader:
Vaibhav Khamesra, WG’18
Team Members:
Gabriel Cantu, WG’18
Feym Fliegner, WG’18

elevator pitch: HopJob is a service platform that matches untapped part-time labor supply with peak workforce demand in real-time. For employers, HopJob comes with an access to thousands of verified part-time worker profiles that match the skills and experience expectations and enables instant cost-effective fulfillment of short-term needs.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
HopJob was inspired by consulting projects our Founder and CEO did with a focus in labor force optimization. After countless analysis on KPIs and benchmarks, the optimal staffing would be defined to two decimal places, and then typically, the client would round it down since there is no such thing as 0.22 of a store employee. The result was dozens of needed employees left without a job.

How will your venture change the world?
As the underemployment rate in the US labor market increases, HopJob will provide flexible employment opportunities to part-time and underemployed full-time workers looking for additional income and enabling a more secure and financially stable future. Unlike other gig-economy solutions that groom cab drivers or other undifferentiated roles, we believe in nurturing and developing a skilled workforce that is a differentiated asset and is able to earn a much higher wage compared to their previous avatars. HopJob is particularly unique in its approach to provide Hoppers with opportunities to develop their professional experience in pursuit of full-time employment in the future. Our platform will also expand the US workforce to groups that have traditionally had difficulty finding employment – semi-skilled workers, young mothers, vets and legal immigrants to name a few.

Fun Facts:

  • Apart from HopJob, our founder “Feym” has a successful part-time fashion modeling career, and he hopes that one day he will find his routine short-term assignments via HopJob.
  • Before joining the team, co-founder “Vaibhav” spent six years in leadership roles with two successful tech startups and is a specialist in scaling growth stage businesses.

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: Harper Wilde

HarperWilde_logo
Harper Wilde team photo

Team Leader:
Jenna Kerner, WG’17
Team Member:
Jane Fisher, WG’17

elevator pitch: Harper Wilde champions the modern definition of sexy: witty, confident, ambitious. We are revolutionizing the bra shopping experience to one that enables her busy life, rather than one that obstructs it.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
The idea came about very organically from a simple question: “Why are bras so expensive?” We both had recently endured one of those all-consuming bra shopping trips – spending countless hours sorting through hundreds of over-priced options – and immediately bonded over our horrendous experiences. We knew something had to change, and thus began our quest to answer just that question. What could possibly make these bras so damn expensive?

How will your venture change the world?
We are changing the conversation in the bra industry to empower women and make their busy lives easier. To start, we are providing everyday bras at a fair price through a humorous brand. Additionally, we’re donating a portion of our revenues to help put young girls through school, further building on our mission to support and empower women. Together we can lift your ladies AND the next generation

Fun Facts: Jenna & Jane play on the same ice hockey team, despite neither knowing how to play ice hockey or how to skate


Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: Group K Diagnostics

Group K logo
GroupK team photo

Team Leader:
Brianna Wronko, ENG’17

Team Members:
Ghassan Kara, WG’18
Amelia Keaton, GR’17

Eric Tepper, C’17, GEN’18
Dayita Sharma, ENG’20

elevator pitch: Group K Diagnostics strives to revolutionize healthcare through innovative point of care (POC) diagnostics. Our MultiDiagnostic device will enable vital healthcare in low resource settings and developing countries, while decreasing cost and wait-time of current diagnostics in developed countries.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
Brianna worked in an HIV clinic for a year, and during her time there realized that many patients were lost to follow-up. Because of this, we weren’t getting important diagnostic test results in time to make changes to the care plan of patients. Given her background in microfluidics and engineering, she saw a space in which this engineering background could be used to solve the issue of loss-of-follow-up impacting patients’ care, not just in the HIV clinic but in many other uses: lower blood samples from preemies in the NICU, faster results in the ICU and OR, expanded care in urgent clinics and home nursing services. Thus, the MultiDiagnostic and Group K Diagnostics was born.

How will your venture change the world?
We aim to change the world through providing better, faster care for providers to use to improve their patients’ lives. This will increase positive patient outcomes in developed nations, and greatly expand and revolutionize healthcare in developing countries.

Fun Facts:

  • Brianna: I know three languages and am learning two others.
  • Ghassan: Last summer I surfed with Tom Brady.
  • Amelia: I’m a certified lifeguard.
  • Eric: I’m the Quaker Mascot.
  • Dayita: I teach piano to young children.

