Thomas H. Scholl Awards Fuel Launchpad Innovations
Funding from former Stevens trustee Thomas H. Scholl helps student teams develop innovation in education, healthcare, the arts and civic engagement.
Each year, Launchpad@Stevens supports entrepreneurial-minded students as they develop their ideas into commercial applications. “Launchpad students are passionate about solving real problems,” says Professor Mukund Iyengar, who oversees the program. “We guide and support them through the steps involved in bringing a new product to market, including building prototypes, conducting market research and attracting investors.”
The most promising Launchpad ideas get a boost from the Thomas H. Scholl Launchpad Awards. Awards are based on companies’ underlying ideas as well as students’ readiness to build, providing additional incentives – and resources – to move forward. This year, nine student teams received Scholl Awards:
Combining his passion for photography and technology, founder Benjamin Hayden, Class of 2024, developed a platform that instantly creates 3D photo-galleries that can auction a small collection of photos in the metaverse.
Founder Anthony J. Mauceri, Class of 2024, launched the first consumer resin deposition 3D printing company in the world. His goal is to enable creativity by providing a safe and affordable resin 3D printer that anybody can use.
A notification system for those tracking blood sugar levels co-founded in June 2022 by Arianna Gehan, Class of 2024, and Frank Pinnola ’22. Daia won the Hudson County intercollege pitch competition to secure $10,000 in awards to bootstrap this company.
Co-founders Nicholas Cali ’23, Zachary Marvin ’23 and Scott Herzberg, Class of 2024, devised a drone detection and tracking system and are working toward a U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant.
Bryan Kyritz ’22, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in computer engineering, is building a platform to tokenize real-estate to change the way we rent and buy property.
A platform for promoting civic engagement and bringing democracy into the 21st century, co-founded by Brendan Probst, Class of 2024, and Samuel Schmitt ’23.
A video conference and chat tool that runs within most browsers, meaning that no app or software needs to be downloaded to devices, co-founded by Bryan Kyritz ’22, Marcos Aurelio Salazar Torres ’23, Christopher Rodriguez, Class of 2024, and Justin Trugman ’20 M.Eng. ’21.
Founders Vasili Karalewich and Daphne Kalkanis, both Class of 2024, have created a service that provides weekly deliveries of personalized outfits to reduce the waste caused by fast fashion.
An interactive podcast service that helps users visualize complex subjects created by founder Burak Yesil, Class of 2024.
The Launchpad@Stevens community works together to decide who receives Thomas A. Scholl Launchpad Awards. Past Launchpad participants who have incorporated companies are consulted, as are current mentors and successful entrepreneurs who serve as judges at student company pitch competitions.
“We look for teams that are prepared for continuous progress, and that demonstrate commitment to their project,” Dr. Iyengar explains. “Recipients use the funds in a variety of ways, depending on what their project need – software, website hosting, marketing materials, or supplies.”
Since it began, Launchpad has produced 20 portfolio companies. The program averages three new incorporations every year. Importantly, these enterprises are getting attention from some of the world’s most renowned investors, such as YCombinator and Sequoia Capital. Notable success stories include:
Perl Street, a special purpose vehicle for financing hardware-driven company expansion, received backing from Y-Combinator in 2022. Although Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dakota Wikom ’17 M.S. ’17 is a few years past graduation, his venture is standing the test of time as a sustainable business.
In 2022 Sutro, a platform for building and sharing mobile apps, received support from Sequoia Capital, the #1 venture capital firm in the world. 2018 iSTEM participant Hayden Daly ’21 recently joined the start-up as its third employee.
High performance 3D printing accessory provider Fulament was founded by former Stevens student Bahij Nemeh, who has since chosen not to continue his education at Stevens. Bahij bootstrapped his start-up from $10,000 to $1.6 million in annual recurring revenue in just three years and is in talks with 1517.
“We envision exporting our model of entrepreneurship education to the world,” notes Dr. Iyengar. “Thanks to philanthropic investments in Launchpad, we are graduating changemakers, dreamers, thinkers, doers, and champions of technology.”