Blog: May 2012

By Sohara Mehroze Shachi

The first speaker at this year’s YEI boot camp was Ka Mo Lau (YEI ’08), cofounder and Chief Financial Officer of PaperG  – an advertising technology company and online platform that enables businesses to connect over the summer and which was recently named one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies in America.

Ka Mo had some insightful and, at times, counter-intuitive insights to share with the fellows.  Here are his top 3 take-aways:

1.Ignore (most) advice. Listen to people’s logic and arguments to find out facts, but walk along your own path to explore your idea. You have to be willing to bet on your assumption and the only way to figure out if it works is to try it out.

2.Don’t get involved with a start up unless you are willing to do intense work – this is not a 9 to 5 job and hours will be long. If you are the head of the company, think about how different perks can incentivize employee behavior and effect morale.

3. Choose the right advisors. There are two kinds of advisors – those who give industry-specific advice and those who give high-level operational advice – and both are valuable. Use their time wisely and make sure you approach them with specific requests so that you can elicit helpful responses.

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By Sohara Mehroze Shachi
Jason Dzilinski and Sohara Mehroze


Hello everyone!

Welcome to the summer blog of Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. I am Sohara Mehroze Shachi, the Social Media and Program assistant for YEI and a graduate of Yale College class of 2012. Along with Jason Dzilinski, my fellow social media guru, I’ll be keeping you updated on the summer fellowship, a 10-week business boot camp for promising, scalable ventures here at Yale.

This year, 12 student business ventures have each won fellowships (and up to $20,000 in grant funding) to pursue their ideas. They’ve moved into the YEI Incubator on Yale’s campus and started a “48 Hour Challenge” to make a key advance in their business in just two days.

Updates will be coming soon, so keep your eyes on the blog. Here’s to an exciting


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By Jason Dzilinski


In April, the Yale Entrepreneurial Society hosted the 2012 Yale Venture Challenge, which judges Yale ventures on their business models and implementation in the real world.

Industry professionals and business leaders reviewed the 22 applications this year and “the top 6 plans, determined by score, advanced to the final round,” said YES’s co-president Tony Wu (YC '13).  These six finalists pitched at YES’s Innovation Summit, competing to win a total of $25,000 in prizes to expand their startups.

Kevin Ryan, CEO and founder of Gilt Groupe, an online high-end flash sale site, was the keynote speaker of the Innovation Summit. “Ryan encouraged students to go out and try new ventures and not to be afraid,” said Avery Faller (YEI ’11, YC ’11), a co-founder of Roammeo, one of the finalists.

Ultimately, the panel of five judges awarded the first-place, $15,000-prize to Roammeo (YEI ’11), a series of web and mobile apps that help students find events going on around them in real time.  Roammeo’s CEO (Chief Exploration Officer) Jessica Cole (YC ’12) said of the win, “I was thrilled and realized that any number of us could have been in the top three due to everyone’s hard work and dedication to their companies.” Roammeo plans to use the prize to expand their web site, add new features, capabilities, and expand to the New York City and Washington D.C. markets this summer.

Second place and $7,000 went to 2012 YEI Summer Fellowship team, Red Ox Technologies, which is commercializing an electrochemical fuel cell based on Yale University technology.   “When the winners were announced, I was very excited,” said co-founder Claire Henly (YC ’12). “There were many great teams in the running and the pitches were impressive so to be there in the top three was a good feeling.” Red Ox plans to use the money to grow their scientific team to further their proof of concept.  

Little Salad Shop, a quick service restaurant focusing on healthy and customizable salads, wraps, and smoothies, won the $2,000 third place prize.  The process, co-founder Etkin Tekin (YEI ’11, YC ’12) said, “kick-started a lot of work that will go toward opening 2 more locations this summer.”

“The other teams were very impressive and put up stiff competition,” said Faller. “I’m happy to see that there is so much entrepreneurial spirit at Yale.”

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