Ten Student-Led Ventures Approved for Takeoff in the 2019 Summer Startup Launchpad

Top Row from Left to Right: Michael Rodriguez, Reza Ghorbani, Jay Voss, Abaraa Almubiad, Francesco Forti, Harrison Deisroth, Peter Rowan, Nicholas Ulm, George Donev, Everett Amundson, Jason Chan, Alan Martin, Sandra Fujiyama, Matthew Wong  Front Row from Left to Right: Kareem Elassy, Jinan Banna, Kate Poljakova, Radwa Elshenawy, Doris Masser, Kari Leong, Alexanna Nathan, Jackson Solomon, Ryan Kanno, Austin Yoshino, Stephanie Zaharis, Toshiko Davidson, Noha Mohammed, Jamison Haussman
Top Row from Left to Right: Michael Rodriguez, Reza Ghorbani, Jay Voss, Abaraa Almubiad, Francesco Forti, Harrison Deisroth, Peter Rowan, Nicholas Ulm, George Donev, Everett Amundson, Jason Chan, Alan Martin, Sandra Fujiyama, Matthew Wong Front Row from Left to Right: Kareem Elassy, Jinan Banna, Kate Poljakova, Radwa Elshenawy, Doris Masser, Kari Leong, Alexanna Nathan, Jackson Solomon, Ryan Kanno, Austin Yoshino, Stephanie Zaharis, Toshiko Davidson, Noha Mohammed, Jamison Haussman

HONOLULU, HI – On Thursday, June 20, 2019, ten teams of founders graduated from the 2019 Summer Startup Launchpad, presented by the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) at the Shidler College of Business. Each team made 7-minute presentations to a panel of entrepreneurship and innovation experts, and received certificates for completing the rigorous requirements of the 6-week program. The celebratory event also selected two teams, which were voted by their peers “Most Likely to Orbit,” based on the founders’ progress during the program. All teams received claps and cheers from their cohort mates. 

Launchpad participant and Business student, Jamison Haussman said,“Summer Startup Launchpad was as challenging as it was rewarding. In addition to mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, we're part of a community of problem-solvers from different industries, all coming under one roof to support each other.”

Twenty-nine participants comprising 10 teams, representing varying disciplines of study from Business to Engineering and levels of study from freshmen to doctoral candidates, implemented the lean startup methodology to validate their business ideas. The intense program forced students to talk to strangers to validate their idea for a product or service, and to identify potential customer segments. Teams were challenged to interview at least 100 customers over the course of 6 weeks to gain meaningful insights. Many teams pivoted their ideas and solutions, based on their interview findings. Each team worked with a dedicated business mentor, who coached them through the lean process and advised them during customer validation and business model development. Each team was awarded $4,000 cash to use as seed capital to kickstart their business. PACE is able to offer this program at no charge to participants through generous donations from the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation and the UH Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.  

PACE Executive Director, Peter Rowan, said, “Everyone has had an idea for a business at some point in their life. These students decided to take action on their idea to see if there’s something there. We spent a bulk of the 6 weeks validating the problem. Does their idea solve a significant human problem? If yes, what is a feasible business model? If no, can they pivot their idea to one that will fill a human need?” 

New Venture Names and Idea Descriptions:

CHAVA – kombucha and kava lounge

DIVE BUDDY – a wireless dive flag

GALLOPTICS – method to make lightweight deformable mirrors

G-TRAINER – a walking assistant device

MOVVZ – bulky item delivery service for online marketplaces

NUTRA PEEL – dietary supplement made from banana blossoms

OPEN OAHU – island-themed care packages

SMARTER CHARTER – online boat charter booking service

STUDENT CORNER – web platform to showcase student work

TATTOOING 101 – online education for professional tattoo artists

Link to Video
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