Tag: Alumni



Garwitz and Richard

The St. Louis organization Arch Grants has awarded $1.9 million in grants to its 2021 cohort, comprised of 35 new startups and early-stage businesses. Each winner receives $50,000 and must run the company from St. Louis for a year. At least three of the recipients are connected to Olin:

Halo + Cleaver, a St. Louis/Denver company, makes low-sugar sauces using naturally sweet ingredients like apples, pineapples and bananas instead of sugar or corn syrup. Co-owners Rob Garwitz, MBA ’18, and Matt Richard, PMBA ’19, recently relaunched the company’s three signature sauces with new recipes and branding. All are available at the company’s website, Amazon and grocery stores Fresh Thyme and Schnucks.

“The $50,000 is vital to fueling our early growth,” Garwitz said. The startup plans to hire a part-time marketing director and to launch a new line of low-sugar sauces in early 2022.

“While the money is great, we believe joining the Arch Grants network will have an even greater impact on our business as it connects us to some of the brightest minds in St. Louis and beyond,” Garwitz said.

Honeymoon Chocolates. Cam Loyet, PMBA ’21, co-founded the St. Louis-based company with his now wife, Dr. Haley Loyet. The company makes organic bean-to-bar chocolate sweetened with raw honey. “This was the sixth time I applied,” Loyet said. “If you want something enough, keep trying!”

The Loyets plan to use the money to aid in production output and to help with sales outreach to stores including Whole Foods, Erewhon and Schnucks.

“The support from the network and the Arch Grants team is also going to be an incredible help,” he said. “We are fortunate enough to be able to share our business with like-minded individuals in our cohort. To be able to share our progress and pitfalls with those who are also experiencing them in real-time could potentially afford us with the most upside from the Arch Grants program.”

Margraf

Total Orbit, based in St. Louis, has created an education and training platform that hospitals use to make patients’ healthcare journeys more understandable. “We are on a mission to end the scourge of the ‘data dump’ once and for all,” according to Total Orbit’s website. Michael Margraf, BBA ’87, is a co-founder and CEO.

He said Total Orbit plans to use the Arch Grants funding to expand marketing for its Care Orbit product line and for additional technical development.

On November 17, Arch Grants will host the 2021 Arch Grants Virtual Gala to welcome the 2021 cohort.

Each year, Arch Grants welcomes innovative, scalable and job-creating startups from around the world to participate in the nonprofit’s annual Startup Competition for a chance to be awarded $50,000 in non-dilutive grants and $10,000 for relocation if they are located outside of Missouri and at least 150 miles from St. Louis. (Non-dilutive funding means the companies get the money without giving up any equity.) 

Read more about this year’s Arch Grants awards.

Pictured at top are Cam and Haley Loyet. Photo courtesy of Honeymoon Chocolates.




David Karandish’s Answers.com was a whopping success, but he was on the ropes 90 days after he began running it. How did his earlier startups teach him to take a punch?

Karandish is, by any standard, a massively successful entrepreneur. His most noteworthy transaction is the sale of Answers.com for $960 million—a “rounded unicorn,” he says, using startup shorthand for a billion-dollar deal.

But that success was hard-fought and made possible by a litany of failures and one unexpected disaster. Meanwhile, those failures—and that one big success—paved the way for what already promises to be another massive hit for Karandish, BSCS ’05. Capacity, his AI-driven customer support platform has been on a tear.

Our story hinges on a two-hour period in 2011, 90 days after David—at age 26—and his partners had engineered the merger of their company with Answers.com, taking the once-public Answers private. That day, David’s team watched the traffic drain from their site in the wake of a change in Google’s search algorithms. “Our $127 million acquisition went unprofitable in about two hours,” he said.

This is the story of what led to that moment, how David and his team responded, what in his history informed that response and how he’s carried those lessons into his next chapter with Capacity.

Along the way, we learn something about the difficulty of thinking in terms of failure—though failure was the fate of his first six startups. We learn about the danger of taking customer acquisition for granted. We learn how a successful entrepreneur can roll up the lessons into one more big win.

And we begin to understand why it’s so important to learn how to take a punch.

Listen to this episode of On Principle.


Amazon featured an Olin grad in a lively video to promote its 2021 Career Day, which was last week. Rovina Valashiya, MBA ’10 and BSBA ’09, talks about where she grew up, family, basketball, ambition and launching Amazon’s “Textures & Hues” storefront. Check it out.




Alison Berger, Olin’s senior associate director for alumni engagement and stewardship, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

We all know the impact a scholarship can have on a student: It’s life changing. 

Last fall, Howard Wood, and his wife, Marilyn, offered a challenge to Olin supporters. They generously committed to match all new and increased gifts and multi-year pledge payments for undergraduate and graduate scholarships—up to a total of $400,000—through June 30, 2021. 

We are happy to report that the Wood Scholarship Challenge was met! In fact, this challenge inspired seven new annual scholarships to be established. It inspired 569 Olin alumni to contribute toward scholarships and raised over $100,000 toward Olin scholarships from new donors. 

Howard Wood, longtime friend and champion of Olin, knows just how impactful a scholarship can be. He, too, received a scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to attend Olin in 1957. Without his scholarship, he would never have been able to attend, he has said, because his parents, both schoolteachers, did not have the financial means to support his education.

Howard, BSBA ’61, has paid it forward over the years. In 1998, he established the Wood Leadership Fellows Program, which evolved into the Wood Scholars Program in 2016. Wood Scholars receive significant awards to attend Olin each year. 

A huge thank you to the generosity of the Woods, true champions of our students. Like so many Olin alumni and friends, they truly understand that scholarships give more students the opportunity to attend Washington University and become the innovative, ethical and collaborative business leaders of tomorrow.




Ja Song

Tricia Hendricks wrote this article originally for the Spirit of WashU.

An accomplished business professor and academic leader, Ja Song, MBA ’62, DBA ’67, left an indelible mark on higher education in his native Korea. As the 12th president of South Korea’s prestigious Yonsei University from 1992 to 1996, he effected lasting change. During his tenure, he transformed the admissions process, initiated interdisciplinary collaboration, and spearheaded the school’s first fundraising efforts, securing 100 billion won—the equivalent of about $82.3 million today. Soon after, other universities across South Korea began to follow Yonsei’s lead in these arenas.

“For Dad, it all started at WashU,” says Mr. Song’s youngest daughter, Jean Song, who lives in Honolulu. “His experience as a student there opened up his eyes to the world and the possibilities of education and set the stage for what he achieved later in life.”

Soon after Mr. Song’s death in 2019, his wife, Soonhi Song, along with her daughters, Grace Song Park and Jean Song, recognized the pivotal role Washington University played in his life by pledging $1 million to establish an endowed fellowship in his name through the Hongmosoomin Foundation. The Song Ja Fellowship in the university’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy will enable alumni of Yonsei and other South Korean universities to pursue graduate studies at WashU while preparing for global leadership.

“The purpose of this fellowship is to nurture future leaders,” says Dr. Park, a physician in Santa Barbara, California. “It will help promising individuals attend WashU and then leverage all that they’ve learned and experienced to serve the greater good, which is exactly what my dad did.”

Mr. Song and dozens of other South Korean business students and professors came to study at Washington University as a result of the Korea Project, a six-year collaboration involving the Olin Business School, Yonsei University, and Korea University. Tapped by the U.S. government, Olin helped rehabilitate and modernize business education programs in South Korea in an effort to boost the country’s languishing economy in the aftermath of the Korean War.

Mr. Song, who grew up in the impoverished Korean countryside, earned his MBA and doctorate in business administration at WashU. 

Read the full story here.