The Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) presents the Tiger Entrepreneur Award, a new, prestigious award designed to celebrate the value of entrepreneurship and innovation across the Princeton community and to emphasize the University’s commitment to Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way.
This award will be given annually to up to four individuals or teams of undergraduate students, graduate students, or early career alumni who demonstrate success in entrepreneurship. PEC is pleased to announce the 2017 Tiger Entrepreneur Award winners:
Brooks Powell '17
During his sophomore year, liberal arts major Brooks Powell realized that some research that he came across in his neuroscience class could be applied to real-world problems. Hearing a calling to entrepreneurship, Powell started Thrive+ in his dorm room and worked on developing products from this research. Applying the discipline and work ethic from his time as a varsity swimmer to his entrepreneurial work, he continued to build his business through support from the Keller Center with the eLab Incubator and Summer Accelerator programs and received mentoring from a Princeton alumnus on writing his provisional patent. Powell is a Praxis Labs Emerging Founder and has been profiled in major outlets such as USA Today and Huffington Post.
“He told me that he turned $20,000 that his grandfather left him before he passed away, to a $100,000 of sales. He was proud of that, but for me it wasn’t just the numbers, nor his success, but that he continued to push forward and make progress in the face of uncertainty.” - Shahram Hejazi, Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneur and Lecturer in Entrepreneurship
Stephanie Speirs *14 and Stephen Moilanen *14
While working towards their MPA degrees at Princeton, Steph Speirs and Steve Moilanen were part of a policy workshop at the Woodrow Wilson School on rural energy and deployment of solar microgrids in India. Speirs and Moilanen’s research took them to the field in rural India, where they realized the off-grid rural villages they visited could often access solar power more easily than households in their own country. Upon returning home, they founded Solstice Initiative with the mission of putting affordable solar in the hands of every American by deploying community solar. They and Solstice received support from the Keller Center’s eLab, and have received funding in the Fall of 2015 from Princeton Entrepreneurship Council’s Alumni Entrepreneurs Fund. Speirs and Moilanen are each 2015 Echoing Green Climate Fellows.
“They sought to leverage their government experience and Princeton education to tackle critical social problems, but unlike many of us, took the risk to do this by launching their own business, Solstice.” - Nicolas Collin dit de Montesson, classmate at the Woodrow Wilson School
Angelo Campus ’16 & Aaron Schwartz ’17
Drawing on their experiences working in remote locations in Peru, Polynesia, and the Navajo Nation, Princeton students Campus and Schwartz saw that the falling prices of solar energy and battery technology could be leveraged to bring clean, affordable energy to remote sites, and that shipping containers could be used to bring durable, transportable, and scalable systems around the world. They formed BoxPower and received support from the Keller Center eLab Incubator and Summer Accelerator, as well as the Alumni Entrepreneurs Fund. Campus and Schwartz recently oversaw the donation and installation of a solar/wind/biodiesel BoxOne unit to the Ramapough Lenape tribe for use at their Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp in Mahwah, NJ.
“These two young men inspire many of their colleagues and faculty at Princeton, and they embody the motto of Princeton in the Service to Humanity – through entrepreneurial ways to have a systemic impact on the world.” - Marty Johnson ‘81, Founder/CEO, Isles, Inc. and Entrepreneurial Specialist, Keller Center
Jack Hudson ’16, Evan Corden ’16, Colin Lualdi ’17
Despite Lualdi being Deaf, the three became fast friends at Whitman College. Needing a way to communicate beyond written messages and finding a lack of quality American Sign Language learning resources both online and on-campus, the three friends set out to develop their own solution to this problem. They founded SignSchool and built a user-friendly online learning platform for ASL. Based on enthusiastic response from schools, they developed a dedicated school product. Committed to social entrepreneurship, they use their revenue to keep the consumer product free. The trio have been supported by the Keller Center eLab Startup Accelerator and Incubator, and have been featured in Princeton Innovation’s 25 Under 25 list.
“These three friends have demonstrated their continued commitment to making a difference in the lives of both deaf and hearing people by making learning American Sign Language easy and fun.” - Stephanie Landers, Program Manager, Keller Center