Student Success Businesses: 2017
Emily Morehouse-Valcarcel and Frank Valcarcel, Cuttlesoft
Cuttlesoft is an award-winning creative product development agency with offices in Tallahassee, FL, and Denver, CO. They craft beautifully designed and highly scalable solutions for web, mobile, IoT, and the cloud. Founded in 2014 by FSU alumni and future husband and wife Emily Morehouse and Frank Valcarcel, Cuttlesoft began in earnest when they won a year of free co-working at Domi Station. After working their way up from desk, to office, to Westward expansion, the company now operates in three time zones and has worked with 20+ businesses and nonprofits to produce a versatile array of software products.
Maureen Isern, MOPED Productions
MOPED is a full-service video production and storytelling shop that intersects with technology to catalyze conversation, mobilize audiences and drive impact, both on and offline. We are a collection of digital strategists, directors, producers, editors, writers and artists, and we’ve seen our work help organizations achieve heightened visibility, elevated engagement and greater results. We develop stories into vehicles to compel action and change.
Joshua Esnard, The Cut Buddy
The idea, much like our flagship product, is simple: “People feel confident and have high self-esteem when they look good.”
When I was just 13 years old and unintentionally invented The Cut Buddy, a patented multi-curve maintenance edge up, line up, and shape up tool, I just wanted my haircut to look good. Through high school and college I noticed that all my friends wanted their haircuts and beards to look good too; there’s something about feeling confident in your looks that gives people high self-esteem and puts a little ‘pep’ in their step.
At The Cut Buddy, we’ve created something more than just a haircut template that allows people to look great daily. We give people confidence, we save them money, we make their lives easier. From the single mother who needs to save money on her children’s haircuts to the military personnel overseas without access to a barber to the disabled who struggle to do their own haircuts since their medicine makes their hands shake, we’ve solved a very common yet simple problem.
Now, 18 years later from it’s origin, that little cardboard cutout stencil I created has gone on to become the Amazon.com #1 Best Seller in the United States and Canada and has been featured in GQ Magazine, Forbes, the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Univision, and on NPR.
At The Cut Buddy, our goal is to enable people to have confidence and high self-esteem daily. Be it through community outreach with local youth groups or supplying them at a steeply discounted rate to our active service members overseas, we care about the way that people feel. Our priority is to enable every person the opportunity to feel great about themselves daily.
Look good, feel good. Feel good, do good.
Shantel Khleif, Imagine Media Consulting
Imagine Media Consulting is a boutique social media and marketing agency that helps lifestyle, ecommerce, and food & beverage businesses build relationships with their target audience online through content creation, community management, advertising, videography, and photography.
At Imagine, we are storytellers. The core purpose of our business is to learn your story, translate it on social, and continue to explore innovative ways to share it.
Gordon Folkes, Archer First Response Systems
Archer First Response Systems provides a Life-saving service and Amenity to Master Planned communities. We utilize the athleticism of Multi-rotor Unmanned air systems to quickly transport an AED and CPR mask to a Cardiac Arrest victim in need. Our goal is to have a substantial impact on the number of Sudden Cardiac Arrest fatalities in Master Planned communities by revolutionizing the way a cardiac arrest event is handled. By transporting a lifesaving AED and CPR mask directly to the scene of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest event, our system enables a rescuer to focus on performing effective CPR and forego the timely and inconsistent AED retrieval process. By simply activating the community’s Archer First Response System with their mobile device, a rescuer will simultaneously hail an AED to their location, place a 911 phone call, notify other community members of the situation, and provide a visible landmark for EMS personnel to easily identify. Once activated, our centrally located Archer First Response System Ground Control Hub opens, our Multi-rotor flies a pre-programmed flight path to a drop coordinate nearest the site of activation, drops its payload, stably hovers over the scene to act as a visual beacon for EMS personnel, and then returns home to a secure landing location. An Archer First Response System provides 8 square miles of (3 minute or less) blanket AED coverage. We here at Archer First Response Systems are working to make communities more resilient to fatal Sudden Cardiac Arrest than ever before.
