5 Princeton Entrepreneurs You Should Know About
January 30, 2019 | Abree Murch
From astronauts to presidents, more than one iconic personality received part of their education at Princeton University. This includes many influential figures in business, including late index fund pioneer John Bogle, and former eBay and Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman. The entrepreneurial spirit is burning brightly among the next generation of Tigers as well. Check out these five alumni who started their journeys on the Princeton campus more recently.
JESSICA MARATI RADPARVAR ’08
Founder & Social Impact Strategist | Reconsidered
Jessica Marati Radparvar is an entrepreneur three times over. After graduating from Princeton with a degree in history, she traveled extensively through South America, Europe, and Asia before starting an SAT tutoring service in her native Guam. However, she had brought something back from her adventures abroad: a passion for socially responsible business strategies. After spending a few years in the journalistic world, she launched an ethical fashion retail business, but realized that she wanted to work more on the corporate side of the house. Radparvar went on to get an MBA from NYU Stern and, in 2017, founded Reconsidered, a boutique consulting practice that helps organizations create more socially responsible internal and external practices.
OLIVER NOTEWARE ’09
Co-Founder & CEO | Street Smarts VR
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Oliver Noteware combined his military experience with the simulation design expertise of Alice Formwalt to co-found Street Smarts VR, a virtual reality (VR) based training platform for law enforcement. Noteware was a weapons and tactics instructor, and his knowledge base has helped build ultra-realistic VR scenarios that train police officers for high-stress crisis situations in a safe environment, with the aim to ultimately improve safer policing and safer communities.
CATARINA NORMAN SCHWAB ’96
Co-Founder & Co-CEO | NPX, Inc.
Catarina Norman Schwab is another alumna who has launched multiple ventures. A former venture capitalist, she left VC to deepen her operating experience before co-founding a Scandinavian fashion and design store. She eventually joined nonprofit buildOn as the VP of Development, but she found herself frustrated by the inefficiencies of the traditional fundraising model. The brainchild of this challenge was NPX, which allows donors to pledge funds to a cause with a measurable impact and then only deploys those funds when the impact is achieved.
VAIDHY MURTI ’15
Co-Founder & CEO | Friendsy
Winner of the 2018 Tiger Entrepreneur Award, Vaidy Murti is best known as the Co-Founder of Friendsy, a social networking app for college students. He helped build the app out of his Princeton dorm room, and Friendsy eventually gained hundreds of thousands of users. But stiff competition from industry powerhouses like Facebook and Twitter forced the nascent social network to close in 2017. Murti wasn’t fazed, however, and co-founded Wit, a winner-take-all social video app. While building Wit, he also served as CTO of philanthropic platform DonorUP and founded a successful product development company.
STEPH SPEIRS ’14
Co-Founder & CEO | Solstice
Steph Speirs is a social entrepreneur with a world’s worth of experience. Formerly the youngest Director at the White House National Security Council, she’s led sustainability initiatives across the globe, from investments in renewable energy in Pakistan to developing sales and marketing for solar products in developing countries. In addition, she’s been selected as an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, a Global Good Fund Fellow, a Grist 50 Fixer, a Kia Revisionary, and an Acumen Global Fellow. She co-founded Solstice in 2014 alongside Sandhya Murali to bring solar energy to more American households. The company facilitates a community approach to solar, making it easy for developers to find customers and vice versa.
Are you an accredited investor who is interested in building a portfolio of companies from the Princeton community? Visit the Nassau Street Ventures website to learn more. Please note that Nassau Street is private, for-profit, and friendly with, but not part of or officially endorsed by Princeton University.