Founder(s) of the Week: Kameron Hypolite and Isaiah Washington

If you only learn one thing from Isaiah and Kameron, it should be that…

Getting your idea on paper is only the beginning. The hard part and the crucial part is to take action to bring your ideas to life. Having a vision and something to look forward to is extremely important, and that coupled with the perfect, implementable strategy is what really makes a successful venture and entrepreneur.  

Having dealt with transportation issues during their time as students at Penn, Kameron Hypolite (SAS ‘20) and Isaiah Washington (W’20). For example, Penn’s shuttles are only accessible after 5pm, so the founders have found themselves stranded off-campus with only ride-sharing options to return to school. Trekking through Penn’s expansive campus is also time-consuming and inefficient. After delving into a solution to these type of problems, the founders realized that traditional transportation-sharing companies, such as Indego, posed a couple of problems that made them subpar answers to these issues, especially in intimate environments such as a college or corporate campus.

BoostScooters combines the model of a scooter, a bike, and smart-ride technology to service college and corporate campuses. They strive to provide a clean and efficient system to help connect intimate campuses and make them more accessible to all members of that community.

In terms of challenges, Isaiah told us about something that he lives his entrepreneurial life by: “Entrepreneurs hear no all the time, but they also can never take no as an answer.” Like many entrepreneurs, the founders of BoostScooters have had opportunities close and open to them, and they say that perseverance through all that is the most challenging and integral part of their journey. Kameron reflected on the importance of time management, and the importance of remaining dedicated to their business through heavy academic and extracurricular workloads.

Founder of the Week: Nestor Solari

If you only learn one thing from Nestor, it should be that…

Unlike many traditional jobs, entrepreneurship doesn’t have a “set playbook.” So be ready for all the hurdles, the good and the bad, and know to not take hardships personally but rather that everyone’s journey is unique.

Today, millions of Americans are obtaining their insurance through brick and mortar industries. Not only is it generally an unpleasant experience, but the process is filled with extra fees. Founder Nestor Solari strives to bring these customers online, lowering the cost and getting rid of all of those extra fees. Nestor’s company, Sigo Seguros, focuses on non-standard or high risk auto insurance space, giving people an easy transparent way to get their auto insurance.

As a child, Nestor always remembered looking up to his teachers, and thought that he wanted to be a teacher growing up. Now that he’s gotten a taste of being an entrepreneur, the likelihood of that childhood goal is smaller, but he is devoted to the excitement of entrepreneurship. To him, no two days are the same. Everyday, he feels that he gets a new challenge and a new experience. The thing that is currently on top of Nestor’s mind is integrating with a new insurance partner and giving insurance access to millions of more people.

One thing that most people don’t tell you about starting a new company is the emotional roller coaster that comes with it. While a strong work ethic and diligence is undoubtedly important, Nestor believes that what really makes a difference is being able to handle your emotions. Making time to recuperate before tackling the next challenge is just as crucial as having those skills.

Pennvention 2019 Winners!

This past Thursday, 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 to take home prizes. Meet our winners: Aerate (1st Place), BioAlert Technologies (2nd Place), PillBot (3rd Place), and Keaton (People’s Choice Award). 

Aerate (1st Place)

Aerate, founded by Connor Sendel, Yann Pfitzer, Sam Weintraub, Jake Fine, Spencer Collins, and Ashwin Kishen, aims to become the future of cooling. Rising temperatures will make cooling a necessity for ¾ of the world by 2100. In turn, globally, the number of room air conditioners is expected to increase by 3.3 million with energy demand for cooling tripling by 2050. A 5x increase in air conditioner efficiency is required to mitigate this environmental threat. To address this need, Aerate si developing an air conditioner that uses a novel combined member dehumidification and evaporative-cooling process to provide affordable cooling around the world. They plan to initially focus on the Indian market, which has distinct needs and will be responsible for the largest growth in air conditioner demand. Developing this innovative system over the next several years, Aerate will initially invest heavily in R&D before shifting to manufacturing and marketing efforts. Aerate took home first place at Pennvention.

BioAlert Technologies (2nd Place)

The second place winner was BioAlert Technologies, founded by Marc Rosenberg, Nathan Zlochevsky, Soleil Valentin-Carrero, Stephen McKenna, Johnny Forde, Gerard Hoeltzel, Alex Cameron. BioAlert is an integrative smart bandage that detects the onset of infection on a given wound surface. The smart bandage functions as a combination of a dressing and real-time diagnostic test applied to open wounds on the body. With real-time monitoring of bacterial proliferation, you can be alerted of the onset of a specific bacterial infection to be administered and preventing further complications

Pillbot (3rd Place) 

PillBot, founded by Christopher Lee, Robert Zhang, Johnny Wang, came in third place. They are working on a completely secure, automatic, mini pill dispenser that directly targets the issue of highly addictive medication. They are B2B, going directly through pharmacies with insurance. Their device is inexpensive, and its restrictive dispensing would make it impossible for patients to overtake or divert their medication. PillBot makes every player in the industry happy. INsurance will billions of dollars in prescription fees. Pharmacies will be able to increase their revenue and provide more value in an increasingly value-based system. Doctors will be more connected to their patients allowing for better treatment options. And finally, after interviewing over 150 patients, over 70% rated their device a 9 or 10 out of 10 in usefulness. Why use a pill bottle, when we can all use PillBot?

Keaton (People’s Choice Award)

Keaton took home the People’s Choice Award. Keaton offers thoughtfully-designed work pants created by women, for women. Keaton’s founder is a Wharton second-year MBA, Melina Flabiano. Melina loves fashion but hates her work wear. As a management consultant, she traveled constantly and was struck by how her clothes would wrinkle easily and required frequent, expensive dry cleaning. After hearing her peers complain about the same issues, she created Keaton. Keaton’s first product, the Perfect Pant, is a machine-washable, non-wrinkly pant with roomy front pockets. The product was designed with input from over 300 professional women. The brand opened online sales in February and will be hosting a series of try-on events during the Spring. Keaton’s vision is to transform the workplace into a space where women can express their personal style and be their best.

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