HW Venture holds kick-off rally to begin year

Lindsay Wu

Students from both campuses participated in the HW Venture kick-off rally event, where they listened to speeches from alumni keynote speakers and Venture students Sept. 27.

To begin the event, alumni Sameer Gupta ’99 offered advice to students about how to utilize HW Venture and the school community.

“It doesn’t need to be this shared experience where we’re all programmers or all trying to change the world by doing the same good,” Gupta said. “The important thing is that we acknowledge how special the people around us are, we see and understand and appreciate what they have done and that we feel comfortable asking for help in what we’re going to do next. You don’t need to be afraid about trying a concept or idea into a company and making a profit out of that. Or, if you want to make a change in the social world, you can ask people who will jump all over your idea and make it happen.”

Nick Abouzeid ’15 also spoke about the challenges he faced in developing his entrepreneurial designs when he was a student, as well as about what he had accomplished professionally in the field.

“I felt that the speakers were really inspiring,” HW Venture member Coco Kaleel ’20 said. “I think it’s really cool that a student could have the ability to make an app and get tens of thousands of downloads or make a product that is purchased in over 40 countries. I felt very empowered by hearing the speakers, because hearing them made it feel like I could achieve my dreams.”

Following the alumni speakers, the new Venture students presented their projects, which they will continue to develop over the course of the year. Artelli, co-founded by Caroline Choi ’19, is a software development company with a goal to apply math modeling skills to medicine. ICC Records, started by Cassius Bythewood ’19, promotes music associated with positive behavior.

After a short break, returning Venture students summarized their companies’ purposes and explained how HW Venture helped them fund, found and launch their initiatives, Kaleel said.

Jonathan Damico ’19 and Cameron Schiller ’19 introduced their journey in developing Prova, a backpack company which they launched in August.

Alec Katz ’19 spoke of his project Soles4Good, which provides individuals in Sengal with shoes and funds. Soles4Good was backed by HW Venture’s social entrepreneurship fellowship last year.

Lastly, Ari Sokolov ’18 presented TheTrill Project, an anonymous messaging app that allows users a safe space to voice concerns on a daily basis that they otherwise would not share. The Trill Project, which Sokolov created with Izzy Reiff ’18, Arts and Entertainment Editor Alexandra So ’19, Sara Kangaslahti ’19 and Georgia Messinger (Brentwood School ’18), is currently valued at $1million.

Kaleel said she hoped the event helped students prepare for the upcoming year.

“This year, I’m most excited for HW Venture to help start and launch more companies, develop as an exciting events and help more students participate in unconventional and entrepreneurial opportunities,” Kaleel said.