Baiada Institute Biowall Guy Goes International
Collin Cavote finds inspiration, funding for his carbon-scrubbing biowalls in the City of Lights.
June 25, 2014
by Joseph Master
Earlier this week, Biome founder and Close School Entrepreneurship Co-op student Collin Cavote returned from Paris, France, with deeper pockets and validation that his budding biowall company is on the right track.
Along with 49 other student entrepreneurs from top research institutes and universities across the globe named to FOUNDER.org’s Class of 2015, Cavote traveled 3,700 miles to attend the organization’s three-day World Founder Forum 2014 at ESCP Business School, the oldest business school in Europe. The once-in-a-lifetime experience gave Cavote the opportunity to network with student entrepreneurs and receive valuable advice from mentors, as well as other programming and training aimed to help young entrepreneurs build viable businesses.
During the forum, FOUNDER.org announced 10 recipients of $100,000 grants for its Class of 2015. Though Cavote did not make the top 10, Biome was honored with a $10,000 grant for being voted the highest ranked company in a poll of all participants — an affirmation from international peers that Biome has a bright future.
Cavote, whose humility belies a remarkably pragmatic ambition to make cleaner air for all, says the trip helped him to reflect on Biome’s growth and tap his peers for ideas to scale the venture moving forward.
“Some of the teams we were competing with have contracts with large companies like Zappos and BMW,” Cavote says. “Biome is a very early-stage hardware company with many challenges ahead. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Now back in Philadelphia and back to work in his Baiada Institute workspace, Cavote is undertaking an intense product development initiative and plans to use the $10,000 grant to refine Biome’s air-cleaning technology. Cavote and his team have a second-generation prototype in the works. He is also pursuing a senior capstone project with Michael Glaser of Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Product Design department to gather user feedback, explore design considerations and subsequent prototypes.
“Accessibility to disruptive manufacturing tools like 3D printers is a phenomenal resource to have available on campus,” Cavote says. “I highly recommend product design courses to any hardware entrepreneur wanting to refine their product vision.”
Empowered by his international experience, Cavote plans to think globally as he works to round out his leadership team.
“While attending the conference, I realized that I will always be looking for talented people to improve and expand Biome’s vision, product offerings and customer engagement,” he says. “By removing pre-conceived ideas of what a team should look like, I realized that my startup team can be anywhere in the world. And that’s pretty liberating.”
In all, FOUNDER.org reviewed nearly 1,000 applications, attended 600 live pitches, and visited universities and other academic institutions across the globe 78 times to select the Class of 2015.
FOUNDER.org is a global non-profit started in 2012 by serial entrepreneur, former venture capitalist and Drexel University alumnus Michael Baum, the founding CEO of Splunk, a pioneer in big data. FOUNDER.org works with leading colleges, universities and research institutes throughout North America and Europe to advance student entrepreneurship. Its goal is to significantly increase the number of student entrepreneurs by backing the brightest student founders and biggest ideas. Its 8D Company Building Program improves the odds that more young companies not only survive, but thrive and positively transform the world.