Mac Startups Demo Day Showcases Entrepreneurship On Campus

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Initiated last year for the first time, the now annual Mac Startups program began earlier this summer with 14 students who committed their energies over summer break to learn the basics of entrepreneurship — lean startup, mvp, mentorship, peer support, etc.

That culminated yesterday with a demo day featuring presentations from seven unique teams. Post pitch, Boulder-based venture capitalist and Macalester alumnus Seth Levine made a special appearance at the event, speaking to the significance of cultivating entrepreneurship early and often, starting with the campus.

While such educationally driven incubator/accelerator programs aren’t a new thing, Mac Startups is still in relative infancy.  But it will grow up faster thanks to their first entrepreneur in residence Kate Reiling who is focused on developing the program, among other initiatives aimed at boosting the budding minds.

“In watching students catch the entrepreneurial fever, its been great to just follow their lead so far,” she said,  “What’s exciting to us is to think about all the potential there is yet to realize here.”

As the school is known for its diverse liberal arts student body, the ideas ranged in sector, with three distinct tech plays emerging:

  • ArtDefy is an online community that helps artists of marginalized gender identity (transgender, gender non-conforming, etc) connect to create safer spaces for collaborative art and expression.
  • Plannd solves the problem of what to do for date night by coming up with novel, creative date ideas for people and planning them out. Unlike most dating services which focus on connecting singles, Plannd turns its attention to people already in relationships.
  • Unanimus is a mobile app that transforms group decision making from a headache into something smooth and simple. While Unanimus is applicable to a wide range of situations, the initial focus is on the decision of which restaurant to choose for a group meal.

Each venture naturally has a goal of building on their foundation and integrating into the local tech community; to that extent they are all seeking mentors and further support in realization of their respective ventures.

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