Spencer Miller, Brew Runners LLC
The craft beer industry has been experiencing tremendous growth within the United States throughout the 21st century, and has become a centerpiece of American culture and individualism. With 4000 plus breweries popping up all across the country in the past decade, there is a craft beer for nearly every unique palate in this great nation! The only problem, it is terribly difficult to find some of your favorite beers if you do not live in the same region as the brewery that creates it. That is where Brew Runners comes in. Spencer Miller, Jose Moralejo, and Jack Levin founded the company in FSU’s Entrepreneurship program. Spencer Miller, our CEO, conceived the idea atop Gooch Mountain on the Appalachian Trail during a weeklong trek across the historic range. We have over 100 of America’s finest breweries on board for our customers to choose from. You choose every single beer that you want, and the best part, we deliver it right to your door! Brew Runners is set to launch in the middle of this year. If you have any questions regarding memberships or employment, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
Mitch Nelson & Jason McIntosh, DivvyUp
DivvyUp is the first one-for-one custom sock company. 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. DivvyUp was founded in 2014 to solve this problem sustainably; with every pair of socks purchased, we gift a pair of socks to the homeless community. To date, the community has gifted over 14,000 pairs of socks across the United States.
Summer Calenberg, Drip Drop Fitness
“I have always had a passion for fitness, knowing the importance and positive influence it had on my body and mind. Working out can be such a pain. So, if you’re tired of driving to the gym just to run on the treadmill alone, taking classes that are honestly just boring, or trying to lift weights and make gains that leave you too sore, you are not alone! After spending a few months in NYC exploring different types of fitness studios, I was inspired to create a unique fitness offering in Tallahassee.”
Drip Drop Fitness exists to create a fun exercise by disguising the workout through dance, music, and an energetic atmosphere.
With 4 years of undergraduate studies here, I am confident in the culture and community and know that Tallahassee and the students of FSU need something like this!
Tallahassee is constantly growing and changing, so why should your workout routine stay the same?
Brendan Adriano, Good Commune
After traveling the world and moving to new cities, we sat down to try and understand what makes life so good. We came to realize a certain truth: The community of people we arrive with and find in those places are what make those moments and places something to remember. The “Good Commune” we find is what makes life good. We want to spread the love of good community and vibes by creating great designs on the softest shirts. We hope people wear Good Commune Clothing to remember the community they have and to show others the community they’re willing to give.
Through the support and guidance of the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship, Good Commune Clothing were able to generate revenues of over $1000 dollars of revenues within our first year. We are so excited to see what other opportunities lie ahead.
Be Good. Wear Good.
Adam Serota, Heritage Apparel
Adam Serota is a nineteen-year-old entrepreneur from Weston, Florida and a sophomore at Florida State University. Adam was recently accepted into the first graduating class of the Jim Moran College and plans to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Entrepreneurship. His company, Heritage Apparel, focuses on creating unique events by offering fully-customizable design and printing solutions across a carefully selected range of products. The core of the business revolves around apparel, mainly custom shirts. However, it is the Heritage Apparel experience that captures the love and adulation of its customers. Adam spends countless hours in the InNOLEvation™ Center, the student business incubator on campus, tirelessly working on his craft.
The company has exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Adam’s. Heritage Apparel has quickly grown into a full-time job for Adam in just three months. Initially launched January 1, 2017, Heritage Apparel just finished their first quarter of business on pace to hit six-figure revenues by the end of the fiscal year. Adam had to rapidly expand his team to now seven other students. On top of being a full-time student and CEO of a thriving start-up, Adam is also the Vice-President of his fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi.
Indigo Hansen, Jack Shelgren, Will Jones, and Myles Blatt, Hooligans Movement, LLC
Coming out of sophomore entrepreneurship class of 2018, Indigo Hansen, Jack Shelgren, Will Jones, and Myles Blatt, embarked on a new entrepreneurial venture of creating the biggest brand that Florida State University has ever seen. The company was initially created on the idea of folding skateboards, although we discovered the high barriers to entry in that market and decided to keep the logo and start with apparel. We soon realized that we wanted to make Hooligans more than a brand – a movement, as well. We, the four founders, envisioned a company that propelled the style of living that each of us shared: an affinity for gracefully rejecting the norm and choosing to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
Sean Zargari, KONAleashes
My name is Sean Zargari; I am a junior at Florida State in the entrepreneurship major. Florida State and the teachers in this program truly make a great atmosphere to learn, grow, and experiment as an entrepreneur. My sophomore year in the program I started my company, KONAleashes. KONAleashes was a company built out of the necessity I had as a college student with a young husky. Huskies are bred to be sled dogs; they have a shocking amount of power and drive to go! Finding the right leash was tough, so I made my own. This solution I found in my KONAleash was not only useful to me, but to others, as well. After I saw there was a market, I began offering my leashes to others. Since the first sale in February 2016, I have learned how to manage growth, negotiate deals and manage others. I cannot thank the teachers, faculty, and donors enough for helping me through each step and every challenge that I have faced. This program is truly something special and I encourage anyone who is interested to check it out.
