ESTEEM Alum and His Team Develops Sleep-Enhancing App and Tools

Somni products

A team of Notre Dame entrepreneurs has developed a sleep-enhancing kit and app designed to boost college students’ healthy rest, memory, learning, and mental health. The approach is based on the research of Jessica Payne, the Nancy O'Neill Associate Professor of Psychology and director of the Sleep Stress and Memory Lab. Matt Berg, who received his undergraduate degree in science-business in 2012 and master’s degree in the entrepreneurship master's program (ESTEEM) in 2013, and junior Ryan Gannett work with Payne. Their company, Somni, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for kit manufacturing and app development.

2015 Naughton Fellowship awardees announced

Trinity College

Twenty-one winners of the Naughton Fellowships were announced today by the Graduate School. The research fellowships were awarded to undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. students from Notre Dame and from Ireland. This year’s winners from Notre Dame represent three Notre Dame colleges and schools, including arts and letters, engineering, and science.

Thoughts on Social Entrepreneurship, Part I

In the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp class this semester, the ESTEEM students spent a class period discussing the implications of a recent MIT Entrepreneurship Review article entitled “The Unexotic Underclass”. The article states that many complain that entrepreneurs are putting their talents to waste by failing to solve Big Problems –capital B, capital P- (famine, clean energy, climate change, etc.) and instead focusing on the easily lucrative “anti-problems” epitomized in the variety of useless apps on our smartphones. The author presents another perspective by pointing out that there is not only a need to solve the high-profile Big Problems, but perhaps a more pressing urgency to solve big problems – little b, little p. 

Thoughts on Design Thinking

“Design Thinking” is quite the buzz word these days, being implemented at not only the traditional design consultancies like IDEO and gravitytank but also at software and consumer goods companies like SAP, Google, and Apple.  Even companies like Booze Allen and Deloitte are starting to see the value in the innovative approach and employing it in their firms.  But what exactly is Design Thinking?

Meet ESTEEM 2015

The final deadline for the ESTEEM application is quickly approaching (April 10). We had a chance to catch up with some admitted students. Check out thoughts from some of the entrepreneurial talent that will be at Notre Dame and in South Bend next year! 

Meet our Neighbors: NanDio

Recently ESTEEM student Derek Athy has been working with a novel cancer diagnostics company NanDio, which was originally the thesis project of 2014 ESTEEM alumnus Pat Rice. Read on to learn more about the company and see how it has grown in the last year.

Alum Launches Startup Up/Down Technologies

Chris Freise, who earned his ESTEEM degree in 2012 and spent over two years with the Epic healthcare software company in Madison, has formed a startup with three partners to develop a novel application to promote wellness by tracking activities, making recommendations, and rewarding good behavior. The company, UpDown Technologies Inc.

ESTEEM Stories: From Budapest to South Bend

ESTEEM students Helga Feiszthuber and Nora Markia, who have traveled from Hungary to study here in the United States, speak out about their experience in America for the first time and the challenges that they have faced. 

My Time in Silicon Valley

John Vernon is a current student and a member of our student development team.  Below are his reflections from the class trip to Silicon Valley.

When I joined the ESTEEM program I was aware of the traditional Spring Break Trip for our program, but the amazing adventure that we experienced last week in Silicon Valley and Palo Alto exceeded my expectations.  We were busy non-stop, meeting and greeting as we toured a number of successful companies. We had the opportunity to spend time with very accomplished people in a variety of industries who graciously shared their stories and insights with our group. It was definitely a highpoint for me, as well as the rest of the eager young entrepreneurs in my ESTEEM program. In order to get a day-by- picture of this trip, please enjoy our blog posts.  This recap will be an overall summary of the entire experience, and worthy of a special notation in our graduate school memory book.…

Alum Makes Impact Through Local Government

Santiago Garcés, who came to Notre Dame from his native Bogotá, Colombia, as an undergraduate to earn a degree in electrical engineering and political science, stayed for the ESTEEM program where he found ways to combine his interests in technology and public policy. He worked with Dean Greg Crawford on a device to help identify the age of bruises, a critical tool to prevent child abuse.…

Spring Break in the Valley: Days 4 and 5

Sean McGee is reporting from ESTEEM’s Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley each day this week.

Students enjoy learning from IDEO speaker, Dennis Boyle

On Thursday, we visited SAP, including a tour of their AppHaus, a boutique business software solutions provider that has served a Chinese fashion magazine and the German national soccer team. The firm has undergone a cultural shift, becoming less like a conventional corporation and more agile like a startup. Michael Brown, the Vice President of Global User Experience and Design, talked to us about SAP Ventures, their investment side.…

Industry-Sponsored Project Offers Immense Benefits

Christopher Genco, Jr. has focused his Capstone Thesis Project on technology developed through industry-sponsor Kanzo.  His reflections are below.

Student Chris Genco tours the rooftop of a 122kW install

An ESTEEM thesis project is tough work. 20 hours/week of thesis is definitely hard and not for everyone. However, there is something rewarding about seeing the product you are working to bring to market being applied in the real world. My name is Christopher Genco, and I am working with Kanzo, Inc. to bring to market a polycarbonate solar rack. …

Spring Break in the Valley: Day 3

Sean McGee is reporting from ESTEEM’s Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley each day this week.

On Wednesday, the ESTEEM students each shadowed at different companies across the Bay Area. The sites included ZELTIQ, a medical technology company; PivotNorth Capital, a venture capital firm; Workday, which provides enterprise cloud applications for human resources and finance; Jive Software, which provides communication and collaboration solutions for business; Geissler Engineering, a multidisciplinary engineering firm that specializes in earthquake-resistant buildings; and Forward Accelerator, which helps entrepreneurial founders increase startup success.

Spring Break in the Valley: Day 2

Sean McGee is reporting from ESTEEM’s Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley each day this week.

Students at the Google Headquarters

On Tuesday, we returned to WeWork, where ESTEEM students Helga Feizsthuber, Ben Hoggan, James Sallee, Derek Athy, John Vernon, and I competed in a mini pitch competition. The judges were Tim Connors, founder of PivotNorth Capital; Jim Marshall, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank; Richard Pivnicka, Honorary General Consul of the Czech Republic; Chris Stevens, a cofounder of Keurig Premium Coffee System; and Hans Koch, CEO and cofounder of NGI (Stealth). Current entrepreneurs from Blue Planet, Nova, and Ve-Go also competed. Feizsthuber won the competition.…

Spring Break in the Valley: Day 1

Sean McGee is reporting from ESTEEM’s Spring Break trip to Silicon Valley each day this week.

ESTEEM Students at WeWorks in Silicon Valley

Monday was an introduction to life and business in the Bay Area. We visited the co-working space WeWork in San Francisco and discussed trends in the area and projections for the future. The day was filled with networking opportunities, and at the end, ESTEEM students had an opportunity to pitch their thesis ideas to venture capitalists and local entrepreneurs.…

McCloskey - An ESTEEM Hat Trick?

February 20th marked the end of the second round of Notre Dame’s McCloskey Business Plan Competition run by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship. Historically ESTEEM projects and students have done very well - last year Pat Rice of ESTEEM and his NanDio team won the entire competition. As we wait to see who will make the final rounds this year, we reflect on our experiences in the last race to submit.

ESTEEM Stories: Bengal Bouts

ESTEEM student James Hodgens recently competed in the 85th Annual Bengal Bouts competition. Learn about his work fighting to support Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh and how it has related to his desire to study entrepreneurship.