Dan Cohen named John C. Whitaker, Jr. Executive Director

After a successful fifteen-year career as an entrepreneur that included founding, growing, and ultimately selling his startup, Dan Cohen transitioned to academia full time in 2005 when he accepted a position teaching entrepreneurship and strategy courses at The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business from 2005-2007. While at the University of Iowa, Cohen earned accolades for teaching, advising and mentoring excellence before moving on to Cornell University from 2007 to 2015. While at Cornell, Dr. Cohen taught courses on entrepreneurship and business at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels and founded and directed eLab–Cornell’s entrepreneurship accelerator program hailed by Forbes Magazine as a major driver of Cornell’s ascent to a #4 national ranking in entrepreneurship. Professor Cohen was also awarded Cornell’s Robert N. Stern Memorial Award for Mentoring Excellence in 2012.

In 2015, Cohen moved on to Wake Forest University as a Full Professor of Practice in business and entrepreneurship. In 2016 Cohen co-founded Startup Lab and became more integrally involved in the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship. In the summer of 2017, Cohen was named the John C. Whitaker, Jr. Executive Director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship while remaining a full Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship. In terms of research, Professor Cohen studies how nascent entrepreneurs develop passion for entrepreneurship and how, and under what conditions, they form an entrepreneurial identity. Cohen also researches how entrepreneurs develop key capabilities such as how to spot and develop valuable opportunities.

Startup Lab alumn accepted in MassChallenge Boston accelerator

Congratulations to Jake Teitelbaum, founder and CEO of Resilience Project, for being accepted into the prestigious MassChallenge Boston accelerator.

Read about him here.

Updog Kombucha featured in Bevnet – how brands are building on campus

Olivia Wolff and Lauren Miller of UpDog Kombucha, are featured in a recent article on BEVNET

Learn about how they started UpDog Kombucha and their time in Startup Lab here at Wake Forest.


Demo Day 2017

At our end-of-the-year Excellence Gala, we celebrated the inaugural class of Startup Lab by kicking off the event with demonstrations and presentations given by each involved student team.

Professors Dan Cohen and Greg Pool spoke in support of the hard work the students have been putting into their burgeoning businesses. Cohen stated that “So much sweat equity went into today’s presentations,” and it absolutely showed.

Here is an inside look on all the ventures developed in Startup Lab this semester:

Simpull Cork is an integrated loop system in synthetic cork which allows a consumer to open a wine bottle without the use of external tools and for the original cork to be placed back into the bottle and reused. Its goal is to revolutionize the wine opening experience, and Arthur Willson and Hannah Shows have made significant progress this year, specifically within finding the appropriate distribution model. To learn more about their venture, visit simpullcork.com.

Niki’s Kitchen is a line of fresh, multi-use refrigerated salad dressings inspired by family recipes passed down three generations. Their signature produce is an Italian vinaigrette, which they have been validating locally at family restaurant locations for 15 years. George and Tina Papakonstantinou have worked tirelessly to bring their family dressings to its own individual brand and light and are now selling at getnikiskitchen.com.

Buzz Band is a stylish band to be worn around the wrist of a parent and child. The band is equipped with small GPS technology and vibration capabilities and allows parents to keep track of their children’s location via an app on their phone. Jordan Banks is currently working on surrounding herself with the perfect startup team. To learn more about Buzz Band, visit buzzbandsafety.com.

Higher Art Galleries is an online gallery platform that supports student artists as well as university art departments. It markets and sells student work in the form of original or reproduction pieces, delivering quality, student-made artwork at affordable prices. Brook Einbender, Zanny Dow, and Hana Polizzotto are all moving to New York City this summer to further develop Higher Art Galleries. To follow along on their adventure, visit higherartgalleries.com.

Resilience Project works with financially disadvantaged cancer patients to design and produce a pair of socks; allowing each patient to bring their own personality to treatment. For each pair sold, Resilience donates half of net proceeds back to the patient to help them pay for expenses related to treatment. Jake Teitelbaum, a cancer patient himself, launched this venture with his own treatment experience in mind. To purchase a pair of socks, visit resilience.gives.

Presto Nail Art provides a semi-autonomous nail art service with advanced nail printers. Customers can choose the color, pattern, or image to be printed on their fingernails. Presto’s goal is to eliminate the service and price discrepancy caused by human nail technicians and standardize the manicure industry. To see the results of Alan Luo’s work, visit Instagram.com/prestonailusa.

