Entrepreneurship at Duke

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Overview

I founded and led several entrepreneurial programs at Duke.

Incube

Dates: Summer 2009-Summer 2012
Role: Founder & President
Founding Team: Fabio Berger, Michael Bernert, Kimberly Jenkins, Howie Rhee, Carl Nordgren and many more. 
Location: Durham, NC

During my sophomore year, I started working on my vision to create an entrepreneurship house that would develop world-changing founders. After an incredible ~3 year journey, we built InCube: a live-in incubator consisting of a gadget-packed collaboration space, 9 conjoined apartments and an inaugural class of ~18 amazing founders (each working on a startup/project). Over the two years, I worked closely with Kimberly (now a friend and mentor) to raise $80k in seed funding for launching InCube. 

From the first class going through the InCube Program, we had startups ranging from WAVA to Neurospire to Mati Tea to CrowdCourse and already had 4 founders drop out of Duke in their entrepreneurial pursuits. To ensure that InCube continues for years to come, we hired Scott Kelley to manage InCube operations.  

InCube is one of my proudest accomplishments and has, in many ways, defined my Duke experience. I met some of my closest friends through InCube; friends I deeply respect and admire. They will go on to make a difference.  

Summer Innovation Program

Dates: Spring 2012
Role: Team Leader
Team: Dr. Larry Boyd (advisor), Sid Kandan, Kirill Klimuk, Cole Vertikoff
Location: Durham, NC 

We founded an incubation program that provided each of the selected startups with free office space (from DuHatch), $5,000 in funding and mentorship from a successful entrepreneur. From the 12 startup teams that completed the application process, we selected CrowdCourse, Neurospire, Mati Tea and TabSprint for the 3-months program. 3 of the 4 startups are currently being pursued full time outside of Duke. Today, the program has been institutionalized. 

Silicon Valley Trip

Dates: Spring 2012
Role: Team Leader
Team: Alex Browne, Sid Kandan , Kirill Klimuk, Harris Osserman, Alice Yen
Location: Durham, NC and San Francisco, CA

We wanted to get a taste of entrepreneurship and innovation from its current mecca, so we planned a 7-day excursion to San Francisco, CA. After convincing Duke to fund the flights, we organized a trip for 21 Dukies (mostly InCubers) to tour 16 of the most innovative companies in SF. The companies included Apple, Square, Google, Bain Capital Ventures, Freestyle Capital, Yahoo!, KPCB, Highland Capital, Five Prime, Box.net, Dogpatch, I/O Ventures, etc. Upon returning to Duke, many of us saw the trip as transformative, a turning point in our entrepreneurial careers.