Established in honor of Robert L. Avinger Jr., a member of the Davidson class of 1960 and professor of economics from 1967-80, the Avinger Scholarship recognizes rising sophomore, junior and senior students who demonstrate the vision, qualities and passion of innovators. The 2016 Avinger Scholarships have been awarded to Houston Downes '18, Charlie Goldberg '19, and Katharina Seitz '20.
The scholarship provides students with up to $5,000 in seed funding and guaranteed space in the Venture Lab program, which is a fully-funded, Davidson-run, 10-week startup accelerator designed to further the development of aspiring innovators through experiential education.
Goldberg, from Wilmette, Ill., won for his clothing company, Get It Poppin, LLC, which he founded earlier this year. He started the venture with friends from his hometown after successfully selling homemade shirts to people he knew. The collaborators spent this past summer designing items, forming a legal entity, and ultimately hosting a nine-day pop-up shop in Chicago on Madison Street.
"I'm spreading a lifestyle–everybody can Get It Poppin by doing what they love and repping it proudly," Goldberg said. "Each purchase supports a brand built on friends, style and three important letters."
Using the retail location to jumpstart the operation, the company now sells merchandise from its website GIPUniversal.com. Goldberg intends to use the Avinger Scholarship to broaden GIP's online reach, expand into new industries and host another pop-up shop next summer.
Downes, from Little Rock, Arkansas, won for Krouded, an app that crowdsources restaurant wait times. Downes and co-founders Julius Hatcher '18 and Matt Walker '18 have been working on the company together since first pitching it at Davidson's inaugural 3-Day Startup event in September of last year.
They came up with the idea for Krouded after driving to a taco restaurant in Charlotte only to be met with a two-hour wait time. A fruitless half-hour search for restaurants without wait times led the entrepreneurs to conclude that if they wanted a better way to choose a restaurant, they might as well come up with it themselves.
The group is still in the prototyping phase with the app but plan to use their seed money to hire an app developer and buy server space. From there, they hope to develop a more robust version of the app, achieve a critical mass of users in a major U.S. city, perfect their crowdsourcing ability and data modeling, and expand into other major markets.
While the Avinger Scholarship is an annual scholarship, there are many other funding opportunities available for entrepreneurs and innovators. Check out the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative's webpage or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about additional resources.