Jack Berg, Pearlescent Media
Pearlescent is a creative content machine founded and run by me, Jack Berg, (Florida State University) and Tory Powers (CU Boulder). Pearlescent has taken our hobby of photography and filmmaking and pushed it into something much more. Over the last year, we have found success by developing our own style, character, and signature behind the lens. Working alongside major companies such as Red Bull and Suzuki, as well as with musicians like The Chainsmokers and Krewella, and athletes including Ricky Carmichael, Justin Barcia, and many others has been unreal. For the future, I plan to expand into creative branding and marketing while maintaining our luxury approach to providing a complete creative experience. Standing on stage of a sold out Red Rocks Amphitheater, sliding down glaciers at 14,000 feet, playing with some of the fastest cars money can buy, swimming through coral reefs, filming on a motocross track during the worst hurricane in 10 years, and making new friends from around the world has only just kindled our fire.
Hernan Bater, Gabriel Grynsztein, PlayBall
PlayBall, created by Hernan Bater and Gabriel Grynsztein, is a mobile application that helps find and create pick-up games for students. PlayBall takes away the everyday hassle of organizing pick-up games and helping students integrate into their university via sports. Hernan and Gabriel are first-generation immigrants that met at Florida State with a deep rooted hunger for innovation and success. Hernan came up with the idea when he realized there was a struggle organizing soccer games on campus. Gabriel joined the team shortly after the inception and have since reached out to hundreds of students on campus. With the app currently under construction, a beta version of the services can be found on their website. If you can’t find Hernan or Gabriel on the IM fields, they are probably in the Innovation Center working on the app.
Chase Mayer, Pop Your Top Bottle Openers
Pop Your Top creates and sells custom themed bottle openers. The idea came about from my sisters wedding when she gave every guest a California shaped bottle opener that my soon to be brother in law created in his sheet metal shop. As soon as I saw it, I knew he was on to something… and the idea was born. I had him design me a Florida State themed bottle opener, and we have since expanded into many different designs. I teamed up with my classmate Leif Neandross, and we are in the works of manufacturing different sizes and designs, with the plan of expanding into new states and variations. People love to drink beer, so we figured why not enhance the experience with a bottle opener shaped like your home state or themed for your college team? The idea behind our company is to create memories and experiences when enjoying your favorite bottled beverage. We are also expanding towards fully customized orders so that our customers can create their own design, pick out colors, and feature unique lettering or engraving for their wedding, company, or special event. It was a challenge going from an idea to a product and then to a company, but with the help from the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship and the extremely knowledgeable professors and support staff, it made for a smooth ride.
Kash Fallahzadeh, ProFi Facility Maintenance
ProFi FM is the leading provider of facility maintenance services to commercial facilities throughout the Southeast United States. We specialize in commercial janitorial services, grounds keeping, quality flooring, day/ night porters and sanitation; through innovation and technology. We serve office parks, commercial real estate, medical facilities, education centers, entertainment centers, auto dealerships, government facilities, business/ banking venues, the food industry and much more. With our dedicated staff and outstanding customer service we offer more than just a service, we create an EXPERIENCE.
James Stage, Queralyze
Queralyze is a supplemental education program, designed to assist students in succeeding in school, and to help teacher’s better assess student performance while addressing their specific educational needs. In the United States, state governments spend on average 3.2 billion dollars a year in college on remedial education. In 2014 I (James Stage – Florida State), Mason Roth (Florida State), and Dr. Steven Sherman (Troy University), developed a program to address the issues that have led to students needing remedial education.
We are currently in the process of partnering with State Colleges in Florida to pilot our program and start making a serious dent in this problem. The experience has been quite a rollercoaster, but until we started working with FSU and their entrepreneurial support network, we didn’t actually know what we were doing. Now, we do, and we are excited to be out on the market and making a difference.
William Wheatley, The Social Source
The cell phone is the remote control of our lives and the social media platforms are the channels we watch every single day. The Social Source understands the importance, but more so the urgency, of building a strong and lasting presence on social media. The digital environment we live in is ever-changing. Our team works diligently to best position businesses and brands to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by this transitional period. We offer a range of services from social media marketing & advertising to website design. We recognize that the businesses that do not establish themselves on social media will not survive in a 2020 world. Our priority is to ensure that the businesses we work alongside are able to withstand the current shift from traditional to digital media. Moreover, to capitalize on their social media presence, increasing sales and overall brand awareness.
