The Top 10 Moments From Drexel Startup Day
There were winners. There were lessons learned. But it was crowd participation that won the day. Not to mention all those #DrexelStartup14 hashtags.
November 6, 2014
by Joseph Master and Zach Epstein
Judging by the turnout at the Close School’s first inaugural Drexel Startup Day, it’s safe to say that entrepreneurship has gained some serious momentum at Drexel University.
The packed house in the Creese Student Center’s Behrakis Hall might have come for the activities — including free startup consultations and co-founder speed dating — but they stayed for the opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs from all corners of the Drexel (and Philadelphia) startup community.
Here are some of our favorite moments from the day:
10) Chocamo serves up ice cream and coffee in the most delightful food delivery vessel ever created.
All day, there was a line of hungry entrepreneurs waiting to sample what may very well be the most disruptive breakthrough in food transport since the spork.
Kudos to Michelle Silberman and company from ChocAmo for the sugar rush. And the memories.
9) Dean Donna De Carolis takes the stage to kick off the event. Then takes the stage again. And again.
Dean Donna De Carolis’ opening remarks got laughs and applause, and conveyed the perfect balance of inspiration and accessibility that have become her trademark.
Then, minutes later, in the middle of the 60-Second Pitch-Off, she raced onstage to declare that there were “just too many incredible pitches” to name a sole $500 winner. So she upped the ante to five. On the spot.
Later, De Carolis jumped onstage again to thank Baiada Institute benefactor and champion Mel Baiada, and to tell the packed house that Drexel Startup Day would not be possible without the vision and legacy of Close School namesake Charles D. Close.
“OK, I promise. This is the last time,” she said.
8) The Spor guys come back to share lessons learned.
Recent grads Jason Browne and David Virgil Hunt won last year’s Baiada Incubator Competition. Since then, they have raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter, as well as $200,000 from a Drexel alum.
Rather than swagger on stage, they instead showed that they have remained humble. They spoke about eating (and expelling) tripe during a recent business trip to China. And they spoke about the importance of finding the right team.
“We work 24 hours a day,” Browne said. “But when you love what you do, it’s not work at all.”
And for all you Kickstarter backers: Expect your Spor just in time for the holidays.
7) A pitch-off for the ages.
In all, 45 Drexel students lined up for their minute in the limelight. There were engineers, product designers, finance majors, gamers and founders of companies that have already launched.
Most importantly, they were all entrepreneurs, from all corners of Drexel University.
It was a proud moment to be a dragon.
6) Nick Bayer praises Drexel students for doing their due diligence.
During an inspirational keynote address, Saxbys Founder and CEO Nick Bayer spoke about his background, his failures and his vision for a company that truly cares.
But it was his acknowledgement of the tenacity of Drexel students that made for the most refreshing sound bite of the day.
“I give Drexel students a lot of credit,” he said. “It took me four years to write my first business plan.”
5) Eventuosity wins third place in Baiada Institute Incubator Competition with animated pitch.
And by animated, we mean that CEO and Founder Justin Panzer delivered the majority of the company’s pitch remotely using a combination of GoAnimate.com and Adobe Premiere that featured his animated avatar alongside his presentation.
Eventuosity proved that cartoon characters can be successful entrepreneurs, too. Walt Disney would be proud.
4) The Close School Broke Twitter.
At about 1:40 p.m., the Close School’s communications staff broke the news that #DrexelStartup14 was the number one trending hashtag in Philadelphia, beating out #Philly, #AltonBrownPHL, #Eagles, #FlyEaglesFly and (get this) #Cowboys.
In all, nearly 300 organic tweets from 78 Twitter users employed the #DrexelStartup14 hashtag.
The hashtag was delivered to 240,998 timelines on Twitter alone and reached almost 91,000 users.
Also trending was #WeAreStarters, which was tweeted by 57 separate Twitter users throughout the day.
Not bad, Dragons. Not bad at all.
3) Skeletix (and Westphal College) claims its rightful place in the Baiada Institute.
The Baiada Institute is now home to concert ticket platform Skeletix, the brainchild of Westphal students, musicians and entrepreneurs William Lindsay and Lucy Stone.
Their pitch impressed the judges enough to secure them a second place finish. And they certainly made an impression on the audience too, as they were selected as the crowd voting favorite.
We expect to hear some sweet, sweet music in the Baiada Institute very soon.
2) Christopher Gray takes top honors for Scholly.
Scholly Founder Chris Gray is a familiar face in Drexel’s entrepreneurship ecosystem — and for good reason. His scholarship-finding app is already helping students across the nation pay for college, and Scholly has partnered with some of the biggest names in education.
After completing our Entrepreneurship Co-op, we are proud that Gray and Scholly will continue to call the Baiada Institute home for just a little while longer.
1) Drexel University takes to social media en masse. The takeaway? It was a proud day to be a dragon.
We couldn’t be prouder of the hundreds of Drexel entrepreneurs who made our first inaugural Drexel Startup Day such a smashing success. Your hard work and enthusiasm left the entire Close School team buzzing all night long.
Here’s what some of you had to say: