A low-cost tutoring service and a program connecting consumers with local farmers have been selected as promising student-led start-ups at Lafayette.
The Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship recently announced the winners of its Bergh Startup Accelerator Program—named for Chip Bergh ’79, the CEO of Levi Strauss. The program aims to support Lafayette students’ business ideas.
Over the course of ten weeks this summer, the students will work with Dyer Center resources to mature their startups into fully formed ventures. Each group may be gaining up to $20,000 from a donation from Bergh to put toward their efforts to boost their businesses this summer.
GoPeer and CherryTree, the student teams selected, will take these next steps in the newly opened Rockwell Center for Integrated Sciences building.
GoPeer, an affordable tutoring service, is led by Ethan Binder ‘19, Erik Laucks ‘20 and Zura Mestiashvili ‘20.
Binder described GoPeer as “a new technology that allows college students from top tier universities to tutor K-12 online via their collaborative digital classroom.”
This summer, the team hopes to expand their service and increase access to tutoring while working with the Dyer Center. They intend to make tutoring services more affordable while giving college students the means to make additional money.
The team has previous experience with the Dyer Center and business ventures. Binder completed an independent study this past fall with entrepreneur Yusuf Dahl through the Center’s resources, and co-founders Laucks and Mestiashvili won Lafayette’s 2018 Business Plan Competition with a previous venture.
“We plan to leverage the resources provided through the Bergh Accelerator to support our ability to bring affordable and personalized near-peer tutoring to students across the country who need to reach their full academic potential,” Binder said.
CherryTree, founded by Jack Lapides ’20 and Charley Western ’20, provides a platform to directly connect consumers with local farmers.
While the team has beta tested the program in the Easton market, they hope to expand its reach nationally through their work this summer.
The Bergh Program requires the selected teams to formulate plans prior to this summer detailing milestones and deliverables for their company.
Throughout the summer 10-week program, the teams will receive mentorship, attend workshops tailored to their needs, and gain exposure to networking activities.
The program will conclude with a demo day, where their work from the summer will be presented to investors, inventors, and other members of the entrepreneurial community.
With the Dyer Center furthering its commitment to student led business ventures, the Bergh Startup Accelerator Program intends to foster the expansion of these two business ventures into fully fledged businesses.