Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Brown Entrepreneurs Storm Silicon Valley

Ten Brown students will venture to Silicon Valley January 13th - 18th to launch the inaugural Brown University West Coast Accelerator. These student entrepreneurs will meet dozens of like-minded alumni and supporters from companies such as Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., Google, Facebook and Stanford’s StartX. The lucky ten will hone their business concepts through hands on marketing and technical training. They’ll explore funding opportunities through introductions to Brown alumni with the Band of Angels and Mohr Davidow Ventures. For these ten students, this trip is the opportunity of a lifetime to accelerate their ventures. With one week until show time, students are diligently re-working business models, perfecting pitches, and hosting all-night hackathons to create viable products. The inaugural class exemplifies what is uniquely Brown - a mindset to change the world in meaningful and creative ways. Meet the teams:

Determined to transform political engagement in the United States, Joschka Tryba ’12 and Max Fowler founded LoveGov, an online hub for every citizen to understand and engage in politics, from a local to federal level.

Will Barkeley ’16, the son of a deaf-blind mountain climber and marathon runner, has created Elevate, the next Nike for athletic apparel and equipment, dedicated to serving and recognizing disabled athletes like his father.

Exersaur tackles childhood obesity with a dinosaur avatar watch and a social gaming experience. Founded and led by Shawn Medford ’12, Roseanne Fleming ’12, Mark Buller Ph.D. candidate, and Ryan Sailor ’13, Exersaur fights childhood obesity with some fun.

Luke Sherwin '12, Neil Parikh '11, Giles Holt RISD '14, Gabe Flateman '12 and Chris Smothers '11 are disrupting e-commerce with Consignd, a new kind of platform for retail consignment. Consignd allows anyone to consign to or buy from influential content creators.

After spending years preparing for Taiwan preparatory exams, Sabrina Yu '15 co-founded gsuccess, a series of mobile applications to help test-takers in the greater China area conquer standardized exams on-the-go with little cost.

Will Hewson ’14, Gaurav Nakhare '15, and Daniel Hackney ’14 are jazzing up the tedious purchasing headache for consumer durables. They’ve taken their experiences in quick-service management and home-improvement sales to create durgood, an independent online product recommendation tool for durable goods

Brown University has had a long and fruitful history with entrepreneurship with alumni that include the founders of CNN, Nantucket Nectars, National Public Radio, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Ariba, House of Air, Slideshare, and many others. In 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked Brown 13th in the nation for entrepreneurship. Brown is the up and coming University for innovation.

Conceived by Brown alumnus and Trustee Emeritus Jonathan Speed ’84, and planned by the Brown Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the School of Engineering, the Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations program, the Swearer Center for Public Service, and the Development Office, the West Coast Accelerator will expand the University’s entrepreneurial footprint to the Silicon Valley, building essential bridges between the University and its many successful West Coast alumni entrepreneurs. A visit to the nation’s technological capital will catalyze the University and Providence’s resources for entrepreneurs.

The spirit which epitomizes the University’s student body is that of an activist and creator. Unsatisfied with the world as it is, students at Brown eagerly seek opportunities to initiate improvements via new knowledge and ways of thought. The Brown Entrepreneurship Program is bringing this mission to new heights this winter. Look for updates and highlights of the Accelerator in coming months at

By Elizabeth Weber