GenHERation: Empowering Girls to Become Leaders

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Penn website as part of President’s Engagement Prize-Winners Launch Social Impact Projects. Katlyn Grasso W’15 is one of five winners of the inaugural President’s Engagement Prize. As a student, Katlyn was an active participant in the Wharton Entrepreneurship community: she was a member of the Venture Initiation Program, a semifinalist in the Business Plan Competition, and the recipient of a Wharton Venture Award.

Only five percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, and there are even fewer women who start their own businesses.

“I grew up in an environment where I was conditioned to believe that girls can do anything,” says Katlyn Grasso, a Wharton School graduate who majored in economics, with concentrations in finance and strategic globalization.

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An Intern In EdTech

By Kunal Nayyar WG’16, Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow

I’m two weeks into my grand experiment for the summer: an internship at Zaption, a seed-funded education technology (edtech) startup that’s making video learning interactive. The goal of this experiment, like that of most internships, is to learn about a new type of work and figure out how I like it. The experiment isn’t particularly well-designed, in that so many variables have changed relative to my previous job—but so far it’s been illuminating and fun in a variety of ways.

This is what working at a startup looks like: Kunal Nayyar WG'16, at his standing desk at Zaption.

This is what working at a startup looks like: Kunal Nayyar WG’16 at Zaption.

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Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at Wharton: 25th Reunion

By Lisa Hoffstein C’81/GED’81/WG’88, Founder of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at Wharton and The Katie At The Bat Team

Way back in 1988, when I was approaching my graduation from the Wharton MBA program, I was given a unique entrepreneurial opportunity for which I will be forever grateful.

Michael Milken WG’70 had provided a generous grant to The Wharton School to create a community outreach program that would impact the surrounding neighborhoods and engage business students in meaningful community service.  I am quite certain I was the only former school-teacher across my MBA cohorts, having taught at Parkway Gamma—back then a somewhat dilapidated structure at 39th and Walnut Streets.  I suppose this out-of-the-box background made me the ideal candidate to be hired as the Executive Director of this new Wharton-Milken venture.

Mentors and Mentees at the 25th Reunion of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs  Program.

The 25th Reunion of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program.

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Why This Entrepreneur Came to Wharton

By Danny Hundert WG’16, Founder of Ajax Adventure Camp, WeAdmit, and CampRecruiter

“No learning allowed.”

This is one of my instructions to our camp staff every summer: “Accidental Learning Only.”

Danny Hundert W'16 at the Penn Wharton China Center opening.

Danny Hundert WG’16 at the Penn Wharton China Center opening.

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From Silicon Valley VC to EduTech Entrepreneur

From Silicon Valley VC to EduTech Entrepreneur

By Matthew Brodsky, Editor, Wharton Magazine

Note: This post originally appeared on the Wharton Magazine blog.

One of the tricks of being a parent is getting children to willingly indulge in something that is good for them. Think meatballs stuffed secretly with vegetables. One of the tricks of being a technologist is designing a device or software that matches how users will actually want to use it, so that they will want to use it more and more. Think a music streaming app sprinkled with advertising. The secret to being a technologist and a parent who is designing something for users like your kids … well, that is a challenge that Prasanna Krishnan, WG’07, has dared to tackle.

Krishnan launched SmartyPal, a novel iPad app for young children that allows users to become a part of their favorite stories, all while they play games and enjoy other activities that help them build valuable developmental skills.

Children can help Lollybird cross the bridge and save the king of the elephants. The So Smart! team of Scott Tornek, C’87, WG’95, and Alex Tornek, C’90, created this particular SmartyPal story.

Children can help Lollybird cross the bridge and save the king of the elephants. The So Smart! team of Scott Tornek, C’87, WG’95, and Alex Tornek, C’90, created this particular SmartyPal story.

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Starting a business is ________

By Max Galka W’04/ENG’04, Founder of Metrocosm and Revaluate

What word best characterizes what it’s like to start a business?

Fun?  Rewarding?  Invaluable?

All of those things are entirely true. Starting a business has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my life.

But there is one adjective that is even more characteristic.

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A Walt Disney for the New Media Age?

By Jason Choi W’17

One of the benefits of being a member of the Penn community is the accessibility to its alumni base. I reached out to Bing Chen C‘09, Co-founder of Victorious, via email after stumbling upon his story in the Daily Pennsylvanian last year. Through our conversations on phone, via email and in person, I have pinpointed several key insights that are of paramount importance to success as a young entrepreneur. Here’s what I learned about Bing—and through him, entrepreneurship.

Earlier last month, a mobile application based on a single Hawaiian took the new media world by storm.

Victorious in action.

The TeeHee App.

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A Startup Ecosystem Made for Ambition

By Matt Carey C’07/WG’15, Co-founder of Abaris

Editor’s note: This post was previously published on the Wharton Magazine blog.

Conventional wisdom used to be that Wharton was strictly a finance school. At a certain point, Wharton became known as a factory that churned out bankers and consultants. But this stereotype is wildly outdated. (To an extent, was it ever accurate in the first place?) Exhibit A: The new dean, Geoffrey Garrett, has put innovation and data analytics at the center of where Wharton is going. This is exciting because it reflects not only the future direction of the institution but also validates the foundations that already exist.

Abaris Financial Co-Founders (left to right) Adam Colombo, Matthew Carey and Nimish Shukla

Abaris Financial Co-Founders (left to right) Adam Colombo, Matthew Carey and Nimish Shukla

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What Do Startups Look For When Hiring?

By Karthik Sridharan W’07/ENG’07, Co-founder and CEO of Kinnek

“What do startups look for when hiring?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time, and unfortunately, there’s no simple, all-encompassing answer. It’s of course difficult to generalize across startups in different sectors and sub-sectors, and every team has their own preferences as to how they want to build their organization and culture. However, I think a very important thing to understand is how the hiring needs of a startup vary tremendously according to what lifecycle stage the company is in.

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The 5 Heroes of the Entrepreneurial Journey

By Sara Haq W’06, Founder and Principal of SH International

The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely, and it is certainly beset with challenges. But as any quest, the path toward founding a company will include heroes—people who step in and aid you at just the moment when you need them most.

In this post I’ll tell you a little about my own entrepreneurial journey thus far, and describe the 5 hero archetypes I’ve met, and how they helped me along the way. It’s a little bit of a public “thank you,” and also, I hope, an inspiration to those of you at the beginning, or a low point, of your entrepreneurial quest. You will meet heroes along the way. Keep an eye out for them.

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