February 21st, 2020

Hey Huskies! This week we revisit Bryn Mill (fromerly known as Venture Backpacks), hear from the people of the Sherman Center, get a sneak peak of a REV Team project and an inside scoop of one of the workshops!
🌻 Spring break is just around the corner 🌻

🎒 Keeping Up With Co-ops 🎒


This week we hear from Justin Lin!
Justin is currently co-oping through the Sherman Center on my own company,
Bryn Mill (formerly known as Venture Backpacks).

Justin is studying business with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship. He is set to graduate this December and walk in the Spring of 2021!

Why did you get into entrepreneurship?
“I think brands are super interesting. It’s all about understanding people and delivering the perfect experience to your audience everywhere your brand shows up. I feel like a lot of that work falls under the umbrella of marketing. Entrepreneurship has always been a passion of mine. Both my parents came from Taiwan with very little and started a restaurant in Queens. Seeing them work unbelievably hard to pursue what they love is something that’s inspired me to do the same.”

How did you get the idea for Bryn Mill?
“I love consumer products, brands, and good businesses. Backpacks are something most people use, but few are truly thoughtfully designed for the commute and work day. Both my co-founder and I experienced this problem when looking for a backpack for co-op and the only appropriate backpacks we could find were over $200. For me, Bryn Mill is the intersection of my personal interests and a problem that both Andrew and I faced at our time here at Northeastern.”

What is the mission of Venture Backpacks?
“The mission is to create the perfect backpack for the modern commuter. As Bryn Mill evolves we want the brand to stand for work fulfillment and bringing purpose back to the workplace. A lot of the narrative in the 2010s was around hustling – working hard, making a lot of money, and/or being your own boss. We want to redefine what success is for people and empower them with the tools and resources necessary to pursue that – whether it be to start a company or switch industries or to own your own restaurant.”

What do you plan to achieve by the end of your six months?
“We aim to have a finalized, sewn version of the backpack in hand, the groundwork laid out for a successful Kick starter campaign (press connections, pre-launch email campaign on-going, perks/Kick starter page copy finalized, video filmed and edited) our branding (assets, illustrations, animations, logo, etc.) finalized, website and landing page live.”What challenges have you faced?
“Having to rebrand due to trademarking issues which was a blessing in disguise – looking back our old name didn’t fully convey what we were about. Product development always takes longer than expected. We also feel as if we are being scrappy with the money we raised but always feeling like we need more. Also, every week areas come up that we don’t understand and we need to learn them as quickly as possible.”What are your next steps after you finish your co-op this spring?
“Once I finish my classes and graduate, I will be working full time on Bryn Mill back home in NYC!”

Any advice for those pursuing co-ops?
“Always think about the ‘why’ behind you doing what your doing.
Is it the gain more experience in a particular industry?
Is it because you love the problem the company is solving and want to make strides towards making the same impact?
Is it because you don’t know much about this area and you want to explore?
Is it because this field or role makes a lot of money or gives you recognition?
Whatever the ‘why’ is, make sure it’s something that’s compelling to yourself and something you’re honest about. You don’t need to rationalize it to anyone but yourself. Once you do that, set your eyes on whatever that thing is and go for it.”

🔥 REV Team SpotLIGHT 🔥










Northeastern students, Spencer Brennessel (left) and Jan Hennecke (right)
are working with REV on their team project …

The Light Board

Jan and Spencer are both third year students on the Northeastern rowing team. Jan is studying mechanical engineering and Spencer is studying electrical engineering.

Spencer had the original idea to create a visualizer and Jan helped him build from there. They wanted to experience music and sound in a new way.

Their project is a software program that analyzes music and illustrates it onto to an led board. Their intent is to imitate the light show of a concert with a targeted audience of bars and clubs. At these venues, the DJ will have the ability to control the board and still have the board run on it’s own with just the software.

This group found out about REV by stumbling upon it. Spencer is the president of the Northeastern robotics club and works with professor Goldstone, the director of the Sherman Center. While visiting professor Goldstone, they saw the maker space and thought it would make a great place to work on their project, but couldn’t get access to it.

Through REV, Spencer and Jan have access to the maker space, mentors and advisers on hand, and $1000 of funding a month and the application process is to explain your venture in a one page letter!

Jan has found the best part of joining REV to be the availability of mentors for their specific needs and in general having a focused space where he is surrounded by other driven and skilled people.

Some advice Jan has for those looking to apply to REV is to have a concrete idea. REV is an educational program so it is okay to do make mistakes, the purpose is to help you learn and improve.

