Author: Olin in the Media

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About Olin in the Media

Posting the latest on Olin student, alumni, faculty, and staff stories from business and news outlets locally, nationally, and around the world.


Kenny Kline, EN

In INC. Magazine, entrepreneur Kenny Kline, EN ’08, MSF ’08—cofounder of online strength-based competition and training publisher BarBend—has some simple advice for other startup founders: Get an entire city behind you.

Kline first moved to St. Louis to attend WashU and ended up staying for several years after graduating because “St. Louis is a vibrant place with a lot of cool stuff going on.” Combine that with the relatively low cost of living and the city is a great place to start a business.

In the process of starting [my] company, I discovered what makes St. Louis highly valuable to would-be founders: The city is truly dedicated to helping startups thrive.

From the nonprofit Arch Grants program (which offers funding with no equity) to the Cortex Innovation Community (a 200-acre innovation hub and technology district in the heart of St. Louis), Cultivation Capital (a venture capital firm that supports multiple accelerator programs), and SixThirty (a global FinTech venture fund and business development program), St. Louis promises no shortage of resources for budding entrepreneurs.

And it’s exactly resources like these that explain why entrepreneurs are increasingly willing to leave the traditional startup hubs in search of greener (and more cost-effective) pastures. Those entrepreneurs who are brave enough to break with convention are finding boundless support in the middle of America.

In addition to sharing his own experiences, Kline (who also has an MBA from Columbia Business School) speaks with Michael Seaman, founder of SwipeSum, who moved his company from LA to St. Louis. Seaman also sings St. Louis’ praises as a stellar place for startups, boasting great talent, a strong work ethic, and of course, affordability going for it. Seaman is now on a mission to encourage other founders to look beyond the coasts and to take advantage of resources available in other parts of the country.

Read more at Inc. about Kline’s and Seaman’s experiences as entrepreneurs in St. Louis.




Jason Wang, BSBA ’09, recalls the day at Washington University when his father texted him a photo of “a tall, old white dude” dining at the family’s New York City restaurant.

It was the day Anthony Bourdain, with film crew in tow, really put Xi’an Famous Foods on the map. That was in 2008. A decade later, Wang paid tribute to the chef and television host, on the day of Bourdain’s suicide.

On Friday, Wang, CEO of his family’s growing food empire, committed 100 percent of the day’s net sales to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, raising $73,509.76.

On Monday, he thanked patrons and restaurant staffers in an Instagram post for their heartfelt support: “We were able to serve almost double the amount of dishes as usual during dinner on Friday 6/8/18, with some stores selling out of items towards the end of the night,” wrote the 2016 recipient of the Olin Emerging Leader award. “Thank you for helping us with this tribute to our friend.”

The Huffington Post has the full story here. You can find The Wall Street Journal feature about Bourdain and Xi’an Famous Foods here. At the time of the WSJ feature, Wang had just opened the chain’s 10th store. It’s since expanded to include nine active stores in Manhattan, two in Queens, and one in Brooklyn. Wang is regularly involved in Olin’s New York alumni network, participates in the NY Trek with students, and is part of the WashU Asian Alumni Network.

Today’s a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi’an Famous Foods. I’ve lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world. I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel’s No Reservations while I was still in college (even though I didn’t know who he was at the time). I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store. I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream. We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, “I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.” In honor of his memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the US, Xi’an Famous Foods will be donating 100% of our net sales on June 8, 2018, from all of our stores, to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK @800273talk. Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved family. ~Jason Wang, CEO … [UPDATE 6/11/18: With your heartfelt support, along with the hard work of our store staff, we were able to serve almost double the amount of dishes as usual during dinner on Friday 6/8/18, with some stores selling out of items towards the end of the night. We were able to raise $73,509.76 (net sales) to donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’ to help their work in suicide prevention. Thank you for helping us with this tribute to our friend.]

A post shared by Xi’an Famous Foods (@xianfoods) on


Joe Lacob, the owner of the NBA franchise Golden State Warriors, whose $1 million donation led to the creation of Olin’s minor in the business of sports, offered some leadership lessons during a 17-minute video interview with program director Patrick Rishe, published recently on YouTube.

As Rishe, professor of practice-sports business, writes on the YouTube page: “On the Warriors first day of practice to kick off the 2017-18 campaign, I had the good fortune to interview Mr. Lacob, owner and CEO of the Golden State Warriors. Mr. Lacob has been a champion for Washington University, and he was generous to spend time with me on such a busy morning.”

The interview starts Lacob’s recollection of the day in 2012 when, as a relatively new owner of the franchise, he went to center court to retire the jersey number of star Chris Mullins. Fans greeted him with a chorus of boos, apparently in response to a controversial trade.

Five years later, the team has three NBA championships under its collective belt — in 2015, again in 2017, and finally, a third just a few days ago when the team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers. He made his comments to Rishe before the third championship.

“We stayed on our plan and obviously, it’s worked out,” Lacob told Rishe. “Five straight playoff appearances, three finals appearances, two championships. And more importantly and things I’m perhaps things I’m even more proud of, is the way our organization has performed as a whole, the business side as well as the basketball side.”

Lacob noted that leaders make sure the entire organization is watching the little things as well as the big things: “What makes an organization successful is constantly being aware that you have to do everything well,” he said. “You have to pay attention all the time. Every little thing counts.”

Lacob’s donation in 2014 led to the creation of the minor in the business of sports program, which is available to undergraduates across the WashU campus.

Rishe’s interview with Lacob is one of 50 that will be featured in his upcoming e-book, They Shoot, They Score…Lessons in Leadership, Innovation, and Strategy from the Business of Sports. The book will feature several national sports executives, including Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Kerry Bubolz, president of the Vegas Golden Knights; Tom Penn, president and co-owner of LAFC; and several St. Louis-based sports executives, including Chris Zimmerman, president of business operations, St. Louis Blues; Dan Farrell, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the St. Louis Cardinals. The book is expected to be available Aug. 1, 2018.




This is a segment of Dean Mark Taylor’s appearance Monday morning, June 11, 2018, on “Talking Business with Aaron Heslehurst,” a BBC TV program that airs globally (at 8:30 a.m. in St. Louis). Jonathan Josephs (@jonathanjosephs on Twitter), who identifies himself as a BBC journalist and senior producer at BBC World Business, posted the clip in his Twitter feed.

We’ll update this post when we can find a shareable version of the entire interview.




Elise Miller Hoffman, MBA

The St. Louis Business Journal has released its 2018 list of “30 Under 30” honorees and two Olin alumni are part of the latest class. The awards program, sponsored by Olin, recognizes future leaders of the region and the local business community.

This year, Elise Miller Hoffman, MBA ’16, AB ’11, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17, will be among the 30 St. Louis-based young business leaders who will be featured in the July 6 of the Journal and honored at a July 12 ceremony.

Hoffman is a principal at Cultivation Capital. She manages the firm’s Life Sciences Funds I and II, focused on developing funding for promising biotechnology startups. Her responsibilities include deal sourcing, due diligence, portfolio management, fundraising, financial reporting and investor relations.

Glantz is co-founder and CEO of GiftAMeal, a for-profit social enterprise that invites customers at participating restaurants to use the GiftAMeal mobile app to share photos of their meal. For each meal shared, a donation is made to a local food bank.


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