Updog Kombucha is a local small-batch kombucha microbrewery started out of a Wake Forest dorm room. It is made using local and organic ingredients and is packed with naturally occurring probiotics, enzymes, and acids that support digestive and immune health. Lauren Miller and Olivia Wolff have grown out of their first commercial kitchen and have recently discovered their kegerator distribution model is a hit and can be instituted other places as well. Learn more at updogkombucha.com.

Puttr is an interactive golf-aid designed to help golfers of all levels improve the most difficult part of the game: putting. The iOS app provides golfers with interactive 3D greens that have contoured grid lines and color indexed elevation data. These easy to use models help the golfer more accurately read their putts and shave critical strokes off their game. To learn more about Jackson Griffin, Clancy Waugh, Alec White and their venture, visit puttrgolf.com.

A “Flower-side chat” with Lindsay Chambers ’00

At our end-of-year Excellence in Entrepreneurship Gala, Provost Rogan Kersh facilitated a “flower-side chat” with Lindsay Chambers (’00), an award-winning interior designer and this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, which is an award that recognizes a WFU alumnus, parent, or friend who has demonstrated unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a Wake Forest mindset of creativity and social responsibility.

Chambers was recently named the top female custom home developer under 40 in the state of California. She tapped into this market of living in a well-designed home after, oddly enough, studying history at Wake Forest. In her chat with Provost Kersh, she equated her history degree with applied psychology: instead of reading about a Napoleon complex, she was reading about Napoleon. This gave her the creative mindset to think critically about people and what they want and need specifically from a design point of view.

One of her greatest Wake Forest takeaways was carrying the spirit of the Pro Humanitate with her wherever she goes. She urges students to continue practicing service and kindness once they leave: “It is so important to give back and do something for humanity. I am as proud to do that as I am of my work accomplishments.”

We are so thankful Lindsay was able to come back to campus and share her words of wisdom with us! We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Paúl Pauca appointed the Lelia and David Farr Faculty Chair of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Paúl Pauca, professor of computer science, is taking the reigns as faculty director of the ICE program. Professor Pauca’s specialized interests are in computational imaging science, data analysis, mobile computing, and entrepreneurship with applications in space surveillance (detecting and identifying man-made objects orbiting the Earth), remote sensing through LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging, biometric identification, and human-computer interaction for disabilities.
Pauca was named one of the top 20 NBC Latino Innovators of the year in 2012. His interest in mobile computing and entrepreneurship arose from the tremendous need he saw in local schools for children with disabilities for modern and affordable assistive technology, particularly associated with speech and communication.

Through his research and teaching work, Professor Pauca and his students have been turning mobile devices and wearable sensors into assistive tools for people with disabilities. His initial work, an iPhone/iPad app called Verbal Victor, has been featured in media outlets nationally and internationally. He is passionate about helping students discover computer science through hands-on experimentation, teamwork, and an applications-first approach.

Along with colleagues Drs. Burg and Santago, Professor Pauca recently developed the STEM incubator initiative allowing underclassmen and non-computer science students to explore computer science through real-world applications and hands-on problem solving. Some of the projects that have been developed through the STEM incubator, in collaboration with Professor Bill Conner, include assistive echo-location based wearable devices for the blind, sound visualizers through virtual reality for the deaf, and feeding assistant devices for people with complete paralysis such as Guillian-Barré.

Pauca is also a ’94 Wake Forest University alum.

Michele Gillespie, Dean of Wake Forest College, says “Professor Pauca is a longtime faculty member of the ICE Faculty Council. Pauca is an innovative teacher who helped lead the 1-credit STEM Incubator initiative as a “low-stakes” entry point for students not traditionally interested in computer science, he is also an active researcher and an entrepreneur interested in developing highly affordable modern technology that can apply computer science to the benefit of society.”
Paúl Pauca replaces Professor Bill Conner who served the ICE program for more than a decade. Under his guidance, faculty passed the entrepreneurship and social enterprise minor in 2005. Since then, 64 courses with entrepreneurship as a central theme have been added to the curriculum. In spring 2016, Professor Connor decided to step down from his role as Farr Chair and ICE Faculty Director to return full-time to teaching and scholarship in the Biology Department.