Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Introducing Lucid

Team Name: Lucid LLC

Team:

Andrew Ashur ’18

David Danielson ’19

Adrian Mayans ’19

 

How We Got Here:

Back in the fall, we had an idea of a way to more efficiently and safely clean skyscrapers by using drone technology. Since then we have been off to the races, as we have obtained a provisional patent, developed a functional prototype, incorporated as an LLC in North Carolina, passed the FAA remote pilot license exam for commercial drone operation, and have begun earning revenue.

What We Do:

Currently, we are operating as an all encompassing pressure washing company for houses and we wash vinyl siding, brick, driveways, front stoops, fences, patios, etc. Additionally, we are continuing to further improve upon our prototype to enhance its efficiency and cleaning capabilities. Our prototype allows us to clean tall, hard to reach surfaces that had previously been dangerous to clean by combining the versatility of a flying drone with the cleaning capabilities of a pressure washer..

Where we’re going/what’s to come:

Lucid LLC has three big steps in the near future, with the first one being to add a new feature to our prototype that will allow us to easily clean windows with our drone. Secondly, we are applying to various accelerator programs and funding competitions to allow us to further develop our idea on a larger scale. Lastly, we will be working diligently with our lawyer to file our nonprovisional patent.

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Final Update

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

I would like to start by saying how grateful I am to Innovation & Entrepreneurship for allowing me to do this project. Through the Failure Fund I have been able to:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]1. Buy my own domain name[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4249″ image_size=”medium” custom_image_size=”869×100″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]2. Use managed wordpress hosting to build my site, econically.com[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4172″ image_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]3. Subscribe to the New York Times to make sure I always had access to trustworthy sources[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4314″ image_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]4. Purchase a kindle, a stylus and drawing app to make eye-catching images to go with my writing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4315″ image_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]5. Follow through on a project I’ve been wanting to pursue since my sophomore year[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”4170″ image_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]I cannot believe how quickly time has moved on this project, how much I have accomplished, and how much I have left to do. When I started this process, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. Every decision felt enormous, and I had no idea how to gauge whether or not a spending decision would be the right one. What if I bought a theme and it turned out not to work? What if I got a tablet and it turned out the drawings were awful? What if I promote the site and no one reads it anyway? Eventually, I kept reminding myself, and having Liz remind me, why I was given the funds in the first place: to take a risk.

A few things I know for certain have paid off:

  1. I love the writing. I’ve turned in blog posts for my independent study that have been longer than anything else I’ve written at Davidson except one semester long paper. I’ve spent ages digging into topics because I am determined to think everything through carefully and from as many angles as possible. I’m definitely going to keep writing post-graduation, and I’m really looking forward to it.
  2. The kindle-drawings work. Am I the best artist? Absolutely not. But I’ve decided that the look I ended up with, which I refer to as my “snarky kindergartener aesthetic,” works for the mood and tone of the blog, and I think will definitely grab people’s attention. I definitely plan to continue that as well.
  3. I pushed myself. Deciding to take on this project was scary in its own way, and new things are cropping up to frighten me in new ways. I had to get past second-guessing everything I wrote, and wondering if I had the authority to be speaking to these concepts. Yes, I do. I had to get past feeling like I needed to be certain about everything before trying anything. I remain certain about nothing, and I’ve accepted it. Now I’m working on the fear of backlash on my posts. Anything controversial on social media can get so ugly, and the more attention I bring to this website the more criticism I invite on my writing and my self. The old doubts about whether I am smart enough, educated enough, knowledgeable enough, are creeping in, and I’m afraid of what people will say. But I started this blog with a mission to educate and I won’t let fear get in the way of that either.

Moving forward, I will be using the remaining funds to advertise on social media and to pay people to edit posts and help create images as I split my focus a little more between generating content and attracting readers. I am really excited to see where this blog can go.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Introducing Econically.com

Name: Ellie Rifkin, daniellekrifkin.com

Team Name: Econically.com

How I Got Here: I was driven to start this blog by the level of toxicity in today’s politics, and the level of sensationalism: the conversations we have are so explosive and partisan that we ignore the major underpinnings. I initially started blogging about economics in English 201, but without the time or framework to continue, I put the project aside. Even though I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind for a long time, and have had encouragement from friends who say they appreciate when I take the time to explain things about economics to them–even though what they call “explaining things” I call “ranting.” Discovering that the Failure Fund program could provide me an opportunity to really develop the site, gain readership, and even attempt to turn it into a source of revenue, gave me the final push I needed.

What I Do: I blog about economic topics–theory, concepts, and current events– in a way intended to be accessible, understandable, and approachable to anyone with or without formal economics education. The topic ideas come from weekly econversations sessions, informal economics discussions with students lead by professor Shyam Gouri Suresh, who also provides guidance and feedback on the posts themselves as part of an independent study course that satisfies the writing requirement for the economics major.

Where I’m going/what’s to come: Now that the site is up and running and the content, with images, has been posted, I am ready to start in on building the site’s social media presence. From there, I can focus on drawing readership to the blog and getting to the point where I can begin to set up the blog for ad revenues.

