Student Stories

Landon McCoy, Armis Sunday, Cameron Jones, and Robery Copsey Chaos Audio


Chaos Audio is an audio electronics startup founded by five Florida State University engineering students dedicated to making high quality audio electronics accessories that catalyze musical creativity and collaboration through innovative technology.They are currently undergoing the mass manufacturing process for their mobile app driven multi-effects guitar pedal, Stratus. The team raised $133,000 on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and plan to ship their first production units in 2022. Chaos Audio is based out of startup incubator TechFarms in Panama City Beach, FL and backed by venture capital fund TechFarms Capital. Chaos Audio is looking to move into retail distribution following the successful launch of Stratus and release new hardware products and effects on their mobile-app-integrated online platform that is tied to Stratus.

Website: https://chaosaudio.com/


Jason McIntosh and Mitchell Nelson, DivvyUp


“Socks. We need socks.” The phrase that started it all. As sophomores in Florida State University’s entrepreneurship program, we took a trip to our local homeless shelter looking for an opportunity to help. Expecting to hear “food” or “shelter,” we were surprised to learn there was a huge need for clean socks.

The inspiration for DivvyUp was born.

Wanting to start giving immediately, our professor provided us with a $400 loan to purchase and sell fun socks with a mission to give a pair to the shelter for every pair the community purchased. Setting up around campus wherever we could, we were able to give 160 pairs of clean socks to the Tallahassee homeless shelter after the first six weeks. Inspired by the initial success, we knew this was something we had to bring to the world. We invested $1,600 to build a beautiful website, create a fun brand, and purchase even more socks from established sock companies.

DivvyUp was officially founded on August 19th, 2014.

Website: https://www.divvyupsocks.com/


Madison Franz and Adam Serota, Dorm Baskets

Dorm Baskets was created by two FSU students from the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship, Madison Franz and Adam Serota.

“We’re just trying to give our moms an easier way to send us all the things we miss from home!”

“We’re providing parents with a way that makes their students days!”

Our goal is to dependably deliver high-quality gift-baskets straight to all of your loved ones in college. As well gift-baskets for all occasions all over the US.

Now as a college graduate pursuing a graduate degree and realizing the changes caused by Covid-19 we have introduced Corporate Gifts to help further develop our brand.
Website: https://dormbaskets.com/


Jon Virga and William McCarthy, Dunsel’s

Dunsel’s was founded by Jon Virga (’21) and William McCarthy (’21), who were on a mission to prove that business could be a force for good through the reduction of plastic pollution making its way to the oceans. The founders drew inspiration from their seafaring passions, sailing and surfing respectively, to address one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Dunsel’s developed a way to bring a second life to discarded sailboat sails by turning them into bags. The material is naturally suited for its new life as it is both highly durable stylish. The founders continue to work on keeping this material from ever reaching the ocean, and hope to develop new ways to derive value from our waste in the future.

Website: https://dunsel.us/


Jessica Bachansingh, Gifts for Confidence

Gifts for Confidence is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower young women through sewing education in Ethiopia, Africa. What began as a Girl Scout Gold award project six years ago, our after school sewing program has impacted over 40 girls and their families. The scarves are sewn by the girls during their curriculum then sold online to generate revenue for the program and to pay the girls. Gifts for Confidence was a finalist in the FSU InNOLEvation challenge winning the title for “Most viable business” in 2018.

Website: http://giftsforconfidence.org


Samantha Salstein and Gabriel Mustaciuolo, Hygge Rugs

Hygge Rugs creates handcrafted, customized rugs and accessories that allow people and businesses alike to show off their unique personalities and branding. Hygge was founded in 2020 by two college students, Samantha Salstein and Gabriel Mustaciuolo, on a whim and a cup of coffee with the intent to help college students find a sense of homeliness in their new environments… “don’t let your children or grandchildren go to college without a Hygge Rug.”

Website: www.instagram.com/hyggerugs


Michael Benarde, NightCap

NightCap was invented by then 16-year-old Shirah Benarde from West Palm Beach, Florida. The idea came to her in a dream after hearing about the horrors of drink spiking from friends who experienced it after going off to college. Fortunately, her friends were okay, but Shirah was determined to come up with a pragmatic solution to this problem that could protect her and her friends when they went off to college. She also wanted to make sure that the product would be something that girls would feel comfortable using. The next morning, she went to her mother’s closet, grabbed a pair of pantyhose, cut them up, and attached them to a scrunchie to create the first prototype.

