Skandalaris Center

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Meet the Skandalaris Venture Competition (SVC) Finalists

Cora Pierce
November 14, 2022

The Skandalaris Center is excited for the upcoming finals of the Skandalaris Venture Competition on Wednesday, November 16th. The eleven finalist teams have already qualified for funds to support hosting summer interns in the summer of 2023, and on Wednesday they will present to a panel of expert judges and compete for up to $25,000 in funding. Check out our blog post to see a complete list of finalists and learn more about their ventures.

You’re invited to join us this Wednesday, beginning at 5:00 p.m., in Umrath Lounge for the Washington University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards presented by The Skandalaris Center, and be part of the celebration for all of our SVC finalists and announce those being awarded venture funding. You can RSVP here.

We had a chance to catch up with some of our finalists and ask them some questions to learn more about their ventures and share their advice for other entrepreneurs.

What problem are you solving?

Article 26: Financial education throughout primary school leaves individuals with a very basic understanding of savings and expenses and the financial system is extremely hard to navigate for yourself. The wealth gap is widening, and it will only continue if this generation doesn’t get access to the support and education they need. Article 26 is a personal finance platform that will empower users from diverse backgrounds like us to you make healthy rational financial decisions with confidence.

SideQuest: In a world where productivity is at an all-time low, and workplace camaraderie is scarce because of the increased prevalence of remote work, there needs to be a new fun way to approach goal-setting and accountability in the workplace and school setting. And that’s where SideQuest comes in. SideQuest is a gamified goal-setting application based on behavioral science principles to help you take significant milestones and break them down into tangible actions.

What do the next 3-6 months look like for you?

Papertrail: As the product is in alpha, over the next 3-6 months we will be adding exciting new features, expanding our user base, and seeking funding to scale up quickly! When you catch us at local car shows and clubs interacting with our community, say hi! If you like what we are doing and want to have a chat, reach out to any of us.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your venture?

Pool: Work with people who are different from you and can supplement your skills. Having a well-rounded team is crucial to development and helps you avoid group-think.

Flexure Medical: I learned how valuable mentorship can be. Mentors can provide you not only with knowledge, but context for that knowledge. Additionally, they can help point your venture in the right direction and help connect your venture with the right people.

What do you love about being an entrepreneur?

Society Hub: Everything. I feel like it fits my personality in that I’m very obsessive and I love to talk and work through problems all the time. The ups and downs are addicting and fun. It’s all just very exciting. Trying to start a business is such a great experience. I feel it really accelerates humility because very quickly you get a sense of what you can do, what your limits are, and what you cannot do.

What words of advice do you have for those starting a business?

ChiChi: My advice is the words of Reid Hoffman: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Don’t be afraid of failure, and don’t be afraid to get a product in the hands of customers as soon as possible.

Tutors for Us: My advice to someone who is starting a business is to create a business that connects with your passion. Entrepreneurship can be long hours at times so if you love it, you will never feel like you are working.  

StockSwap: After the inception of a business idea, I believe you should spend 100% of your time brainstorming different ways you can get traction. With traction comes the investment, team members, and resources you need to truly release your offering. 

What activities, student groups, professors, or classes had the biggest impact on you during your time at WashU?

MiDoc: St. Louis has an amazing and supportive community of entrepreneurs. They have each lent a helping hand to us. Most of all, the Skandalaris Center and the WashU Olin Business School network has been incredible, providing lectures and workshops to teach us about entrepreneurship. Special shout out to Cyril Loum, Doug Villhard, David Poldoian, Michael Wall, Rian Edwards, and our our mentors Abby Cohen and Elise Miller Hoffman.

Euler Science: The WashU physics machine learning club has helped to focus our goals, skills, and knowledge about the forefront of technology.