Tag Archives: bases finale

Chatting with Challenge Winners: BeeLine Reader

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BeeLine Reader (Winner of Social-E Challenge 2014)

Have you ever thought of an idea that just might work?

That’s how Nick Lum, founder and CEO of BeelineReader (Winner of Social-E Challenge 2014), came up with a way to guide your eyes while reading. Last week, I was fortunate enough to hear Nick’s story. “I had a great idea, and decided to just try it out,” he told me. By using a color gradient to guide our eyes from the end of one line of text to the beginning of another, Nick built BeelineReader to help us read more in less time.

Initially, while tossing around the idea, experts and researchers were impressed: “Oh, you must have been combining the accessory search paper from 1992 and the other paper…”

“No, I wasn’t aware of the research paper, but please, keep talking… I’d love to hear more.”

Before long, Nick’s vision became more and more real, and he learned from users that his technology was actually really helpful for people with learning disabilities or dyslexia. Although some speculators suggested that BeelineReader could “jack up the price for people who couldn’t live without it,” Nick had another vision in mind.

“My cousin and I are the equity-holders of the company, so we can decide whether we want to be solely profit-seeking or if we want to also consider the social impact of our business model.”

With this mission, Beeline Reader entered the BASES Challenge competition, where the team received lasting insight from mentors and judges. “We learned about socially beneficial enterprises,” Nick recalled “[We] didn’t have to be a nonprofit, but instead, could be a for-profit that’s beneficial — that isn’t just about as many dollars as possible.”

I was surprised to hear that before Challenge, Nick was working as a senior-associate in a corporate law form. “I was at a point in a life in which I might not otherwise do this,” he told me. “After we won BASES, I quit my job.”

Largely contributing to Nick’s decision, BASES Challenge opened many doors for BeelineReader.  “Winning was great, because we had been talking to people at the American Optometric Association (the oldest in the country with 40,000 members), and our contacts were having a little bit of a hard time.” With the credibility of “winning BASES,” the AOA was doubling down, writing articles, and spreading the word. “I talked to the chairman of the committee,” Nick informed me, “and this was the first time they ever had an unanimous vote on a committee in favor of technology.”

Today, BeelineReader is moving forward with tremendous momentum. Nick has even been talking to the Office of Accessible Education (Stanford OAE) at the Charles Schwab Education Center to make his technology available to Stanford students.

When asked about the takeaways of his journey thus far, Nick responded, “It’s really cool to see how you’re trying to solve Problem A but end up also trying to solve Problem B and C.”

As BeeLine Reader teaches us, sometimes, impact isn’t something you can plan.

By Vincent Chen

Women in Entrepreneurship: Q&A with Julia Hartz, Cofounder, Eventbrite

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This year, BASES hosted its inaugural Women in Entrepreneurship Summit (WiE). The event took place on Saturday, April 4 at the Obendorf Event Center at the Graduate School of Business. Delivering the keynote speech was Julia Hartz, Cofounder and President of Eventbrite. During her keynote speech, Hartz shared her story on how she developed as an undergraduate to becoming one of Fortune’s Ten Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2013. Along with describing her experiences, she gave young women entrepreneurs valuable advice on how to be successful in their own careers.

We had the pleasure of following-up with Hartz after the event to hear more about her experience at BASES’ inaugural WiE.

Q: What inspired you to partake in the BASES’ Women In Entrepreneurship Summit this past month, offering your own time as well as your own personal story to drive discussion regarding the current representation of women in the business world?
A: I believe that you can’t be it if you can’t see it.  So much of my inspiration comes from seeing women who are challenging themselves to be great entrepreneurs and live a full life.  I’m inspired to pay it forward in any way I can find to connect with other women who have big dreams.

Q: Many entrepreneurs share their stories widely through a variety of channels and mediums, often to very large audiences. How valuable did you consider the intimate format of the WIE summit, and how did you take advantage of such a personal interaction with entrepreneurial students.
A: I think the summit offers a very unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet with each other in a different forum than is commonly used. I like the accessibility this affords and the depth of targeted conversations.

Q: The Summit is designed to offer students a personal and unique opportunity to interact with female leaders in business and to walk away with greater knowledge and confidence of the business world. On your end, were you able to learn and/or notice anything from your interactions with the crowd during the Q&A portion? If so, we’d love to hear about it!
AAbsolutely! I was struck by how insightful the questions were, and I wish we had time for more.  The audience seemed incredibly engaged, which is truly rewarding as a guest.

Q: Lastly, coming away from your experience at the Summit, what is the one final message you would want to give to not only young female entrepreneurs, but also to young entrepreneurs as a whole?
A: Don’t let fear rule your decision to take the leap into entrepreneurship!

Thank you Julia Hartz. We had an incredible inaugural event and look forward to next year’s WiE.

For more opportunities to meet founders and Stanford alumni in technology, please attend our BASES Challenge Finale on Friday, May 8 at the Stanford Arrillaga Alumni Center beginning at 2 PM. For more details on BASES Challenge and Finale, visit our website here. To RSVP, go here. 

BASES Finale 2014 – Photo Gallery

Last Tuesday was our annual BASES Finale – the culmination event of the BASES Challenge competition.  The event kicked off with public pitches from E-Challenge and Social-E finalists where all the teams had a chance to show off what they’ve been working on.  Sponsors, judges and spectators from all over Silicon Valley came to participate in the event. See below for the list of winners along with some photos courtesy of Akiharu Maki Photography.

E-Challenge: 
1st Place Winner: Allertope 
2nd Place Winner: Madorra 
3rd Place Winner: Peeps 
Crowd-Favorite: Peeps

Social-E:
1st Place Winner: Beeline 
2nd Place Winner: Elevado 
3rd Place Winner: Pocketlab 
Crowd-Favorite: eleVado

Product Showcase:
1st Place Winner: Switchmate 
2nd Place Winner: Rabbit Prototyping 
3rd Place Winner: Napwell 
Crowd-Favorite: Stroll Health

LAUNCH: Kickstart your dreams, start up your life

Leading up to BASES Challenge Finale 2014 (https://www.facebook.com/events/700565376648466/) is week 3 of our campaign: Launch!

When it’s time to launch, you want to make an entrance that’s as impressive as your company. The BASES Challenge is your chance to do this. In front of an experienced panel of judges, entrepreneurs can compete for the best business plans in E-Challenge and Social E-Challenge and the best product demos in Product Showcase. Extensive feedback from the panel gives all competitors something valuable to walk away with.

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