Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) is pleased to announce the 2021 winners of the Tiger Entrepreneur Award. Now in its fifth year, the Tiger Entrepreneur Award is a prestigious award designed to celebrate the value of entrepreneurship across the Princeton community and to emphasize the University’s commitment to Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way. “Since its inception, the Tiger Entrepreneur Award has been awarded to young entrepreneurs with a wide range of different types of impact,” said Anne-Marie Maman ‘84, PEC executive director. “And we are very pleased to watch them as they have continued to advance in their entrepreneurial success.”
The Tiger Entrepreneur Award will be presented during the Celebrate Princeton Innovation event that will close Engage 2021, Princeton’s second annual innovation and entrepreneurship conference held by Princeton Innovation on December 1 and 2.
The 2021 winners, in alphabetical order:
Adora: Ron Miasnik ’22, Joseph Rubin ’22, Raya Ward ’22
The Adora team of co-founders Miasnik, Rubin and Ward disrupted the college recruitment process with their virtual tour experience. Adora provides a personalized college tour solution for high school students and increases access for students who may not be able to afford expensive travel for college visits. Working with the Admission department at Princeton, Adora also became the first student-founded company to contract with the University as a vendor. Full Measure Education acquired Adora earlier this year, and the team continues to build Adora while completing their undergraduate degrees.
“As innovators, scholars, and leaders, the Adora team embodies the best of Princeton entrepreneurship, with an extra dimension of resilience and commitment they have demonstrated during these unusual times. While the pandemic flattened the dreams of many an entrepreneur, the Adora team managed to launch, grow, and then sell their company, while never missing a beat as scholars and student leaders. It is a remarkable achievement.”
- Ann Kirschner *78, University Professor at The City University of New York and former trustee, Princeton University
Catherine Dennig ’15
An entrepreneur both at Princeton and beyond, Dennig is the CEO and co-founder of Fursure, a national pet insurance marketplace. As an undergraduate, she co-founded a mobile app startup called Nofomo and was president of the Princeton Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. She also served on the Princeton Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee, which researched and then made recommendations to Princeton’s administration for ways to jumpstart the entrepreneurial ecosystem. One of those many recommendations was to create PEC. After graduation, she was Senior Product Manager at Facebook, leading a number of several successful product teams including News Feed and Ads before launching her current startup, Fursure. Dennig and Fursure won audience choice at the 2020 Princeton Women Founders Startup Showcase.
“(Her) seminal senior thesis, “The Future of Entrepreneurship Education: Strengthening the Liberal Arts Institution at Princeton and Beyond”, presented a rigorous fact-based case for the lasting benefits for students by completing properly designed and offered entrepreneurship courses in their undergraduate education.”
-Ed Zschau ’61 P86 H11, senior research specialist I, Keller Center, a past member of California’s House of Representatives, and former interim president, Sierra Nevada University
Shawon Jackson ’15
Jackson is the founder and CEO of Vocal Justice, whose mission is to inspire and prepare Black and Brown youth to use their authentic voices to advocate for social justice. During graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, he conceived Vocal Justice out of a belief that every student, especially those who have witnessed injustice, should feel inspired and prepared to advocate for positive change through culturally affirming training in public speaking. While at Princeton, Jackson served two terms as student body president and interned in the Obama White House.
"His mission to empower marginalized youth to transform an unjust status quo has continued to inspire new partners to join the cause – from institutions like Echoing Green, Camelback Ventures, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business to advisors like Vanessa Garrison, founder of GirlTrek, to Michael Brown, co-founder of City Year."
-Jerren Chang, co-founder and CEO, GenUnity
Jeff Phaneuf *21
Carrying an entrepreneurial spirit throughout various stations in his life, including as a Marine in Iraq, Phaneuf is the founder and CEO of AdventureList, a marketplace for adventure-seeking tourists to find local guides. While at Princeton, he participated in the Keller Center’s Tiger Challenge as part of the Mind The Gap team working on gerrymandering. In 2021 he won top startup with AdventureList at the end of the inaugural Princeton Startup Bootcamp, and further built AdventureList at Keller’s 2021 Summer eLab Accelerator. Using the entrepreneurial training that he honed while at Princeton, he personally helped more than one hundred Afghan and Afghan Americans escape from Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul.
“Entrepreneurship is an endeavor many find to be too challenging, mysterious, or risky. They dip their toe into it but move on to other paths. Others see it for what it is, endless possibilities that they can shape and affect through creativity, collaboration, and hard work. It is the unique ability to shape the very world in which we live. Jeff has this latter view, and the drive to pursue it with success.”
-Rob Van Varick, lecturer, Keller Center and principal/owner, Michael Graves Design
More information about the Tiger Entrepreneur Award, including profiles of previous winners, can be found at entrepreneurs.princeton.edu/award.