Archive for Technology – Page 2

Warby Parker: Making Glasses Cheap Again

Warby Parker has reimagined the eyewear industry as the first company to introduce affordable eyewear that can be purchased online. The company offers prescription eyeglasses for a flat $95 and has a number of stylish options. Customers can order a number of different eyeglasses, try them on at home, and return the pairs that they do not want. The idea started with a simple question. Why are glasses not sold online? Founder, Neil Blumenthal asked that question so he recruited three friends and Warby Parker was born. However, the company ran into problems early on. Forty-eight hours after the website had launched, it had to be taken down because they received so many orders. The website did not indicate when a product sold out which led to a 20,000 person wait list. Eventually, they sorted out their website issues and are currently making waves in the industry.

This company peaked my interest because of Warby Parker’s ability to recognized gaps in the marketplace. Currently, Luxottica has a near monopoly in the eyeglasses industry. While Luxottica controls the brick-and-mortar sales, they do not address the online market. Neil Blumenthal saw that gap in the market and was able to capitalize on it. However, the problem he solved wasn’t complicated, it was simple. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.

 

Nanoly and Enplug – Culture in Business

Nanxi Liu grew up in a situation not typically considered conducive to innovation. After spending most of the first five years of her life without her parents in China, she could move to the United States and reunite with them. When it was time for her to go to college, she got into UC Berkeley and payed her way through doing odd jobs. After meeting a talented biochemist at a bar, she started Nanoly Bioscience, a company with a patented polymer for preserving vaccines without refrigeration.

Nanoly is built around the idea that many people cannot get vaccines because of environmental factors causing the proteins that make the vaccine work to become inactive. The polymer they developed is a sort of protective shell that functionally replaces a refrigerator. For this work, Nanoly earned many awards for social technological change, including Intel’s Top Social Innovation, Dell’s Global Social Innovation Challenge Award, and a Tech Award in 2014 for Young Innovators.

Social and technological change marry perfectly in this startup. While innovation is often thought of in the terms of apps or software, bringing about powerful social change is just as revolutionary. While the technology used is advanced and definitely a breakthrough, without a use that people care about, in this case a social use, it is simply another type of plastic. Because of this merging, Nanoly was able to make the world better.

Building upon this success, Liu more recently started Enplug, a technology/software business with a product that harnesses digital screens to allows users to link, control, manipulate, and post to any digital screen instantly. Plugging into any HD screen, the technology allows the user to display social media, presentations, news, or virtually anything. They also developed a software development kit, which allows experienced users to create their own apps to link to the technology.

The most innovative aspect of Enplug is the culture of the business. Over ten of the roughly 40 employees share a single house. This not only fosters a strong bond of cooperation in the employees, it also serves to bring innovation into everyday life and everyday life into the business world. Of course, it also saves money. This choice to treat a business almost as family is a demonstration of the innovative thinking that Liu brings to her businesses. Whether Nanoly or Enplug, Liu has a capacity for being intentional in the way a business is being run, instead of simply inventing a breakthrough product.

Feeling lost? This young entrepreneur found a solution!

Four years ago, the then 19 year old Benjamin Marasco received some of the worst news possible… “You have Cancer.”

Being diagnosed and fighting cancer is hard enough of a battle leaving you to feel lost in life… but when Ben went to various hospitals to receive treatment, he time and time again would get lost on his way to appointments. This consistent confusion made him feel unseen, unimportant and just another number… not to mention being regularly late to his appointments. But Ben asked himself if their might be a different way to go about navigating hospitals. A way to get to appointments on time, take the stress out of navigating hospitals and focus on the patients and their families. This is why Ben founded Pathpoint Health…

Pathpoint is an app recently launched at Washington Hospital available on the Apple Store and Google Play. It allows users to input their destination in the hospital and gives them step by step guided instructions to get to their destinations on time! Using IPS (Indoor Positioning System) to guide users, Pathpoint solves the traditional problems of hospital visits while providing a new experience to patients. The startup projects to expand to providing its services to multiple other hospitals in the near future.

Entrepreneurs like Ben demonstrate key characteristics that make them successful. Determination and Drive are essential as seen with his successful rise against cancer and graduating with the award of Senior Man of the Year from Grove City College just this past spring as well as in his business venture. Other important skills include communication, teamwork and innovation. His promising company is one that inspires me to create a business founded on one of my passions to help others, as I hope it does for you too. Ben is innovating the healthcare field with a new way we interact with hospitals, a new way to give direction to those who are feeling lost in mind, body and soul. A new vision for hospitals everywhere..

     

 

 

 

Starting Young – Blake Ross and Mozilla Firefox

Blake Ross cannot visualize things in his mind. If asked to imagine a beach, he instead thinks about the concepts that make up a beach. Ross was unaware that most people could visualize things until last year, and he is 30. Although afflicted by this rare inability, he still managed to create Mozilla Firefox, a breakthrough web browser that salvaged the less successful open source program Netscape.