“If we were already perfect and set up and didn’t have any question, we wouldn’t be here”.

As Jan and Spencer continue to work towards creating a software that is the best at analyzing sound in depth, they hope to be able to put their project on the market at the end of their time with REV.

Their long term goal is to create an entire entertainment system with moving pieces and additional parts beyond lights, such as a fog machine and flames (Jan’s ideal Shark Tank venture is flames that are not hot for special effects). They want a product that is usable for an audience from clubs and bars to just at home.

Check out the Light Board in action at Two Saints here!

🐾 Humans of the Sherm 🐾

Ryan McCarthy (fourth from left, top) is the
Operations Director of Generate!

Ryan is a mechanical engineering major, set to graduate in 2.5 months.
He grew up around Los Angeles, California.How did you decide on your major?
“Before starting college, I determined that I would use my career to address climate change. As a result, I felt that it was important to develop a technical background that would help me better understand the relationship between technology and sustainability. Despite not really knowing what mechanical engineering was at the time, I transferred to NU as a mechanical engineer and I’ll be graduating in May as a MechE. :)”
“My mother is the most selfless person I know – and that’s not an exaggeration. On her morning walks with our childhood dog, she’d bring food to the homeless man living in the park every day, eventually inviting him to join us on Thanksgiving. On our drives to school she’d often point out a house and tell me the life story of the people that live there. I’d be like “okay mom” and turn on the radio. But looking back it’s apparent how much my mother cares for the neighborhood. Growing up, I took for granted how active my parents were in our community while raising six kids and dealing with their own financial stresses. Now that I am (sort of) an adult with adult bills and adult responsibilities, I’m starting to recognize the greatness of my parents. I’ve learned many lessons from my mom, but the most important – and the one that led me to college – is to continually ask, ‘what are you doing for others?'”
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🎙 ShermCast: Season 2 Episode 3 🎙

Hey Shermits, Check out last week’s episode of the ShermCast to learn about product management. Thank you to all our listeners and everyone who helped produce this podcast!
Click here to listen!
💡What’s going on around Boston, the Sherm, 💡
and Northeastern this week?
A Night of Value Creation
February 27th, 2020 6:30 – 9 PM
Fee: Free (Register here)Boston:
Founders Live Boston – Startup Pitch Event
February 27th, 2020 6 – 8PM
📍CIC Boston
50 Milk St 16th Floor, 02110Boston
Fee: $10 (get tickets here)Roxbury Business Workshop Series 2020
February 28th, 2020 6 – 7:15 PM
📍Roxbury Innovation Center
2300 Washington St 2nd Floor, 02119 Boston
Fee: Free (register here)

Corporate Innovation Connect
February 27th, 2020 3 – 8:30 PM
📍Venture Café Cambridge
1 Broadway 5th Floor, 02142 Boston
Fee: Free (RSVP here)

The Sherm:
Team Leadership Step-by-Step
Every Friday @ 1:00 PM
📍Sherman Conference Room, 008C Hayden HallVenture Coaching: Product/Market Consulting
February 24th, 2020 3:30 PM
📍Sherman Conference Room, 008C Hayden Hall
Appointment Only! Contact e.buff to reserve your spot.Venture Coaching: Product Development
February 25th, 2020 12:00 PM
📍Sherman Maker Space, 010 Hayden Hall
Appointment Only! Contact j.hutchins to reserve your spot.
📚 What are we reading this week? 📚

From 25 Cents to $25,000 and Beyond: How 15 African-American Entrepreneurs Funded Their Businesses
From 25 Cents to $25,000 and Beyond: How 15 African-American Entrepreneurs Funded Their Businesses

This week we had a look at how these savvy business owners built there business from the ground up.

“The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that new black-owned businesses start with almost three times less overall capital than white-owned businesses.”

This same study found that loan requests of black entrepreneurs are three times less likely to be approved than those of their white counterparts.

With the odds stacked against these founders, check out how they obtained the necessary cash to start and grow their businesses.

NEW: Weekly Poll!

We want to here from you!
If you could eat at one place around Northeastern, what would it be? Rebecca’s
Chicken Lou’s
Playa Bowls
Poll Update (last week): KRANCH is an innovation that does NOT excite.

🙌Happy Friday 🙌

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Other Contact Info:
Phone: 617.373.3148

008C Hayden Hall
360 Huntington Ave., Boston, Massachusetts 02115


Lisa Byrne

Author Lisa Byrne

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