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Minding Your Own Business

A group of Upper-School-students-turned-budding-entrepreneurs participated in the Startup Experience on Thursday and Friday, December 1 and 2. The experience was led by Henrik Scheel, an entrepreneur himself who founded the company by the same name, which brings the two-day intensive program to students and other audiences. The students learned about important concepts when starting a company, like how to choose team members who have different perspectives and how to brainstorm to get the best ideas.

In small groups, the students worked to come up with effective solutions to real-life problems. They researched trends and competitors and provided models for costs and revenue. The outcomes were wide-ranging. Several apps served students and teenagers specifically — to assist them on their fitness journeys, to improve their time management, to teach them financial literacy, to help them find jobs, and to connect them with slightly older peers at colleges where they are interested in applying. Other business proposals had different audiences. One idea was an app for families who are new to a neighborhood and want to make friends, and another was in support of mental health. One medically inclined group came up with a virtual-reality surgery that could be used to train medical students.

A group of business-minded alumni joined in throughout the experience to offer mentorship and advice. In the final two hours of the program, groups pitched their ideas to a panel of Shark Tank style judges (Nathaniel Badder ’94 referred to them as “dolphins” because they were not as scary), which included John Aviertt '01, partner at StepStone Group, Lawson Devries '96, general partner at Grotech Ventures, and Christy Wyskiel P'23, senior advisor to the president for innovation & entrepreneurship as well as executive director at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.

Young entrepreneurs who seek to delve further into the business world can enroll in Badder’s entrepreneurship class, held in the spring semester.

We thank the judges and the alumni mentors, listed below.

  • Luke Harlan '91 – Mindset Coach, Keynote Speaker, & Business Builder
  • Zach Ranen '14 – Founder & CEO, RAIZE
  • Kevin Robbins '94 – Co-Founder, Wolf Den Associations & General Partner, Blue Delta Capital Partners
  • Peter Wharton '77 – Chief Strategy and Cloud Officer, TAG Video Systems & President, Happy Robotz


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