For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Startup Fest 2020 Recap

Startup Fest 2020 Drexel University

November 6, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we experience the 2020 fall semester for all of us at Drexel University, but in the spirit of entrepreneurship, we innovated. From October 27 - 29, Drexel’s Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship hosted its largest entrepreneurial event of the year, Startup Fest. The event brought together students, alumni, staff, entrepreneurs, and mentors for a three-day virtual event packed full of exciting competitions, educational sessions, and fun entrepreneurship based games.


Local and alumni entrepreneurs joined the festival as speakers for panels covering current and future need to know tips for our student entrepreneurs. The “Perseverance In The Age Of Covid-19” panel featured panelists Nicole Marquis of Hip City Veg and Nick Bayer of Saxbys, who discussed their experiences pivoting due to COVID-19 and how they have overcome the challenges presented by these uncertain times. The second installment of the Black Entrepreneurs In Action program focused on “Making A Difference Today” through the experiences of local Philly business owners William Toms of REC Philly and Ashley Reid of Active Mom Fitness. Together with moderator Roger Lee, they discussed how student entrepreneurs can help those in need and make a big difference in the world now. Lastly, alumni speakers Justin Somaini, Vijay Ullal, and Brad Lucas of the “The Future” panel helped shine a light on new technologies, markets, and future thinking projects for all of us. Attendees also had the opportunity to network with one another and speak directly with specialists through mentoring office hours. 


Six Drexel University student entrepreneur teams competed to win funding for their startup, physical space in the Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship, and other services that are essential in growing companies. Congratulations to the winners of the competition and thank you to all those who participated!

The winners of the Baiada Institute Incubator Competition:

1st Place:  Michael Grant Warshowsky & Ben Kestenbaum of WOLF Financial 

WOLF is an emerging FinTech application offering the delivery of streamlined financial data, customized portfolio optimization solutions powered by a proprietary investment analytics engine, and an interactive financial education platform. Following a mission to make investing a social activity, WOLF Financial has integrated an investing oriented collaboration platform into its application, allowing for maximum collaboration and benefits for its users. 

2nd Place: Adit Gupta of Lula Delivery

Lula is a convenience goods delivery service that saves local retail stores and the environment.

3rd Place: Jacalyn Rosa of Student Run Trucks

We give students a food truck so they can get direct customer feedback, improve their cooking, test their menus, and grow their following before going all-in on a huge restaurant without any real experience. Once they build up their repertoire after real-world experience from working on the truck, students will have all the skills needed to become a successful restaurant. Not only will they know what it takes to run a food business, but they will also have the confidence to bring it into the community and show off their cooking for people to try.

Additionally, we would like to congratulate our Video Pitch Competition and Fast Pitch Competition winners for their creativity and participation.

Fast Pitch Competition winners:
1st: Henry Nguyen
2nd: Rashi Gala
3rd: Mila Malsteva

Video Pitch Competition winner:
Liam Halsey

Over 340 attendees joined the Close School’s premier entrepreneurship festival. This virtual installment of Startup Fest was so successful that moving forward the Close School will pursue offering a digital aspect to Startup Fest in order to make it more accessible to attendees. A Close School student and Fast Pitch Competition winner, Mila Maltseva, who participated all the way from Russia said, “thank you for such a great event, I know how hard it is to make an event online… I really liked all the different guests and competitions. It was really engaging and amazing.”