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The Entrepreneurs of NYU

Gallatin students and alumni demonstrate their ability to innovate

Jan 29, 2020

Collage image of logos of companies listed

The NYU Gallatin community has a long history of successful entrepreneurs. The act of combining disciplines into a concentration naturally makes for a great fit for students who hope to innovate and challenge outdated systems. Below is a snapshot of some recent entrepreneurs from Gallatin.


NYU President Andy Hamilton’s podcast, Conversations, hosted Co-founder and Creative Director Echo Chen (BA ’20) and CEO and Co-founder Antonio De Meglio (Stern ’20) of SeaStraws, sustainable plastic straw alternatives made in the US of compostable paper. “The sea in SeaStraws stands for sustainability, education, and advocacy, three of the core pillars of our business. Our brand is to remind people of the ocean and what they’re trying to save when they choose to use a sustainable SeaStraws product,” says Chen. Founded in 2018, SeaStraws was begun with seed money from a Stern Social Impact Stipend, and the team later won a 50K grant which allowed them to expand into birchwood utensils and metal and silicone straws and to house their products at locations like NYU Sidestein, Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, and Earth Bar, a juice bar company in California with over fifty locations.

Parade, a company of sustainably made and affordable women's underwear created in 2018 by Co-founder and COO Jack DeFuria (BA '19), provides consumers with a conscious alternative to fast fashion. The underwear fabric is made of 85% recycled polyamides and all the materials used are certifiably free of harmful or polluting chemicals; all packaging is compostable. To date, Parade has raised $3 million in seed money to develop their health-conscious and eco-friendly quality products. Of equal importance to their ethical production standards, DeFuria and co-founder Cami Tellez prioritize promoting body inclusivity and women's reproductive and health rights. Parade sizes run from XS to 3X and their ads feature models of all sizes and backgrounds. At the time of its founding, the company donated $12K to Planned Parenthood and they donate 1% of their sales to the organization.

After brainstorming ideas for their social entrepreneurship class project, Parker Reposa (BA '19) and Drew Enyedi (Stern '20) created Grounded Upcycling, a handmade face mask and soap product made from upcycled cofee grounds. The team partnered with local coffee shops to collect used coffee grounds to create an all-natural and organic soap. The end result protects waterways by diverting the grounds from landfills and the soap itself is packaged in post-consumer recycled packaging that fights food waste.


In 2018, while concentrating in The Art of Entrepreneurship at Gallatin, Melissa Bartow (BA ’19) began experimenting with a few recipes in her dorm room, finally coming up with a naturally sweet vegan and allergen-free date spread, Wanna Date?. The company launched in August 2019 and has a booth at the Brooklyn open-air food market Smorgasburg. After pitching her product to fellow marketing classmates, Bartow made her big pitch to the investors on ABC’s Shark Tank and accepted an offer of $100,000 for a 33% stake by investor Mark Cuban.

Josh Foulquier (BA ’15) used his concentration in entrepreneurship and the evolution of ethics to create one of the premier omakase Japanese restaurants in NYC, Sushi Noz. Only one year after their March 2018 launch, the restaurant received a Michelin star and expanded the eight-seat restaurant to include a private dining room. By importing fish from Japan to make their edomae-style sushi and using only the best quality sand, wood, and stone brought from Japan to construct the entire restaurant, Foulquier has brought Tokyo’s Edo Bay to New York’s Upper East Side.


Up2Code is a boutique web and mobile development agency co-founded by Dan Cleary (BA ’19) and Willy Wheeler (BA ’19). They work with start-ups and entrepreneurs to design, develop, and deploy modern websites and mobile applications and assist them with the development and marketing of their services or products. By custom designing streamlined apps and websites for small businesses like MEI, Hooey, VeloChair, and FireWire, Up2Code tracks and analyzes performance metrics.

In an effort to transform in-home senior care, Orah CEO and Co-founder Rose Spiegel (BA ’14) worked with her mother to create an app that offers transparency in home care. Sold to both home care agencies and to families, Orah offers caregivers with the information and tools needed to deliver, track, and stay updated on their family members.

—Mary Gonzalez (BA ’20)