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Startups benefit from Loyola expertise

Startups benefit from Loyola expertise

Corporate Engagement hosted a celebration and networking event for the startup companies who participated in Loyola's 1871 mentoring program. (Photo by Natalie Battaglia)

A small group of Chicago startups recently completed an intense Loyola mentorship program conducted in collaboration with 1871, Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups.

Over the course of 10 weeks, the startups met weekly with an interdisciplinary team of Quinlan and School of Law faculty to work through key business issues.

From startup to success

One of the startups was TraknProtect, an inventory-tracking platform providing real-time location of properties and resources. In February 2016, TraknProtect signed a deal to provide Hyatt Regency McCormick Place with beacons on the hotel's equipment, including rollaway beds, cribs, and fridges.

Sagar Patel, COO and co-founder of TraknProtect, appreciated the outside, big-picture perspective that Loyola faculty members provided, as well as the hands-on assistance.

“They were helpful toward long-term planning,” said Patel, “and the legal side helped us draft documents we eventually ended using for our contract with Hyatt.”

TraknProtect also benefited from Loyola’s marketing expertise.

“Most of our contacts have little time to connect or even sit down for a meeting,” Patel said. “We had to really structure our communication to be short and to the point, to get our message across. Quinlan’s Eve Geroulis really understood that dynamic, and helped us craft a compelling message and target the appropriate people.”

Loyola’s interdisciplinary team of faculty mentors included:

Mentors
Eve Geroulis Quinlan (Marketing)
Fady Harfoush Quinlan (Information Systems)
Svetlozar Nestorov Quinlan (Information Systems)
Ugur Uygur Quinlan (Management)
Shelley Dunck  School of Law
Mary Hanisch School of Law

Recruiting the next cohort of startups

The mentorship program will resume in fall 2016 with its third cohort of startups.

Assistant Professor Ugur Uygur points to a number of factors that can determine a startup’s success in the mentorship program.

First, the company should be developed to the point to where they have a clear product. Startups should be ready to find and increase their customer base. 

Uygur adds, “Startups that benefited the most from the mentorship program have open minds and are eager to have an ongoing relationship with us. And they have to be looking for something specific, as this helps us determine what support we can provide them with.”

Fady Harfoush, director of the CME Group Foundation Financial Services and Business Analytics Lab, assisted the startups with issues related to technology and data analytics.

“I would definitely look at this as an important relationship between Quinlan and 1871—one that should be nurtured and built upon,” he said. “And with 1871 constantly expanding, it will hopefully lead to new opportunities.”

Loyola’s Office of Corporate Engagement manages the University’s partnership with 1871, including the dedicated LUC @ 1871 Suite onsite, which is open to Loyola students, faculty, and staff.

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