U.S. State Dept. Invites Gallatin Student to India for Entrepreneurship Summit
November 29, 2017
Gallatin junior Jack DeFuria was invited by the United States State Department to be one of 100 delegates attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the end of this month. His golden ticket to this event is Bolt, an adaptive learning tool for personalized SAT prep, that DeFuria founded.
The summit, which runs from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30 in Hyderabad, India, is organized as a joint effort between the U.S. State Department and the Indian government — delegates from both the United States and India will be in attendance. The mission of the Global Entrepreneurship
Summit is to bring together a diverse group of people from across the world to talk about how economic growth can be fostered globally. This year’s summit is focused on the theme “Women First, Prosperity for All” and aims to empower entrepreneurs and maximize the positive effect of women on society, according to the website.
President Donald Trump’s advisor, Ivanka Trump, is the headliner of this year’s summit.
“I think most people there are going to be college graduates and full time business entrepreneurs,” DeFuria said. “It’ll be interesting being the young, college kid there.”
DeFuria said that his work was likely recognized by one of the entrepreneurship networks he is in, such as Rough Draft Ventures, Kairos Society and Stripe Atlas. He was thus invited by the U.S. Department of State to represent the U.S. as a delegate.
Bolt, which functions as a personalized SAT study guide, helps students pinpoint which areas of the test are strengths and weaknesses to help students progress and achieve their academic goals. The company’s official launch will be in mid December, DeFuria said.
“[Bolt is] adaptive in the sense that the study guide changes with how your strengths and weaknesses progress,” DeFuria said. “Then you can track your progress over time with all the data we’re collecting with all your individual study habits.”
Gallatin, Stern and CAS Professor Peter V. Rajsingh, who is is DeFuria’s academic adviser, said that he has enjoyed observing DeFuria’s journey in turning an idea into a real product and looks forward to seeing Bolt grow.
“We often have small advisee dinners in which [DeFuria] is an excellent source of stimulating conversation on a variety of topics, as well as memorable hilarity on occasion,” Rajsingh said. “He is also always ready and willing to help his peers both academically or with practical advice or connections. He is quite simply a pleasure to advise — he takes his academic life seriously while also being possessed of a well-calibrated sense of work-life balance.”
DeFuria is a ChangeMaker Challenge finalist — a competition annually hosted by NYU to foster the growth of students’ nonprofits, for-profits and hybrid organizations which focus on positive social impact in both local communities and worldwide. His adviser for the challenge Andy Ng said that he thinks that there is a market need for an educational tech company like Bolt.
“With such emphasis on college and career readiness, I think the platform provides another opportunity for students to succeed outside of traditional brick-and- mortar solutions,” Ng said. “Above all else, I trust [DeFuria’s] judgement and ability to run something.”
Bolt is currently backed by by a student-run venture fund called Rough Draft Ventures. DeFuria said that the venture fund has helped accelerate Bolt’s success.
“We’re also partnering with community organizations to help get bolt in the hands of students who can’t afford a subscription — so that’s how we’re sticking to our social mission that drove this whole project,” DeFuria said. “Our plan is, down the line, to scale up to a place where we can do one-for-one matching — for every student that buys a license, we donate another subscription to a student.”
Email Miranda Levingston at [email protected]