Startup Stories

Last Wednesday, Entrepreneurship@Dyson held Startup Stories: a panel of distinguished student entrepreneurs! Each student gave valuable insight into their companies from how they got started to where they will be going next!

Siddhant Sachdev (‘17) Brews Success

Siddhant Sachdev (A&S ‘17) claims to “not be a coffee person,” but if he had to have a cup, he’d opt for a caramel frappuccino. Although you won’t find him drinking a standard cup of coffee, he’s brewing something more powerful: knowledge.

Ezra Box: Cornell’s Storage Solution with Karnavat (’17) and Tayal (’16)

For many people, summer is a time for friends, sun, and relaxation. That is, unless you need to find a place to store your stuff. In short, many college students who live far away from their university campuses struggle to find local storage facilities to house their belongings over long breaks and avoid the hassle of bringing them back home. Similarly, even when students are successful in finding a place to store their clothing, these facilities charge high storage fees that can put a damper on anyone’s summer fun.

Fortunately, Cornell students won’t face this problem for much longer. A team of Cornell students recently founded Ezra Box: a peer to peer platform that helps students who need storage space find other Cornell students with more than enough space to spare. The platform currently operates as a website, and matches Cornell student renters with hosts to find the ideal storage solution.

Sweet Cardamom with Michele Pothen (’18)

Starting in 2014, Michele Pothen (’18) and her sister Meril created a sweet entrepreneurial venture: Sweet Cardamom! The dessert company features hand-crafted designs on their signature sugar cookies. The girls have dealt with both successes like completing a 400 cookie count order and challenges such as prioritizing school and work over baking. In this interview, Michele discusses more about her family business from the meaning behind its name to what’s it like working with her sister!

Grooming Therapy with Darron Irving (’17)

For decades, Blacks and Latinos in the United States have had to manage with a remarkably lackluster selection of cosmetic accessories and hair products, an issue recently brought to mainstream attention through avenues such as the documentary Good Hair by comedian Chris Rock. This dilemma has extended to Cornell’s campus, whereby students have commonly cited difficulties finding suitable – and physically present – solutions for their specific hair needs.

Raising a Village with Shaibyaa Rajbhandari (’18)

Like any good entrepreneur, Cornell student Shaibyaa Rajbhandari (’18) hears the word “problem” and immediately thinks, “opportunity.” Shaibyaa is the proud founder of Utthan: a multidimensional investment company designed to create long-term recovery following the destruction of the earthquake in Nepal. Utthan, which means “uplifting” in Nepali, has since received an award from Entrepreneurship at Cornell to continue its efforts to support income for people in Nepal by donating goats following the earthquake.

Catherine Wei (’19) and the Boston Marathon Snack Shack

This spring, Entrepreneurship@Dyson welcomes a few new writers. Say hello to Catherine Wei! As a freshman, Catherine is interested in pursuing entrepreneurship and marketing concentrations within the Applied Economics and Management major. She is excited to share her passion for entrepreneurship and connect with students and alumni for Entrepreneurship@Dyson. Today, Catherine will be sharing her first business experience: the Boston Marathon Snack Shack!

Love in Every Stitch with Sakib Jamal (’19)

Sakib maintains his own blog dedicated to covering entrepreneurship, and recently tried his hand at starting his own social enterprise called Chitro Social. Chitro provides an online platform for women in rural Bangladesh with low-incomes to design and sell hand-made products to earn a living wage. While Chitro has had its successes, Sakib’s experience has endowed him with a remarkably mature view of entrepreneurship, and he recognizes that he has also encountered many challenges in his work. As an active Cornell student, Sakib struggles to juggle his responsibilities to school and his business, forcing him to step back and consider giving away the rights to his company in a potential merger deal. Like any good parent, Sakib realizes that it may be time to let go.

Mark Your Calendars: Calmeet Launched by Aditya Rahalkar (’14)

Meetings. They’re a nuisance before you even show up. Why? Following an endless stream of emails, text messages, and Doodle Polls, you’ve spent so much time figuring out when to meet, you’ve forgotten what you were supposed to talk about. Having lost so much time, you start to think, “Somebody needs to hold a meeting to discuss how to plan meetings.”

Better put that conversation on hold, as there’s finally a better way. Introducing Calmeet: a revolutionary app that helps you and the people you care about find the ideal time to get together.

Julian Moraes (’18) and the Hyperloop

In 2013, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his wildest idea yet: the Hyperloop. Musk envisioned the Hyperloop as a fifth transportation system that could get you from Cornell’s campus to see your favorite artist at Madison Square Garden in under thirty minutes. While for many of us, this seems like technology fit for science fiction novels, it’s becoming increasingly real for one group of Cornell students.

MacroFuel Part II: Running a Successful Kickstarter

MacroFuel was founded at Cornell in 2015 during the Spring semester. The company has designed a healthy meal supplement for busy people looking for a quick and nutritionally complete food alternative. For more details on their founding and what it is like to start a company at Cornell, see part one of the MacroFuel story.…

Embracing Uncertainty: Zach Steele ’15 on His Startup Internship Experience

Especially in the midst of interview season for summer internships, others’ experiences often provide a wealth of knowledge. Though many students tend to be entrepreneurial-minded, they tend to be hesitant about interning for start-ups as uncertainty plays a large role in their decision-making. Below are comments from Zach Steele ’15 on his internship experience at a start-up, SWAN Medical, last summer. This past…

CUSummit Q&A: Student Entrepreneur, Roshni Mehta ’15, Going The Whole Nine Yards to Make the World Better, One Product at a Time

I met Roshni through AIESEC my freshman year so I was thrilled to see a familiar face at the Entrepreneurship Summit. The fact that one of my peers has started her own business is incredibly exciting! Finding a balance between academics, extracurriculars, and a social life is tough as it is; running a business on top of that is…