Ross was born in Florida. At age 15, he moved to California to pursue an internship with Netscape, even though Internet Explorer at the time dominated the industry. After gaining experience, Ross decided to make a more streamlined browser, and the Mozilla Project was born. The first software in the suite and in many ways the flagship development, Firefox, was immensely popular, and became the first real competitor to Internet Explorer. Other popular software developed by Ross include Thunderbird, the mail program in the Mozilla suite, and Parakey, a separate program that he sold to Facebook for a large profit.

Along with the acquisition of Parakey came Ross himself, who worked for Facebook as Director of Product. He worked for them until 2013, and in August he was hired by Uber to help them develop their product. Evident in Ross’s work is an ambition to stay at the forefront of development and technology. He started at age 15, jumped into a field he was interested and good at, found a product that was underdeveloped, worked on that until it gained attention, then switched to another big name in another sphere. After tackling the challenge of social media under Facebook, he has now switched to innovating in transportation.

Ross innovates by finding what is currently redefining the way Americans live their lives. His biggest project, Firefox, was inspired by the struggles his mother had with the current web browsers. He also has the ambition to back up this relentless pursuit of advancement, as evidenced by the early age at which he started pursuing his career. Ross is smart enough to be part of the largest innovations of the twenty-first century, and motivated enough to work on three of them so far.

Carter Liebman Design

Carter Liebman is a current college freshman. He is an Adobe Certified Associate in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and After Effects, as well as being certified in various other areas. He not only does graphic design, but has a vast experience in theater. Carter combines these skills and passions in a unique way, creating marketing design for theater shows. In this design, he has the ability to create designs for posters, social media, book covers, shirts, mugs, tickets, playbills, programs, buttons, wristbands, and various other necessities for many aspects of productions. After being recognized with awards in several areas, he started a small business around web design and promotional material.

Teenage Ingenuity

Links to his past Kickstarter campaigns:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/omnicode/urbn-wallet

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/omnicode/smile-stand-the-phone-stand-reinvented

My brother, Joey Cafaro, is an entrepreneur on a small scale with a unique story. At the age of 14 (2 years ago), he and his friend were bored during the summer and felt the need to make a new product. If you would have asked them frankly they would have told you it was a way to beef up their college applications, but they truly enjoyed ideating. Joey sat around the house toying with ideas and thinking about everyday problems. Then one day an idea came to him. He saw the need for a phone stand that you could use to prop up your phone to watch videos, but also wrap your headphones around so they did not become completely entangled when you weren’t using them, and thus the Smile Stand was born ( at this time there were no equivalents on the market). Next, they manufactured prototypes at TechShop Pittsburgh and decided to hire a photographer to pitch the idea on the website “Kickstarter” to raise capital to manufacture more product. Moreover, to spread their product they attended craft shows to get their product into the pockets of consumers and applied for a patent to protect their idea, with legal help from my Dad. They had a very successful campaign and went on to raise over $5,000 on Kickstarter. After this project, they really wanted to revolutionize the wallet after analyzing other successful wallet Kickstarter campaigns. They created what they pitched as, “An elegant wallet crafted from eco-friendly hardwoods featuring a uniquely convenient design to protect your valuables.” In this project, even my brother would admit that they got overconfident in their creative ability and were overconsumed by their desire to create an eco-friendly revolutionized wallet. The design and idea was never a real hit.  None the less, they ended up raising over $2,000 on Kickstarter. At the current moment, they aren’t creating any new ideas, but my brother continually mentions problems that could have a feasible solution. He is always thinking! He inspires me because of his creativity and resilience. Moreover, he wasn’t afraid to fail, even though he was only 14. He learned a lot from creating these products and will take these lessons into the rest of his life.

 

Smile Stand

 

 

Urbn Wallet

The Bucket List Family – How Garrett Made Millions Through Snapchat

Garrett Gee is, in my opinion, one of the most inspirational millionaires alive today. His story is quite enthralling– he was a college freshman when he (and 2 other guys) came up with the innovation of an app called Scan.

Does the black and white pixel-y looking mural look familiar to you? Gee and the other 2 creators incorporated the QR code into an app that would allow for users to easily and efficiently scan codes with their smartphones.

However, that’s not all.

Gee was a college freshman when he came up with the innovative idea, and he entered his idea in a student competition at Brigham Young University. The trio continued to grow their company in 2011, calling it Scan, Inc., and released their iOS application shortly after.

That’s still not all.

While Gee loved being an entrepreneur, he wanted to quit while he was ahead. His co-founders complied but had one condition, “that he help them raise the numbers before his exit” (source). This led them to Shark Tank.

…where he was rejected.

However, Snapchat strolled along in 2014 and bought the company for $54 million.

Recognize this?

Snapchat used Scan Inc’s technology to create the Snapcode.

There’s still more. While all 3 founders received a hefty amount of money and are millionaires, Gee decided that he would not make a dent in his funds. Instead, he and his wife sold all of their belongings, grabbed their two kids (aged 3 and 1, respectively), and hopped on a long excursion around the world. The family launched a blog as well as a social media profile where they raise a substantial amount of revenue.

So basically they’re living my dreams of traveling the world and making money while doing so.

 

 

 

Garrett Gee’s story is inspirational. He was fairly young, a freshman college student, when he came up with the idea. Like ENTR 101 students will be doing, he entered a competition for the idea and continued to build on it– creating a flourishing company and selling it. Not only that, he decided to keep his mitts off his funds and be smart about spending.

