Founders of the Week: Jeriann Gumilla and Coco Wang

It all started with an eyelash curler. Coco Wang (W ’21) had purchased 4-5 different brands, with no success from any of them. Later on, she discovered that those brands made their curlers to fit the Caucasian eye shape. After wasting both her money and her time, Coco finally found a brand that made curlers targeted to Asian women.

 

This experience inspired Candid Beauty, a synthesized beauty platform that provides users personalized information on beauty products and suggestions. In the app, you create a beauty profile with your preferences and characteristics, and Candid Beauty does the rest. You can see reviews from customers with similar profiles and preferences, ingredient lists, and more.

 

Candid Beauty was founded by Jeriann Gumilla (W ’21) and Coco Wang (W ’21). Jeriann is studying Finance and Management-Entrepreneurship, and Coco is studying Finance and Statistics with a minor in Spanish.  They hope to tackle the lack of transparency in the makeup industry, which is filled with inaccurate reviews, false advertisements, and inconsistent information. Candid Beauty has already received multiple awards and recognition across campus, and the young founders say that it has been a humbling experience, but that they are always moving forward.

 

What should the rest of us entrepreneurs strive for if we want to succeed like the Candid Beauty team has? Jeriann says to take risks, and that “you have to believe in your idea when no one else does.” Coco says not to give up just because one person challenges your product, and urges that entrepreneurs take feedback objectively and as constructive criticism to help grow and improve.

 

Fun fact: Coco can speak six languages, and Jeriann taught herself how to play the ukulele, guitar, and yoga!

 

To learn more about Candid Beauty, visit their website here. To watch the full interview, click here.

Congratulations Pennvention Winners!

This past Tuesday, 8 finalists pitched their start-up ideas to judges in hopes of winning big prizes to make turn their ideas into reality. After two hours of pitches, the judges picked four outstanding teams, with an emphasis on bio-tech and health, to take home prizes. Meet our winners: Sanguis, Carbolytics, NanoXCell, and Stellar.

Sanguis, founded by Divyansh Agarwal (Yale ’15), Daniel Zhang (MIT ’15), and Prateek Agarwal (Harvard ’15), is a portable blood cell monitoring device that allows cancer patients to measure their blood cell counts in a cost-effective, accessible, and simple manner. The device is similar to a glucose  monitor, where patients would prick their finger and use a chip to analyze their blood. This would allow these patients to predict infection before it is too late, and to contact their physicians for preventative treatment instead of having to go to the ER and face high-cost emergency treatment. Their product has been tested on several clinical samples, and they are already in partnership with Jefferson Health. Sanguis took home first place at Pennvention.

The second place winner was Carbolytics, founded by Vikram Krishnamoorthy (C’20, W’20) and George Pandya (M&T ’20).  Carbolytics is a cell therapy platform that uses a microfluidic circuit embedded with a carbon nanopipette that automatically detects the penetration of cells, allowing for automation of the process. This technology can be used to reprogram cells to tackle diseases in a precise and scalable manner with unlimited capacity at a low-cost, beating out current cell therapies that use viral vectors.

NanoXCell Therapeutics, founded by Daniel Lundgren (C’18, W’18), Patrick Lundgren (University of Oxford MsC’18), and Shelby Wilkinson (C’18, W’18), came in third place. Their technology also uses carbon nanopipettes, but aims to help patients with different genetic skin diseases by using a gene therapy process that will allow the transfer of genes larger than the current viral vector technology can store. Treatment is currently difficult because of the size of the gene that leads to these diseases and because of the dominant trait of the disease. NanoXCell solves both of these issues in an automated and inexpensive manner.

Stellar, founded by Hyung Jin Yoo (SEAS ’18), Lila Cohn (SEAS ’18), EricTepper (SEAS ’18), and Haimin Yie (SEAS ’18), took home the Social Impact Award. Stellar is an app that helps those who are dying engage with friends and family, helping to alleviate the social isolation and disengagement that can result when people are near the end of their lives. The app allows the caregiver to form a team of friends and family who can arrange visits, leave voice memos, or contribute to a team album with pictures and other memories that allow for meaningful conversation and engagement. The app will also include product and service recommendations that can help ease the patient’s experience based on what their disease or complication is.

 

Congratulations again to all our winners, and for all the finalists as well!

 

 

 

 

Founder of the Week: Thomas Cavett

This week, meet Thomas Cavett (WG ’18), an army veteran who (fun fact!) spent some time protecting Obama in his motorcade in Asia. Thomas Cavett is co-founder of POWTI Innovations, a company building wearable devices that detect when a traumatic injury has occurred and notifiy emergency personnel.

 

POWTI stands for Point of Wounding Trauma Indicator. The goal of this device is to increase response time to emergency traumatic events, both in the military and in civilian life. POWTI was inspired by Cavett’s time in the military as an Army Green Beret, where he had learned skills to treat his teammates and allies. Sadly, he saw many traumatic injuries where the response time just wasn’t fast enough, and he sought to alleviate this problem.

 

The device is still prototyping, and has undergone several iterations. However, Cavett says a launch will hopefully occur by the end of 2018.

 

Cavett’s most important advice to new entrepreneurs is to “find something you’re passionate about.” He says that entrepreneurship is complicated and chaotic, and working with something you’re passionate about will keep you committed even when things get tough.

 

To learn more about POWTI Innovations, visit their website here. To watch the full interview, visit our YouTube here.