Wakefield U

Lost and Foundry

Jimmy's dorm room hydroponics went a little too well.

Olin College proves age don’t mean a thing

America’s oldest existing institutions aren’t state governments or church groups – they’re our universities. So the idea of a “new” college being founded in the US can seem a little strange.

Olin College is a Needham, Massachusetts-based four-year college of engineering founded a mere 13 years ago. But the school is rapidly proving that you don’t need centuries of history to turn out successful startups.

That’s due in no small part to The Olin Foundry, the college’s on-campus entrepreneurship club and accelerator.

“Originally the Foundry was a building that Olin rented a few blocks off campus where students could rent office space for the summer,” Slater Victoroff, a Foundry board member and Olin undergraduate, told us. “But two years ago we brought the space to campus, and really redefined our mission as the interface between Olin and entrepreneurship.”

And it’s been a big two years – Foundry’s startups have already found incredible success outside college walls.

The team behind Technical Machine applied to the program without an idea, but quickly developed hardware to connect the web with the physical controllers. The group quickly raised $200k in crowdfunding, and just recently the company raised $1.5 million. They’re planning a move to San Francisco soon.

Among the Foundry’s other success stories are Lilypad Scales, which makes scales for people in wheelchairs, and Indico which has created a series of APIs to make machine learning simple and ubiquitous.

To learn more about the Foundry, check out their site here.

Now go forth (and think young).

Nitty Gritty:

1636: Year Harvard College was founded

1638: Year the statue of John Harvard in Harvard Yard claims the college was founded

1639: Year the college changed its name from New College to Harvard


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