Two student ventures among Coolest College Startups

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Last month, while the sports world was reveling in March Madness, entrepreneurs were tuning in to Inc. magazine’s Coolest College Startup competition to see which of 16 ventures would win the 2017 title.

This year, Colgate was the only university represented twice on the brackets — and both ventures made it to the third round of the competition, thanks to votes from the public: Trippie, the airport-guidebook app launched by Ryan Diew ’17 and Samantha Braver, and swimwear company Fair Harbor, founded by Jake ’16 and Caroline ’19 Danehy.

“We were incredibly thrilled and humbled to be chosen as one of the 16 Coolest College Startups,” Caroline Danehy said. “We definitely wouldn’t be in the position that we are in today if it weren’t for the support of Colgate’s Thought Into Action incubator and community at large.”

Thought into Action pairs alumni and parent mentors with student entrepreneurs, providing the guidance and encouragement that undergraduates need to identify and overcome problems through new business start-ups. Fair Harbor and Trippie have also earned venture funding during the university’s Entrepreneur Weekend Shark Tank pitch competitions.

“It’s a really exciting time for Fair Harbor right now as we are set to launch our fourth line in the next week,” Danehy said. “We are excited to kick off the summer and continue our momentum.”

Trippie has logged nearly 500 downloads on Apple’s app store. Diew and Braver are preparing additional airport layouts and other features for future releases.

“I came into Colgate with zero business experience and zero computer science background,” Diew said. “I have now successfully developed and iOS application and founded a top college startup. That is the power of the liberal arts education in a nutshell.”

Inc. solicited entries for its Coolest College Startups competition in December of last year and received nearly 100 applications. The magazine judged companies based on concept, growth potential, and the quality of the pitch. Whittling the list down to 16, they launched their website and opened voting to the public, which cast thousands of votes for Colgate’s twin ventures.