Celebrating Student Growth

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 (and Startup Lab masterminds) 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.