Her brother, Michael, 21 at the time, came home from college for the summer and saw the prototype sitting on a table. As someone who had been living on a college campus for four years, he understood how prevalent this problem was — and is. Knowing that there was no product on the market that had been adopted at scale, Michael saw huge potential for NightCap due to its unbeatable convenience and reusability. Together, Michael and Shirah took action and spent the next 6 months working to bring NightCap from concept to reality.

Since launching, NightCap has won multiple awards including Florida State University’s InNOLEvation Challenge, Tallahassee Startup Week’s Annual Pitch Competition, FSU’s Turkey Tank, and FSU’s Jim Moran Micro Grant. NightCap also has been featured on the Fox Business Network, and in USA Today, among many other media outlets. Michael and Shirah believe that NightCap will save lives and are working diligently to make it available to women around the world.

Nightcap was featured on ABC’s hit television series Shark Tank on February 5th 2021 (Season 12 | Episode 12). Shirah and Michael struck one of fastest deals in Shark Tank history with Lori Greiner.

Website: www.nightcapit.com


Adrien Riguidel, Potted Pals™

Adrien Riguidel and Jon Francisco, Symfal

Potted Pals™  is an online store where you can pick your favorite potted houseplants and get them delivered right to your doorstep. We provide you with low-maintenance, healthy indoor and outdoor plants to make your setting of choice a little greener. Our Pals clean the air we breathe, make us more productive, boost our creativity, and reduce stress. We want to share their powers with you! The Potted Pals ship directly from our home to yours.

Symfal is an algorithmic platonic matchmaking web application that connects like-minded individuals geographically through music and common interests.

Adrien is a senior at Florida State University studying Commercial Entrepreneurship in the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship (JMC). On-campus he is President of The French Club (La Table Française), a two-term SGA Senator representing the JMC, a Budget Committee member, and a Student Alumni Association Ambassador. He also serves on the student leadership board for the JMC and is a member of FSU’s Torchbearer 100 network. Adrien’s personal entrepreneurial pursuits include becoming the Founder of Symfal, an interactive media web application currently in development, and the Co-Founder of Potted Pals, a D2C online potted plant store. During past summers Adrien has interned at a boutique corporate law firm in the Miami area and as a Wealth Management Analyst at Bank of America. This summer of 2021, Adrien interned at Amazon Web Services as a Tech Sales intern on the NYC SMB Team and received a full-time offer upon graduation. During his free time, Adrien is also an avid martial artist, photographer, and guitarist. Adrien is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping founders on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Website: www.pottedpals.com
Website: www.symfal.com


Gabrielle Maury, Refined Resumes

Gabrielle Maury, a Florida State University alumna and current Master of Science in Hospitality Entrepreneurship student, founded Refined Resumes LLC to empower and guide job seekers as they navigate their careers. Refined Resumes LLC offers resume writing and cover letter services as well as LinkedIn coaching. Gabrielle is a Certified Digital Career Strategist, a Certified Professional Resume Writer candidate, and a member and employee of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches. She co-authored a book, The Entrepreneur’s Resume, with the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship’s STEM Entrepreneur in Residence, Jeff Whalen, Ph.D., to provide an actionable strategy for those looking to take action in their job hunt. It will soon be available for purchase on the Refined Resumes LLC website along with Recalculating for Entrepreneurs, written by Ilana and Lee Krause.

Website: http://www.refinedresumesllc.com/


Alie Romano, Southside Charms

My name is Alie Romano and I am currently a Senior at Florida State University studying Retail Entrepreneurship at the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship.  Ever since I was little, I’ve always had a love for fashion and design. Running my own business had always been a dream of mine, and what started in high school as a quick way to earn some extra money has turned into something much bigger.  Southside Charms is a handmade jewelry business that offers on trend necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and more!  I strive to make high quality jewelry at affordable prices.  Southside Charms is made to live in, meaning you can wear it on a daily basis and should never have to worry about taking it off.   Not only do I aim at creating quality jewelry, but I also strive to stay on top of current trends.  As a result, Southside Charms is constantly evolving.  I couldn’t be any prouder of how far my business as come, and as time goes on, I hope to continue growing Southside Charms and its amazing community.

Website: https://www.southsidecharms.com/


To see past Student Success Businesses, please visit the Archive page.


“Looking back, the FSU entrepreneurship major established the entrepreneurial mindset in me at an early age. With the help of FSU’s life-changing faculty, like Dr. Jim Dever, this mindset has since allowed me to develop an RFID inventory system for hospitals as well as to give back by consulting with over 125 startups. My goal is to one day consult with over 1,000 startups to teach them entrepreneurial principals, much like the ones I learned while at FSU.”

Justin Heacock