for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
at Davidson College

Hub & Spoke

Carson Crochet & the Comfort of a
Naked Mole-Rat

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A Quick Overview

After having the initial idea for the venture that would become CA’Buddy, Carson reached out to the Hurt Hub@Davidson to get to work. She received an initial grant which propelled her into life at the Hurt Hub. After connecting with Liz Brigham, Carson gained even more mentors, to help with web design, financial modeling, and more. 

The big question on everyone’s mind: where’s that $25,000 going? Carson has big plans for her winnings. Part of the funds will be going towards product development and the research and design process behind her product. Carson is also in the process of developing a picture book to go along with a buddy. Carson hopes to create a book to explain the diagnosis of cancer through the eyes of a naked mole rat, making a difficult process easier for younger cancer patients. Carson also plans on adding more people to her team, getting storage space for her current products (that’s not her dorm room), and focusing some efforts on marketing and audience research.  

Although Carson would love to dive into CA’Buddy full time after graduation, that’s not immediately possible. Eventually, Carson wants to return to school to get a dual degree – a Masters in Divinity and an MBA to continue with CA’Buddy. While CA’Buddy is currently for-profit, the goal, eventually, will be to transition to a non-profit organization. The Hurt Hub is incredibly proud of Carson and all her hard work, and we can’t wait to see where she and CA’Buddy go from here!  

Be sure to check out and follow CA’Buddy on Instagram @cabuddyclub.

Alum Article Startup Student

The Nisbet Venture Pitch Competition, 2022

On Thursday, April 21st, the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship trekked over to the Knobloch Campus Center to host the Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition. Of our eight competing teams, the Davidson classes of 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, and 2024 were represented, as well as a diverse range of majors. With over 60+ attendees, our pitch competition was ready for success. 

To break it down 

There are two tracks any Davidson student or recent alumni can choose to compete in. The Incubation Track is intended for newly formed ideas and all competitors are eligible to win $2,500. The Acceleration Track’s competitors have invested more time and resources into their idea prior to the time of application and the winner receives $25,000 for their pitch. This year, five ventures competed on the Incubation Track and three ventures competed on the Acceleration Track.

Our panel of judges, Anjali Shah, Kristi Mitchem, W. Spencer Mitchem, and Jay Hurt, listened to eight pitches throughout the night. Incubation teams presented two-minute pitches and Acceleration teams presented their ideas for five minutes, followed by a two-minute Q&A panel.  

Now onto our winners

All eight ventures were eligible to win our Audience Choice award, where the team with the most audience votes would win $5,000. Rise Together won this year’s Audience Choice. Founded by Tasos Pagounas ‘23 and Christos Koumpotis ‘23, Rise Together is a job searching application that matches young professionals with opportunities based on their skillsets. As young people and as unemployment rates in youth groups continue to grow, Rise Together focuses on connecting talent with small businesses to combat rising rates. 

Tasos and Christos during the pitch

For the Incubation track, Davidson NFTickets took the top prize. Davidson NFTickets was conceived and created by Olsen Budanur ‘23, Andrew Beamer ‘24, Niya Ma ‘24, and Danny Oukolov ’24. When Davidson and other colleges sell tickets to games, shows, or other events, they often use a third-party system to distribute and sell the tickets. Davidson NFTickets proposes a decentralized system to sell and purchase tickets using NFTs. With a massive NFT market starting to bloom, Davidson NFTicket’s venture is set up for success. 

Davidson NFTickets presenting

Our Acceleration track winner is Carson Crochet with her venture: CA’Buddy. After learning that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, Carson wanted to give her something. She ended up gifting her a small crocheted bunny and sending it to her mom. The small bunny plush soon become a source of comfort for her mother and enabled the two of them to talk about difficult subjects in an easier way. Carson realized that other cancer patients might benefit from the same sort of comfort. Instead of bunnies, Carson decided to start making plush naked mole rats because they are extremely resistant to cancer. Carson’s plush toys can be ordered and sent as a patient care package, for just $35. Carson received the top prize of the night: $25,000 to continue her work in CA’Buddy, pro bono legal services from Michael Brand, and free financial consulting from Northwestern Mutual. Congratulations Carson!

Carson pitching CA’Buddy

The Hurt Hub is so proud of all the contestants and all they’ve accomplished! Thank you to all the volunteers and Hurt Hub team for putting on another successful competition season.

Hub & Spoke

What Are the Three L’s? – Frank Myers ’82

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A Quick Overview

Frank Myers ’82 graduated from Davidson with a degree in Philosophy and a focus in language and logic (two of the L’s). An important note, Frank’s degrees weren’t in tech, but he’s worked for Red Hat, Osprey, and is currently working at Splunk – all tech and cybersecurity start-ups. Moving from language and logic, Frank realized that code was nothing more than just that – a special kind of language and some logic.  

