Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 10:21 pm est

NYU Entrepreneurs Festival showcases alumni success stories

Posted on March 1, 2013 | by Daniel Huang

Entrepreneurs are the new rock stars. Born out of necessity following the economic meltdown, they have emerged from the latest recession with new ideas and a new drive showing no signs of slowing down.

From college dropouts revolutionizing the Internet in their dorm rooms to working professionals ironing out inefficiencies after work, we live in a world where store-bought mentalities are losing ground to do-it-yourself pihlosophies.

The NYU Entrepreneurs Festival, taking place this Friday and Saturday in Tisch Hall, is a celebration of this entrepreneur culture. After Hurricane Sandy forced the event to be postponed last fall, the festival is inviting back successful NYU entrepreneurs to share stories and advice through showcases, panels and roundtables.

You may not have guessed it, but the university knows a thing or two about churning out great businesses.

“When I first started here a couple years ago, literally not a week went by when I didn’t learn about another start-up founded by either an alum or a current student or faculty,” recounted Frank Rimalovski, managing director of the NYU Innovation Venture Fund and the festival’s organizer.

“I began to put together a list of all these different NYU start-ups and entrepreneurs,” he continued. “It quickly became a long list that just kept getting longer.”

With the launch of the festival last year, two important goals were achieved. The first was inspiration. The plight of an entrepreneur can often be scary — it starts with a leap of faith and continues down a road filled with obstacles and challenges. The NYUEF provided a platform to share success stories as well as trials and tribulations. For aspiring entrepreneurs, learning from these experiences can be a big first step.

The second goal was to build a community of entrepreneurs at NYU. As a testament to the truly eclectic mix bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, featured alumni businesspeople last year came from 11 different colleges across the university. At a school that can feel more divided than unified, the festival created a space in which motivated, like-minded people could connect over a shared passion for entrepreneurship.

A hugely popular program from last year was the festival’s Venture Showcase, an open forum where current students were able to show off their projects. One of this year’s exhibits will feature BigPlay, an interactive new technology that enables hundreds of spectators to participate in real-time digital experiences using their smartphones. A collaboration of three Tisch ITP second-year students, Paul Groman, Danne Woo and Frederico Zannier, the venture and its founders will host a demonstration in Chelsea this Friday.  The event will be an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for multiplayer gaming on a single screen. On Saturday, the trio will be at NYUEF hopefully pleased with their possibly record-setting feat.

“We’re very excited to be promoting BigPlay at the showcase this weekend,” said Philip Groman . “It’ll be a great opportunity for us to get exposure and really hone our presentation of the product.”

Indeed, the vision for this year’s NYU Entrepreneurs Festival has followed a more refined tune. In addition to over 30 NYU start-up displays, more than 20 successful NYU alumni speakers and featured keynotes by Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, and Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, the festival will also be adding skill-building workshops, more roundtables and an opportunity for students to sit in and listen to a live pitch session.

Sam elaborated: “This year we understand that, while you have an interest in venture, you might not be ready quite yet or it might not be the perfect time. We want to establish that NYU is a place you can always come back to for resources, and everyday we’re building more.”


Daniel Huang is a contributing writer. Email him at


profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.