Nick O’Donnell, Terraform Design
Nick O’Donnell is a 2015 FSU graduate living in the Sarasota area, where he runs his company Terraform Design. Having started his company while taking business classes, Nick’s work exemplifies the key parts that design and creativity play in the world of Entrepreneurship. Nick was awarded the Governor’s Young Entrepreneur Award for his work this past November, and has had his geometric furniture & lighting published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Being a huge fan of the creativity process of conception to realization, his work has allowed him to gather a variety of helpful hints, tips, and advice for anyone aspiring to see an idea become reality.
Ana Sanchez, TerraVida Co.
TerraVida Co. is a cruelty-free fashion brand created and ran by me, Ana Sanchez, and my two entrepreneur partners Briana Blankhorst and Madi Grybek in Tallahassee, Florida. It was launched with the help of the Entrepreneurship Program at the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship. TerraVida was created with the idea of mixing our different personalities in order to create a boho chic jewelry collection. We thought: why not create something that would change the way animals play a role in the production of the accessories? Moreover, TerraVida is not only a fashion brand, it also promotes a pure lifestyle with a vision to promote awareness of animal cruelty through the creation of one of a kind hand-made accessories. Our brand uses vegan materials, such as Mushroom leather and faux suede, that act as a leather substitute. In the future, we plan to expand our product line with a larger variety of accessories and bags, always following the TerraVida mindset.
Thomas Goebel, Thomas Goebel Photography
The EPSON International Pano Awards showcases the work of panoramic photographers worldwide and is the largest competition for panoramic photography. This year, Thomas Goebel, entrepreneurship major, entered his photography along with 1770 other entries. He was awarded a silver award for his photograph, “Punchbowl.” This is Goebel’s first international award. The competition was judged by many photographers who inspired him to pick up a camera and are the leaders in the field of landscape photography.
“This is a photo I captured while hiking in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon with my family. It was such a mystical moment to see how the many waterfalls flow through the gorge and have shaped it over the years. I waited for the right moment when the sun glowed through the forest and really brought the scene to life,” said Thomas Goebel.
Goebel received his first national awards in the Wilderness Forever competition from the Smithsonian Museum, and his work was exhibited there for two years. To see more of Thomas’s work, visit thomasgoebelphotography.com
Evan Ernst, Who We Play For
We all have someone or something that motivates us – it’s who we play for. Who We Play For (WWPF) is a non-profit organization motivated by the young lives lost to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). By providing cardiac screening and increasing awareness, our fight is to help ensure other families, schools, and communities will never know the pain of losing a loved one to SCA. By partnering with hundreds of schools and sports clubs across the country, WWPF provides simple and effective electrocardiogram (ECG) heart screenings to young people, particularly student athletes.
Thanks to the support and resources of the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship and The Center for Leadership and Social Change, Who We Play For has grown to be one of the biggest heart screening organizations in the country. With over 80,000 student athletes and students screened, we’ve identified at least 65 life threatening heart conditions requiring medical intervention and dozens more minor abnormalities that can be monitored to prevent future issues.
Hannah King, Woven Futures
At Woven Future’s we envision a world where indigenous artisans are valued and add value to the world. In mass production and imitation, culture and consciousness is lost. Our mission is to preserve traditional weaving practices in Latin America by creating unique cultural fashion for modern times. We partner with indigenous textile weavers in Guatemala to create handcrafted, naturally dyed, bohemian handbags and accessories for women. Originally from Guatemala, founder Hannah King saw an opportunity in the beautiful and colorful textiles that weavers created. She also noticed the prevalent poverty and limited resources artisans were faced with. In efforts to meet the needs she saw, she began Woven Futures. Awarded 1st Place Social Enterprise at FSU’s InNOLEvation™ Challenge, Woven Future’s seeks to empower artisans to rise above poverty while bringing unique fashion with a purpose to the U.S. Every purchase helps bring sustainable income to artisans and their families, helping them improve their quality of life. You can learn more about the artisans we work with, their stories, and the programs we partner with through our website. You can also find products at RedEye Coffee locations in Tallahassee.
“Help preserve a culture and receive a piece of it in exchange” – (Hannah King, Founder)