Frank is currently a strategic advisor for clients at Splunk, an American software company based in San Francisco. Frank spends a lot of his time thinking about the construct of innovation. Innovation is baked into the core of Splunk’s values and, for Frank, innovation comes down to how you recognize and address change. Can you take advantage of the changes being made or how can you address the challenges the changes create? 

Like many Davidson grads, the liberal arts education Davidson provides, prepared Frank to be a continual learner (the final L!) throughout his career. For students and soon-to-be graduates, Frank recommends taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and fostering this time into an effort for continual learning. “The people who are serial learners and are constantly learning are the ones who are going to be able to see opportunities and take advantage of them,” he says. 

Article Discussion

Meet the Nisbet Venture Fund Finalists!

Meet the eight teams competing in this year’s Nisbet Venture Fund compeition

The Finalists


CA’Buddy, aka “Cancer Buddy,” provides cancer patients with care packages and plush treatments buddies, while donating a portion of profits to underfunded cancer research.


A job searching application that matches young professionals with potential opportunities based on their skillset. Our vision is to help communities grow by connecting talent with small businesses that need it.

My Access Abroad

My Access Abroad ignites opportunities abroad and empowers people to achieve personal freedom. In addition to helping others on their international journey, we’re working to make the workplace of the future more diverse and inclusive, opening conversations about unconscious biases, and increasing opportunities abroad for low-income and underrepresented communities.

Davidson NFTickets

NFTickets is a decentralized system to sell and purchase tickets with a resell royalty. It allows organizers to issue/sell tickets for their events (whether that may be a sports event, a concert, or a party) as an NFT, and get paid in royalties whenever the ticket is sold on the secondhand market.

YMLX by Yami

YMLX by Yami is an online clothing brand
offering more than 100 in-stock clothing items to young, fashionable women. We wish to bring all women confidence while making them look and feel good.

GZM Group

Our mission at GZM is to provide affordable, analytical, and effective media marketing services to small businesses that are ready to make the transition to the digital era. We equip businesses with the tools and resources needed to establish financially and socially strong brands, while helping them engage with the highly relevant Generation-Z.

Portfolio Kings

Crypto consulting services- educating and guiding customers through the new and continually changing world of cryptocurrencies and digital assets.

Black is Womxn

“Black Is Womxn” is a collection of NFT’s making space for Black womxn by Black womxn. As four Black womxn artists, we aim to transform NFT platforms into a space to grow, educate, and create community.

It’s time to vote on your favorites!

From Wednesday, April 13th at 10am EST until 10am EST on Wednesday, April 20th, we will host open voting for your favorite Nisbet Venture Fund Finalist! Check out the teams, their pitches, and their mentors below and vote for your favorite. You can only vote once per day, so come back daily to support your team in taking down the “Crowd Favorite” honors with a cash grant at our Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 21, 6 PM. Register here.

Hub & Spoke

The Mental Mindgames of Consulting Management

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This week on Hub & Spoke [SPARKS] host, Jared Herr ‘22 sits down with Cynthia Beiler, the owner of Leverage Mind Consulting. From revenue to sales operations, to finding investors, Cynthia is focused on helping her clients and removing hurdles from the sales process. Learn more about Cynthia’s opinions on the power our minds have over our behaviors and her advice for all students entering the workforce.
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A Quick Overview

Four years ago, Cynthia Beiler started her own consulting firm, Leveraged Mind Consulting. Cynthia’s area of expertise lies in revenue. Whether that’s helping drive revenue, advising sales operations, or helping clients find investors, Cynthia focuses on positioning her clients to always have interested buyers.  

Behind the scenes, Cynthia is focused on the mental aspects of sales and innovation for her company. Cynthia points to the power our minds have over our behaviors to influence how she tackles problems. Personally, Cynthia wanted to fix the world’s problems, but she quickly realized it had to start internally before she could hope to affect others. Using this line of thinking, Cynthia took a deep dive into understanding the minds of salespeople to guide and lead effectively. 

Similarly, Cynthia’s definition of innovation comes from the point of view of tackling problems mentally. Cynthia approaches every problem with a blank slate. This, she says, allows for innovation. Not getting stuck in the past or the old ways of solving problems, allows clients to innovate new solutions and new situations.  

Finally, Cynthia advises seeking joy in the workplace, whether that’s the culture, the people, or what you’re doing. Ideally, it’s a combination of all three!

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