Student Startups Make Summer Venture Program

Student startups

May 20th wasn’t the average move-in day for a group of 28 Babson students.

When they arrived, checked in, unpacked their backpacks, and plugged in their laptops, they weren’t settling into a new classroom or a new dorm. Instead, they were in private offices at WeWork. And rather than starting classes, they’re advancing their businesses in The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship’s Summer Venture Program (SVP).

Now in its 11th year, SVP is an immersive and intensive experience during which student startups build their businesses and their entrepreneurial skills along the way. SVP Director Bob Stringer looks forward to seeing what the teams will accomplish and how the startups will develop: “It will be fascinating this summer to watch the Babson entrepreneurs challenge and learn from each other and from the expert resources who will be available to the teams in SVP.”

The 2019 cohort of student startups represents a wide range of industries, from software to sports tech to social enterprises. Unique to this year’s cohort is one commonality: a B2B sales model. Stringer is taking note of this as he and the Blank Center team line up resources and programming: “Three quarters of this year’s SVP startups are B2B businesses, and one of their biggest challenges will be to better understand their customers and how buying decisions are made. We will try and provide the teams with the tools and techniques to be successful in a B2B sales situation.”

Teams receive free housing, 24/7 workspace, this year, at the newest WeWork location in downtown Boston, and dedicated advisors. During the 10 weeks, the student startups will benefit from workshops, guest speakers, office hours with experts, and, one of SVP’s most well-known sessions, the Hot Seat pitching critique.

New to this year is the SVP Fellows Program, sponsored by ACE & Company; the program is a need and milestone-based grant of $3,000 to pay for living expenses for the summer. The intent is to help student entrepreneurs with demonstrated financial need to participate in SVP unencumbered by the stress that would develop from not holding a job in the summer, and to solely focus on gaining traction with their business. The SVP Fellows are Joshua Hong ’21 (Zapp!), Oscar Flores MS’19 (Dottie), Richard O’Brien MBA’20 (Hoamsy), and Caleb Wursten ’19 (Daybreak)

Who Are This Year’s SVP teams?


Arist (Ryan Laverty ’20, Michael Ioffe ’21, Joseph Passanante, Maxine Anderson ’22), the world’s first SMS university, was recently honored as a finalist in Fast Company’s 2019 World-Changing Ideas competition.


CollegeSpot (Alisson Amaral ’21) is the first software for students to find near-peer mentors for college applications.


Daybreak (Caleb Wursten ’19, Ultan O’Callaghan) is a browser app that integrates proven and personalized break content into your schedule.


Dottie (Meagan Priest MS’19, Oscar Flores MS’19), one of the graduate finalists in this year’s Babson Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (B.E.T.A.) Challenge, helps people with memory challenges maintain independence and provides insights to doctors.

Growth Cave

Growth Cave (Lucas Lee-Tyson ’20) helps businesses grow online by providing online training focused on paid advertising.


Hoamsy (Richard O’Brien MBA’20) helps students efficiently find compatible roommates and homes within their student community.


Integrate (Wendi Kan ’22) catalyzes growth for Chinese students in American universities by helping them better interact in both social and professional settings in American culture.


Maja (Trevor Grode ’19, Ryan MacDonell ’20, Jack Rokous ’20, Roberto Salinas ’19) is the first CBD juice beverage that puts a friendly face on an intimidating product.

Porte Bags

Porte Bags (Elia Innamorati ’20) designs luxury travel carriers that ensure optimal organization and protection.


Rostock (Zach Cutler MBA’20, Alex Kennedy MBA’20, Chris St. Jean ’20) is a digital media services and software platform that crowdsources user-generated content to enable brand authenticity.


TopForm (Mike Carlson MS’19, Peter-Paul Grootens MS’19, Isaac Lewis MS’19) helps basketball players improve their shooting by leveraging technology and analytics.


Yad (Deborah Cohen ’19) is a social enterprise that aims to empower people with disabilities through art. Yad was the undergraduate winner of the 2019 B.E.T.A. Challenge and was recently accepted into the 2019 MassChallenge cohort.


Zapp! (Joshua Hong ’21) is a mobile platform that allows users to convert loose change electronically in an instant.

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