Meet the Fall 2016 CEOs

From idea spotting to the business plan and marketing strategy to the pitch, students in Beaver’s entrepreneurship elective have spent the term learning the different facets of being an entrepreneur.

Each student developed his/her own idea for a new and innovative company – one that will make a positive impact on an industry or on society and also be driven by profit. The following three ideas were voted the best in class. Led by a student CEO, these ideas will be pitched to a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on Friday, November 11, 2016.


lederCEO: David Leder ’17
Company: Centercourt – an app which provides the reliability of a basketball league with the easiness of a pick-up game. 

About the app: Currently when you’re looking for a basketball game there are two options: you can sign up for a league, which is at a fixed time and often does not conform to your schedule, or you can drive to a public court and hope people are playing. With Centercourt, all you need to do is check your phone to see where people are playing around you and immediately you can find a game. It’s a service desperately needed in the pick-up basketball community.

What strengths do you bring to the table as CEO? My knowledge of the market and my dedication to the idea.

What challenges do you think you will face? We will face challenges with getting the app out to the public, but once it is widely used, it will be incredibly successful.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I see Centercourt being an important part of every basketball player’s life. I expect Centercourt not only to take over pick-up basketball, but also to grow the culture as a whole.

What three words do you want people to think of when they hear your company name? Basketball, easy, smart


calkaCEO: Justin Calka ’17
Company: Sode – a product that solves the serious problem of opening soap and shampoo bottles in the shower.

About the product: For the millions of people around the world affected by arthritis, opening cans, bottles, and even turning a key can be incredibly painful. There are hundreds of products designed to help the everyday life activities of those afflicted by this disease. Although there are many businesses that have established a position in the arthritis device market, no other company has developed a product to address this particular need. Sode currently holds the only product designed to help make opening bottles in the shower a pain-free experience.

What strengths do you bring to the table as CEO? I am truly committed to this product and the development process. Problem-solving has always been a passion of mine, and I believe Sode solves a real issue. I have a great deal of experience working in groups; I am a good listener, but always feel comfortable presenting and supporting my ideas. In terms of leadership experience, I have been an athletic captain in squash and lacrosse, and co-founder and president of the science and engineering club. I believe I can work well with anyone, and I can identify and utilize the range of strengths among a project team.

What challenges do you think you will face? I anticipate it being challenging to initially get our product out on the market. We will need to design a smart sales campaign to show potential users how beneficial the product will be to those who are suffering from arthritis-related hand limitations.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I hope to be happily working in a STEM field, either doing research or working in health sciences.

What three words do you want people to think of when they hear your company name? Excellence, convenience, innovation


danforthCEO: Walker Danforth ’17
Company: Shox! – a high performance skateboarding sock designed to protect skateboarders from injury when they get hit in the shins or ankles with their board.

About the product: For skateboarders, getting hit in the shins and ankles is a common, yet unaddressed issue. We are here to help make skateboarding a little less painful. Each pair of Shox! has a discreet layer of armor-like padding within the sock to provide subtle protection for the user. There are no other products on the market that compare to Shox!

What strengths do you bring to the table as CEO? As a skateboarder, I have extensive knowledge around the skateboarding culture, as well as many connections with local skateboarders in Boston.

What challenges do you think you will face? One challenge we will face is getting a sock manufacturer to make a custom sock for us that has the padding built in.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I hope to be retired living in California near the beach.

What three words do you want people to think of when they hear your company name? Protection, hip, style

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