The Annual Ecademy Awards
The Annual Ecademy Awards were started in 2007 as a way to honor and celebrate those young entrepreneurs in our community who, upon graduating from Columbia Business School, launched a successful enterprise.
The award ceremony typically takes place during the School’s open house activities for admitted students and is emceed by Entrepreneur in Residence, Professor Clifford Schorer. Although intended to be lighthearted and entertaining, the ceremony demonstrates the spirit, creativity and diversity of our entrepreneurial community in a fun way yet sends a clear message to prospective students: Columbia Business School is an institution that nurtures, hones and celebrates the education, real-world practice and lifestyle of the entrepreneur.
Following are brief descriptions on the winning companies to date:
Ben Powell ’05
Company: Agora Partnerships is a community of development and investment professionals, volunteer consultants and entrepreneurs committed to launching and growing successful, socially-responsible businesses in emerging markets. Agora leverages investment in areas where inefficient capital markets and other formidable barriers to entrepreneurship have prevented talent from achieving its full potential. The organization provides emerging market entrepreneurs with the same arsenal of tools available to their counterparts in wealthy countries.
Brandon Kessler ’07
Company: ChallengePost is site that helps you take the first step in solving a problem or granting a wish. After all, we all wish for things: A new iPhone app that points me toward deals at my favorite retailer; a cheap, small solar-powered generator; a better way to teach kids math. ChallengePost allows you to create and join challenges to accomplish goals. It also allows organizations to sponsor competitions of the same variety. Once a challenge is created, other people can join the challenge and pledge money or simply appreciation. Those incentives, which are payable only if a challenge is solved, encourage others to solve a problem and earn their rewards.
Noha Waibsnaider ’02
Company: Peeled Snacks believes that food starts out delicious and nutritious, and it doesn't need some machine to improve it, or engineering to perfect it. The product line offers large, easy-to-eat pieces of fruit and nuts providing a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fiber - with NO added sugar or fat. The nuts are dry roasted and lightly salted. And for chocolate lovers, Peeled Snacks uses the finest rich dark chocolate with 58% cacao in their Shock-olate variety.
Arlyn Davich ’09
Company: Payperks is an employee perks program that helps companies transition to paperless pay by offering perks such as cash sweepstakes, prize giveaways and high value coupons.
Ryan Petersen ’05
Company: ImportGenius provides timely, detailed shipment data for every container that enters the United States. Their user base is diverse: importers, exporters, entrepreneurs, freight forwarders, bankers, private investigators, foreign factories, and more.
Michael Dwork ’07
Company: VerTerra are environmentally-friendly plates, bowls and serving dishes are made only from two products: fallen leaves and water. They’re non-toxic, biodegradable, compostable, durable, lightweight, convenient and downright stylish.
Marc Glosserman ’06
Company: Hill Country is Texas-style barbecue restaurant featuring a majestic bi-level 11,000 square feet space, with towering industrial-height ceilings, two full bars and capacity for 300-plus seated guests. Located in the Flatiron District area of New York City, Hill Country brings the Hill Country Barbecue Market experience to tourists and locals alike.
Andrea Miller ’02
Company: YourTango is a multimedia company focused on intelligent talk on love and relationships for women ages 25-45. Whether the topic is relationships, fashion, careers, culture, stress, travel, home, or money, Tango approaches it from a unique point of view, offering a rich mix of expert advice, in-depth reporting, dramatic personal narrative, and entertaining opinion.
Julian Cook ’00
Company: FlyBaboo is a Swiss airline that offers low fares on flights between Geneva and destinations including Florence, Geneva, Lugano Naples, Nice, Rome, St-Tropez, and Venice. Flybaboo aims to treat all their clients as VIPs in an understated way. By making them feel comfortable and at home, Flybaboo provides a quality travel experience that leaves them with a smile.
Ntiendo Etuk ’02
Company: Tabula Digita is an educational gaming company focused on delivering innovative and effective educational games to students and institutions. The games have all of the action adventure fun associated with mainstream games while simultaneously providing an efficient learning environment to better prepare students for high stakes exams. The fusion of entertainment and education offers an important new educational alternative for students who are having difficulties thriving in today’s overwhelmed education systems.
Julie Flakstad ’99
Company: Blow is New York City’s premiere “Blow Dry Bar” for well-groomed women on the go. The flagship “Blow Dry Bar” opened its doors in February 2005 in downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and is steadily building a loyal following of clients with its blow outs, the salon’s signature service. The bar also offers a full range of beauty services including manicures, pedicures, waxing, cuts, color, make-up, and features its own line of hair care products.
Shazi Visram ’04
Company: HappyBaby offers fresh frozen organic baby meals in 15 flavors with a great variety of meats, veggies, grains and fruits for a baby’s budding palette. They are committed to making baby food that is healthy and delicious as homemade with the essential nutrients a baby needs for optimal growth and development.
Jereme Axelrod ’07
Company: Satellite Films, LLC’s A Moment On Earth series attempts to take an unfathomable concept – the diversity of events taking place all around our planet in a single Moment – and capture them; trapping the moment in such a way as to make it tangible and visual.
Ron Gonen ’04
Company: RecycleBank provides communities with a cost effective and environmentally conscious solution to the rising cost of waste collection. RecycleBank rewards consumers for the amount they recycle. RecycleBank Recycling Containers have a barcode that is identified by the recycling truck. The amount a home recycles is translated into RecycleBank Dollars that the household can use to shop at over 100 participating stores. RecycleBank supports a single stream recycling system that enables households to deposit all of their recyclables (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, tin, aluminum) in their RecycleBank Container.
Hootan Mahallati ’07
Company: RightPedal is an entertaining and educational hosted TV series/Interactive video website aimed at car enthusiasts and car buyers. RightPedal viewers will be able to learn about the world’s most exciting cars through compelling and evocative video footage of cars being driven to the limits of their capabilities. Additionally, RightPedal.com enables automotive social networking for those who want to express their passion and knowledge about cars.
Jamie Meiselman ’02
Company: Surfparks LLC is a US-based company focused on developing and operating innovative wave-riding facilities. On a mission to deliver every surfer’s dream of perfect, uncrowded waves, Surfparks has licensed exclusive rights to proprietary technology capable of delivering world class surf in controlled, salt-water pools. The company's first park in Orlando, Florida is expected to open in early 2007.
Naif Al-Mutawa ’03
Company: Teshkeel Media Group is the premier source for high-quality children's media in the Middle East region. Teshkeel's own properties are based on universal themes intrinsic in regional culture, history and traditions that speak equally well to children both inside and outside of the Islamic world. Part of the company's vision is to create a stable of superheroes for all children based on Islamic culture. Teshkeel's flagship superhero property, The 99, debuted with a special issue in June 2006. The theme is poised to be an amusement park and a universal comic series in 2008-2009. Teshkeel also acquired exclusive licensing rights to publish several of the world's most popular comic book titles in Arabic including Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Superman, Batman and the Archie group of characters.
Andrea Wenner ’05
Company: Out2Play, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building and refurbishing playgrounds throughout the New York City public school system. With more than half of New York City elementary schools lacking playground access, Out2Play is implementing a large-scale, city-wide program to give New York City school children this much needed resource. Out2Play launched its first playground for the 2006-2007 academic year and has more than a dozen additional playgrounds in process.