The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Two alumni present at HW Venture Incubator

Brooke Levin ’12 spoke to students in the HW Venture Incubator Program about her startup company, (Ate)ifi. Her company collects sales statistics and broadcasts the nutritional values of food items sold in vending machines. Credit: Sarah Mittleman/Chronicle.

Two alumni entrepreneurs shared their start-up experiences with students at HW Venture’s Incubator Program Sept. 27.

Two alumni discuss their startups 

Brooke Levin ’12 spoke first about her startup, (Ate)ifi, a vending machine that allows users to customize their trail mix according to their nutritional needs. Levin, who now works with HW Venture, discussed the value of the Incubator Program.

“One of the benefits of a program like this, which again, is an extremely rare and amazing opportunity, is that you will have, in ten weeks, the ability to take an idea from an idea to a business, and there’s a really big difference in going from an idea to a product than from an idea to a business,” Levin said.

Afterward, app creator Alex Ma ’11 spoke about his social media startup TTYL, an app designed to allow younger generations to communicate with each other more easily. He advised the audience to identify problems and create startups to find solutions.

“Investors want to back credible founders and really interesting problems that they can build missions behind,” Ma said.

Ma also gave advice to aspiring entrepreneurs about app development.

“I think something really great about the incubator program is that you can quickly build a landing site that says, ‘this product is coming,’ and you can start generating demand,” Ma said.

HW Venture Incubator explained 

Afterward, Venture Head Jacky Zhang ’21 spoke next, explaining the purpose behind the Incubator Program and how it can influence the community.

“[Venture] is essentially a place to make change happen,” Zhang said. “If you see a problem on-campus or off-campus and you want to transform that problem, Venture is your resource. Incubator [exists] to empower students to start their own startups.”

Ariana Pineda ’21 expressed the goal of this year’s Venture challenge, which will grant three to five winners upwards of $12,000 to create a successful startup.

“Venture’s Incubator Program serves as a platform for students who are interested in entrepreneurship or even have a great idea but don’t know where to go from there,” Pineda said. “This program provides students looking for innovative solutions to problems in their community with resources such as funding, mentorship, workshops and consulting.”

Following Pineda’s speech, fellow club member Stone Kletecka ’21 shared a few words about the importance of the Incubator Program.

“No other school is doing this,” Kletecka said. “Actually starting your company and growing the craziest idea you can think of and turning it into a reality.”

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Sarah Mittleman
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Two alumni present at HW Venture Incubator