It’s heartening to hear that a college freshman underwent a long journey to success. Sometimes it can be discouraging when thinking about the long path ahead, but Gee proved that it is possible to achieve success while saving the millions and millions of money in the bank. Personally, I’m jealous of his life, but I’m also encouraged. He didn’t enjoy the office life, but enjoyed productivity and creation. Therefore, he decided to follow his passions– creating and traveling, as well as serving (they raised $75,000 to fund a school in India). He encourages others to follow their passions as well and is an embodiment of a wise millionaire.

The Mind Behind Tumblr

David Karp.

I had never heard of him before, but I probably should have. At a very young age, he taught himself how to code. Then, at the age of 21, David started a blogging website. (This was done while living in his parent’s house by the way.) You may have heard of it- its name is Tumblr. For David, it is the pursuit of creativity that drives him. He wanted to make a platform in which people could post content that would inspire others. Everyone is welcome there.

The site has millions and millions of blogs dedicated to everything under the sun. David realized that the market was in need of a communal blogging platform that was not solely videos, or pictures, or text, but all of these things packaged into a simple website. David is inspiring because he did not let his age get in the way of his business. When others saw him as young and inexperienced, David proved himself to be a capable and driven individual. He saw there was room for innovation and went to work. Eventually, his creation was purchased by Yahoo for 1.1 billion dollars. Today, Tumblr continues to grow and be culture all of its own.

You can visit the site by clicking the link below:

https://www.tumblr.com/

Jolt — A New and Innovative Concussion Prevention

Ben Harvatine, a wrestler and a junior MIT, had no idea that he had just suffered a concussion during one fateful practice. Unfortunately, neither did the MIT training staff. Ben continued to practice and compete, trying to push through what he thought was general fatigue or dehydration. When his dizziness persisted, he sought further treatment and was diagnosed with a concussion. This late diagnosis put his wrestling career on hold for a time and precipitated multiple hospitalizations. If Ben could have been diagnosed earlier, his injuries would likely have been much less severe.

While recuperating, Ben began to brainstorm ideas for how this type of situation could be prevented in the future. He and a friend, Seth Berg, eventually designed Jolt, a sensor that could be clipped on to virtually any type of sports headgear (helmet, hat, headband, etc.). Jolt would monitor head trauma during any physical activity and vibrate to alert the wearer of significant injuries. It would also send data and alerts via Bluetooth to an app on a smartphone, tablet, or other device. Jolt has a range of over 200 yards and a battery life of up to two months. Additionally, the app can monitor an unlimited number of sensors at once; and, another huge feature is that a Jolt sensor only costs $99.

This would allow sports players, coaches, or parents to monitor the head impacts sustained by the players. With the information Jolt provides, coaches, parents, trainers, etc. can know when their players suffer serious hits and decide whether the players should keep playing or stop. Jolt would act as an important prevention system to catch concussions before they worsen from further trauma.

In true entrepreneurial fashion, Ben Harvatine and Seth Berg found a need from personal experience and then brainstormed to solve that need. Now, their inventiveness is aiding players and coaches in the fight against concussions. Jolt is keeping players playing and protecting them in the process.

 

Jolt website — http://www.joltsensor.com/

Fever Smart – Colin Hill, Aaron Goldstein

In 2012, Colin Hill was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma right as he was about to start college at the University of Pennsylvania. Hill had to undergo extensive chemotherapy treatments, leaving him susceptible to life threatening infections, and a constant need to monitor his temperature to detect these infections as soon as possible. He would check his temperature consistently throughout the day, but at night, this became difficult. One night before he went to bed he had a normal temperature reading, but hours later he woke up with a dangerously high fever and was sent to the emergency room to treat the infection that he did not detect during the night.

He and other U Penn students, William Duckworth, Aaron Goldstein, and Becca Goldstein, began thinking of a solution to this problem. They developed Fever Smart, a smart device that constantly monitors the wearer’s body temperature, sends alerts to a smartphone/tablet/etc. via Bluetooth, as well as uploads the data to the cloud for access anywhere in the world. The device is only 32 mm long and is worn comfortably under the armpit. Although the hospital applications of Fever Smart are wide ranging, Fever Smart is marketed toward parents who want a way to effectively monitor their child’s temperature all throughout the night or when they are not present. Within months, they had a working prototype as well as FDA approval on the device. After an Indiegogo campaign for manufacturing funds raised 75% of its $40,000 goal in the first 24 hours, and then exceeded their goal with $65,000 raised, they launched Fever Smart in January of 2015.

Colin Hill and his group of entrepreneurs identified a significant problem through his own medical experiences, and the insight that those experiences gave them allowed them to formulate an innovative solution. None of the students had any medical background, and yet created a product that was a winner of Entrepreneur Magazine 2014, and can be utilized in the entirety of the medical field to improve healthcare. Fever Smart is just another example of a good idea coming from your personal experiences.

Resources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/fever-smart-patch-from-upenn-students-monitors-fevers-2014-8

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12181431.htm