Day two of Entrepreneur Weekend expands generous support for Colgate student ventures

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Students discuss their ventures during day two of Entpreneurship Weekend. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Students discuss their ventures during day two of Entrepreneurship Weekend. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Day two of Colgate’s Thought Into Action Entrepreneur Weekend proved what Friday evening’s superstar panel had already established: Success is not a zero-sum game, especially when the players in question are student entrepreneurs in Colgate’s Thought Into Action (TIA) weekend mentorship program.

In a Shark Tank-like session on Friday night, three student ventures, each with solid potential for success, were deemed worthy of a $5,000 investment from Chegg, via CEO Daniel Rosensweig P’15’17, who also is former COO of Yahoo.

On Saturday, the alumni community celebrated Colgate’s commitment to entrepreneurship at a luncheon attended by 325 Colgate community members.

Julian Farrior ’93, founder of Backflip Studios, graciously received the university’s inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year award. (Watch video.)


“I got to Colgate, and this place allowed me to study philosophy. I studied art. I also went deep into mathematics,” Farrior said. “I realized I loved the creative process — that was the seed for a number of different choices I’ve made in my life.”

Julian Farrior '93 speaks to the audience after receiving Colgate's inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year award. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Julian Farrior ’93 speaks to the audience after receiving Colgate’s inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year award. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Those choices led him to create a number of different start-ups, culminating in Backflip Studios, which recently sold 70 percent of its shares to Hasbro for $112 million.

Five winners of Colgate’s 2014 Entrepreneurs Fund competition also were announced: Vern Clothing, Sapling Advisory, HUGS (Hamilton United Gift Shop), Prettier Please, and Late Date. Each venture will receive seed capital, incubator space for the summer in Hamilton, and intellectual resources from within the Colgate community.

Finally, luncheon attendees turned their attention to Shark Tank II, a second opportunity for TIA students to present their projects ideas for potential funding. David Fialkow ’81, P’17, co-founder of General Catalyst Partners, acted at once as mentor and auctioneer.

“Luck rewards a prepared mind,” said Fialkow, “but no matter how much luck plays a role, if you don’t know what you’re looking for and you don’t know what you want to accomplish, it’s hard to see an opportunity in real time.”

Nine groups, one by one, delivered pitches and answered questions. After each one, Fialkow drew out the financial support that will help students turn their thoughts into action. Hands shop up in rapid succession, offering support in increments of $250 or $500.

Before the afternoon ended, Fialkow’s firm had invested $25,000 and he had helped raise nearly $20,000 more from the audience — investments that will go into ventures including Bus Path, which installs GPS devices on Colgate Cruisers, to ENGAGE, an educational program designed to improve educational opportunities for underserved youth in the Baltimore area.

Read more about entrepreneurship at Colgate here.