McDonough School of Business
News Story

Alumni Present Their Social Impact Startups at the Georgetown Startup Accelerator’s Demo Day

10 early-stage, alumni-founded startups in the Georgetown Startup Accelerator (GSA) recently pitched their business ideas at Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s annual Demo Day. The event also featured opening comments by Daina Trout (NHS‘03), co-founder and CEO of Health-Ade Kombucha. After the pitches, attendees joined breakout rooms to engage directly with founders and learn more about their businesses.  

The GSA is a virtual, nine-week accelerator program open to Hoya alumni founders across the globe. The startups benefit from one-on-one mentorship from seasoned experts throughout the program, as well as workshop sessions on company culture, sales, investing, and product market fit, among others. Esteemed GSA mentors included Neel Premkumar (B’02), founder and CEO of Dyla Brands, Arianne Graham, director of enterprise strategy and innovation at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and Doug Bouton (C’07), founder and CEO at GATSBY Chocolate and Halo Top. 

Workshop speakers featured business experts such as Dahna Goldstein, Georgetown Entrepreneur in Residence and chief investment officer at Halcyon, Ryan Croft, co-founder of TransitScreen and investor, Margarita Womack (MBA’19), founder and chief executive officer of Maspandas, and Jordan DeCicco, chief operating officer at Super Coffee.

Trout kicked off the event and spoke on Health-Ade’s inspiring story of growth, tracing the company’s origins back to her studies at Georgetown. Commenting on her company’s initial energy and drive, she attributed their success to “getting in the game before we were ready, and that was the best thing we ever did.” She encouraged budding entrepreneurs to be tenacious and daring yet aware of the many challenges of rapidly growing a company. 

The 10 alumni startups focused on various solutions to pressing social justice challenges and addressing overlooked markets. For example, Keep Company, founded by Claudia Naim-Burt (SFS’08) and Adrienne Prentice, is a human resources tech program which allows parents and caregivers to join a group coaching program to build a work/life integration strategy while employers receive valuable data insights to prevent employee attrition. 

“Getting the opportunity to share our work with other Hoyas eager to help was very valuable,” said Naim-Burt. 

Parrotfish, led by Katie Pearson-Fucci (G’20), offers sustainable, zero-waste, plant-based, and palm-oil-free personal care products, including shampoo bars, shower steams, and soap. 

“The Georgetown Startup Accelerator was a remarkable opportunity. It was the perfect mix of general business knowledge and a tailored experience to meet you where you were with your company,” said Pearson-Fucci.

Georgetown Entrepreneurship is proud to support founders as students on the Hilltop to wherever they start companies as alumni. This year’s cohort included companies based in the United States, Chile, and Colombia.

“The Georgetown Venture Lab continues to serve as an amazing resource for founders based in the Washington D.C., area, and we are pleased to grow our range of support of alumni ventures, which has expanded to 35 GSA participants from across the world,” said Callie Jacobs, assistant director of the Georgetown Venture Lab. “We are proud of what they’ve accomplished over the past nine weeks and look forward to watching our alumni take their startups to the next level.”

A recording of Demo Day can be found here. Sign up for Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s newsletter to stay in touch and hear about future programming. 

Georgetown Entrepreneurship