The third Startup Experience, designed to jumpstart students’ entrepreneurial spirit, took place earlier this month. The intensive two-day workshop paired sophomore, junior, and senior boys with alumni mentors to identify real world problems, create solutions and develop business models. At the end of the second day, teams of students pitched their start-up ideas to a panel of alumni judges.
Facilitator Henrik Scheel has led Startup Experience programs for organizations in 23 countries. Gilman was the first high school in the U.S. to take part. Scheel says the results in just a few days at Gilman are on par with the work he sees at the college level.
We thank the following alumni mentors and judges—all with business startup experience themselves– for giving so much of their time to the students. Several current parents also participated. Without them, the program would not have had the same impact:
David Brecher ’83, Office of David J. Brecher; Lawson DeVries ’96, Grotech Ventures; Jason Griswold ’93, Brown Aviation Lease; Phil Han ’04, Dooby’s; Chris Hlubb ’93, Marky’s Group, Inc.; David Kim ’97, C2 Education; Mark Komisky P ’23, Oculis Labs; Josh Levinson ’89, Charm City Run LLC; Jay Menton ’96, JAMCAP LLC; Charlie Moore ’76, DinnerTime; Mark Neumann ’81, 510 Ventures, LLC; Nick Owsley ’93, PromoSimple; James Piper Bond ’77, P ’18, Living Classrooms Foundation; Justin Shelby P ’20, ’22, Artichoke Client Management App; Hans Wittich ’80, Solargaines; William Zerhouni ’94, The Zerhouni Group, LLC; and David Zinreich ’94, Black Diamond Financial.
Mentors and judges were impressed with and inspired by the students’ creative thinking and hard work. David Brecher has participated for all three years and served as one of the judges this year. He observed, “It just keeps getting better each time.”
The prize for Best Pitch was awarded to Toshihiko Mori ‘16, Daniel Rachinsky ‘17, and Samuel Sobkov ’17 for Green Light. The Best Idea award went to Peter Kohler ‘16, Lucas Randrianarivelo ‘17, and Jordan Yaffe ‘17 for Safe Beat. View a photo gallery of the workshop.
Inspired by the workshop, students have started an entrepreneur club, and plans are in the works for a semester-long course.