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: Gradient

Gradient (high-res two arrow)
Gradient photo

Team Leader:
Daniel David, GED’17

elevator pitch: We match our grading specialists with time-strapped teachers to provide their students with prompt, formative feedback; by shrinking the pile of papers, Gradient eases the overwhelming workload and grants K-12 instructors more time to improve learning outcomes for their classes.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
Two years ago, I was a virtual tutor for a group of 11th grade AP U.S. History students, advising them on biweekly essays in preparation for their year-end exams. The students were motivated by our feedback and grateful for the one-on-one attention; meanwhile, the teacher was effusive because we were improving her students’ writing and enabling her to focus on the neediest kids. This small intervention made a big impact, so I pursued a venture that could scale this successful model.

How will your venture change the world?
As a presidential candidate in 2007, Barack Obama declared that “the single most important factor determining student success…is who their teacher is.” Whatever our politics, we can all agree that teachers matter. If a venture could solve a central problem for 3.7 million educators and their respective students, it would be transformational. ; For K-12 teachers, that problem is “time poverty,” but Gradient has a solution: challenge the damaging narrative that teachers are supposed to grade entire classrooms on their own. The “isolated teacher” is an antiquated concept, a relic of the bygone one-room schoolhouse era, and it is time to break the bottleneck. A teacher’s role goes far beyond grading. ; When teachers don’t receive assistance, they may leave the profession altogether: a 2012 study reported that 40-50% of those who enter teaching leave within five years. The educators who stay face significant challenges: in a 2015 Scholastic survey, teachers listed “not enough time collaborating with colleagues, “my class size is too big,” and “not enough instructional time with my students” as three major difficulties. Our venture addresses these negatives by maximizing teacher time. ; Simultaneously, this venture serves the students. Rather than wait weeks for teacher comments, students receive immediate feedback, which is instrumental to their improvement. In addition, students can become better writers by submitting multiple drafts for review, a scenario that is implausible with a solitary teacher.

Fun Facts: During an undergrad playoff game, the School of Dentistry softball team broke my jaw.


Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: CitySense

CitySense team pics 1300 x 866

Team Leader:
Mitch Gainer, WG’18
Team Members:
Marc Giesener, WG’18
Christophe Williams, WG’18

elevator pitch: Water utilities lose $14 billion every year from leaks, faulty meters, and water theft. CitySense provides analytics services to identify and capture this lost revenue.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
Before coming to Wharton, I worked with mayors across the U.S. I loved working with mayors. They were close enough to a community to really understand the needs and powerful enough to do something about it. But time and again, they told me about how they lacked the analytical toolbox to tackle some of their most pressing problems. This was especially true with water utilities, a fundamental service the city provides. Working with my contacts in cities across the U.S. we developed a set of analytic solutions for water utilities to help them run more effectively.

How will your venture change the world?
Access to reliable, clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. Right now, water utilities are facing increased pressure from tightening margins. Water line breaks have disrupted schools, dislocated families, and destroyed homes. Our passion is to help cities run these utilities more effectively and prevent catastrophe.

Fun Facts:

  • Mitch Gainer has watched Fast and Furious 4 over two dozen times.
  • Marc Giesener lived in Amsterdam for over a year.
  • Christophe Williams enjoys skiing double black diamond slopes.

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups! 

Startup Challenge Semifinalist: BreachRx

breachrx-logo
BreachRx Team 1500 x 1000

Team Leader:
Alonzo Ellis, WG’17
Team Members:
Andy Lunsford, WG’17
James Green, WG’17

elevator pitch: BreachRx is an incident response software platform that allows enterprises to respond to cyber incidents efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with relevant regulations.

Where did the idea for your venture come from?
Alonzo, our CTO, was seeking this type of solution for his employer, but he was not able to find an existing solution in the market.

How will your venture change the world?
BreachRx will transform the cyber incident response process for companies from a drawn-out lengthy crisis to a routine business practice. The average data breach response process takes companies many months and often years. BreachRx will allow companies to shorten this process to a matter of days.

Fun Facts:

  • Andy comes from a family of fly fishermen and was on the river before he could walk.
  • James is a vocalist who sings everywhere but the shower.
  • Alonzo loves to travel. 45 countries and counting!

Come to the Startup Showcase to see the best student entrepreneurs from across Penn demo their companies and compete for cash and prizes to launch their startups!