Mitchell Saum founded Swell Vision during his sophomore year while participating in the Launch Program. After spending countless hours in his dorm room scouring the internet to find the right product, Mitchell started to import uniquely designed bamboo sunglasses and other similar accessories like watches. Mitchell worked directly with producers in China, relying on his coursework in Chinese language, to offer high-quality items to consumers in the United States. Despite the successes and obstacles any startup faces, the company is still in operation and now has six employees.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
Joseph McMillin founded Atlas Organics to address the issue of food waste and strengthen the organics recycling infrastructure in the United States. Joseph began his entrepreneurial journey as a member of the Launch program and has continued to grow his endeavor across South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Atlas Organics recycles food waste, turning it into a valuable soil amendment to promote sustainable agriculture and landscaping, operating collection from both commercial and residential customers in the southeast. In addition to these services, Atlas Organics provides development, operational and engineering services to municipalities. Currently, Atlas Organics has 23 employees across four states.
Always plan ahead and understand that nothing will go as planned. You also have to be willing to never give up, as tenacity is what makes company thrive.
Amber Ludeman is the co-founder of Matchstick Social, a social media marketing firm designed to challenge the status quo of agency-to-business relationships. Amber and her partner founded the company over a phone call in a restaurant bathroom in 2013 and have since bought out their silent partner and, as of 2019, have 17 full-time clients. They saw a need for a new, modern system of marketing “that brought all of the strategy, creative and process of a large agency to medium-sized businesses that could not normally afford it.” Amber was an English major in the class of 2008 and always saw herself becoming a writer. That was paired with her love of social media to culminate into the success of Matchstick Social.
If it doesn’t empower, enrich or excite you, don’t do it. Some clients or projects may help keep the lights on, but if you don’t believe in them or it, your work inevitably suffers, and with it, your reputation.
Grace Moyd is the founder of Writefully His, a social enterprise inspired by the need for educational resources in East Africa. Writefully His is a boutique design studio and digital resource space that provides invitations for special events, personal stationery and gives 100% of its proceeds toward the purchase of school supplies for students in East Africa. Since its founding in 2012, Writefully His has entered into wholesale categories, wedding lines, retail spaces and licensing. This has enabled Grace to expand the mission of Writefully His and accelerate the impact of her work through the launch of Thrive Global Project, a nonprofit that provides educational resources to vulnerable students across the globe.
Do it scared. It doesn't get easier. You will have ups and downs and it will change like you never thought it could, but it's all part of the ride.
Class of 2010
Major: Finance, Minor: Economics
Company: Fifth Season (RoBotany Ltd. DBA Fifth Season)
Austin Webb founded Fifth Season in 2016, a consumer tech company that uses robotics, AI and IOT to create a whole new standard of vertical farming with a complete end-to-end smart manufacturing solution. Locally grown with no harmful chemicals by people known and trusted in the community, Fifth Season addresses the issue of food waste and the impending global water crisis because vertical farming uses 95% less water than traditional agriculture and avoids harmful run-off pollution. Overall, this means the company is able to solve a multitude of global problems while also making a direct, positive impact in the communities where they farm including economic development and STEM education. As an entrepreneur, Austin wakes up energized every day to be part of the solution to multiple global challenges. Fifth Season currently has 35 employees and has raised 35mm+ in venture capital.
There's never an easy win, so you have to earn them all. Resilience is an important factor to success.
Sami Bernstein and her brother wanted to create a reliable place for people to discover and promote their favorite brands and get paid to do so. As an avid online shopper and experienced social media influencer, Sami knew there was an opportunity to monetize the social experience of shopping. Launched in July 2020, Kickback is an invite-only platform with access to exclusive deals, only accessible to those who have had a link shared with them by a user of the app; it’s a modern-day word-of-mouth marketing platform which bills customers based on performance. Since launching, Kickback has taken off quickly, working with brands such as Sephora, Apple Music, Sam’s Club, Nike and more. The company also makes it a priority to spotlight smaller brands and women-owned businesses. In her role as CMO, Sami has led growth to include over 150 brands and thousands of influencers.
You're not too young to start a company — you have a unique modern perspective and that has immense value.
Anthony Will co-founded Reputation Resolutions in 2013 to help companies and individuals repair, improve, and manage their online reputation on Google. Shortly after graduating from Wofford, Anthony saw a significant opportunity to help people control their reputation in Google search results, given the shifting tide in how people used search engines to make buying, hiring, and other important decisions. Over the past 7+ years, the Reputation Resolutions team has successfully helped over 2,000 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, executives, small to medium-sized businesses, celebrities, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and many more. Reputation Resolutions is proud to be rated as one of the top 5 online reputation management firms in the U.S. by three independent agencies and has been selected to join the exclusive Google Partner Program. Currently, Reputation Resolutions has 10 employees across the United States.
Start as soon as possible, and understand that you will fail often. It is how you overcome the failures that will shape your success as a business and entrepreneur.