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Failure Fund Reflection Post

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

NXT LVL performing at Davidson College Battle of the Bands
NXT LVL performing at Davidson College Battle of the Bands

next level ent team in logo shirts

Our Failure Fund experience has been an invaluable learning experience and huge first step for our company. We have grown so much from this experience. With our first installment of funds from the Failure Fund grant we were able to do many things. First, we successfully opened up a joint account with Wells Fargo. Second, We ordered 50 NXT LVL shirts and publicly announced the launch of our clothing line to the Davidson student body. Third, we set up a PayPal account for mobile transactions. Finally, we applied for and got approved as an LLC through the LegalZoom website.

While we were waiting for Phase 2 funds we had the privilege of connecting with Davidson Alumni. We spoke with lawyer, Doug Kim, to discuss the legal implications of starting a business and managing a clothing line. We also spoke with Matt Loftus and Kevin Hubbard, Davidson alumni and founders of the clothing company Rhoback. We had a really good conversation about what mistakes we need to avoid as young entrepreneurs, how to generate interest for our merchandise and stay competitive in this business. These men became our mentors for legal matters and for running a clothing business.  

During this process we learned about the tough side of business as well. Our lawyer, Lyle informed us that our company/group name NXT LVL ENT was already being used by other companies, specifically BET. As a result, our brand was no longer secure and we would have to change our name. It was unexpected but something we had to accept. After brainstorming and researching we came up with a new name for our company and group, Trilla G ENT. We used the Phase 2 money to help us pay for the trademark fees. We’ll announce our new name officially at the beginning of our senior year.

We ended this experience on a high note however. We were able to recruit nine other artists into NXT LVL ENT. These new members will help us grow as a brand and help us fulfill our goal of becoming a successful artist collective. We were also able to sell all 50 our Nxt Lvl shirts to people of all ages, colors, creeds and races. We’ve been able to establish ourselves as a force on campus and we’ve gained more fans since the start of this experience. We owe a lot of our recent success to the Failure Fund team and we’re all very grateful. We’re confident that with all of the knowledge, connections and experience we’ve gained we’ll be able to effectively and efficiently tackle new challenges that will come our way. We just want to say thank you to everyone on the Failure Fund Team![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Blog Post 5

A lot has happened these past two weeks. The biggest thing was the revelation made to us by our lawyer, Lyle. He informed us that our company/group name NXT LVL ENT was already being used by other companies, specifically BET. As a result, our brand was no longer secure and we would have to change our name. It was unexpected but something we should’ve seen coming. After brainstorming and researching we came up with a new name for our company and group, Trilla G ENT. We talked to Lyle and he told us that this name was safe to use so we’ll be pooling our resources together to pay for the trademark fees. We’ll announce our new name officially at the beginning of our senior year.

We had our big artist meeting with the potential prospects during Easter Break and it went great. Everyone was excited and they respected our vision. After talking with them individually and addressing their concerns we got them to agree to join our collective; so now our team is 10 members strong. We’ve finalized our budget and now the Phase 2 money from the Failure Fund is on the way and we’ll be allocating that money towards paying for the trademark fees. Last but not least, we’ve sold the majority of our Nxt Lvl Inventory. We only have a handful of shirts left and we aim to sell the rest within these next two weeks.

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Blog Post 5

We’re on facebook! And instagram! I’m still in a little bit of an editing backlog on posts but I have a few more that are just about ready and a few more in the works. To make sure staying up to date on social media is manageable I’m going to carve out time to come up with a bunch of posts to archive: some witty tweets, images to share, etc, and take the time to write a really thoughtful instagram bio and introductory post. I realized that even though I have my “about page” on the site, translating to social media is different and will take time.

One of my biggest concerns right now is consistency. I am spending a lot of time on each individual post (as, I think, I should be), and there is no way I’m going to be able to generate new content quickly, as much as I might like to. I don’t want to get people to my page and then have them forget about it because the gaps between posts are too long, so I’m working on ideas to fill the gaps.

Categories
Startup Student Testimonial

Z Spools Reflection 9

Although this week included Easter Break, it feels busier than any other. Considering my

dedication to Dance Ensemble — with me performing in four pieces, three of which I am

choreographing myself — I have not been able to dedicate all of the time I wished to Z Spools.

Now that I am reflecting on my work, I realize that I greatly overburdened myself with other

activities that I care much about but play no role in my academic pursuits. It also did not help

that my laptop got a virus this week and, for this reason, was out of commission. Next semester, I

will have to pay more attention to this tendency of mine as to avoid any unnecessary stress.

 

This is not to say that I did not accomplish anything this week. I was able to do a bit of

reflection regarding my work with Z Spools. Such reflection focused mainly on how I will use

my remaining Avinger Funds. While I do need to use funding for filament testing (mainly

transparency and strength testing) such services are quite expensive — upwards of $2,000. My

utility patent will already cost me approximately $3,000, so I will need to be a bit frugal with my

spending. While I do have the option of seeking angel funding — more particularly angel

funding or sponsorship from Filabot — I risk loosing 100% ownership of Z Spools and its

intellectual property.

 

Not just this, but to be completely honest, I feel as if I am loosing excitement with my

work with Z Spools. Do I want to invest much more money into a project that I am not as excited

about? I think talking to Filabot may help with this decrease in Z Spools charisma. During our

interview for a blog post, I foresee our conversation reigniting my curiosity for 3D printing. I

look forward to this as I further this relationship with Z Spools.