Alumni secure corporate funding on ‘Shark Tank’

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Mike Doyle CEO Mike Doyle, left, and co-founder Drew Mitchell landed a deal with the popular ABC show, “Shark Tank,” for their company, Rent Like a Champion.Rent Like a Champion is a housing rental company that targets fans traveling to college towns for games and other major events.  Doyle and Mitchell initially asked the sharks for an investment of $200,000 for a 10 percent equity stake, and eventually, Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca matched their terms. “The whole ‘Shark Tank’ experience was surreal,” Doyle said.Although the episode aired on Oct. 30, Doyle said it was filmed in June. The deal with Cuban and Sacca was signed in late August after the due diligence process.Doyle said he became involved with the business by managing student apartment rentals as an intern during his time as undergraduate at Notre Dame. “We realized there’s a huge market for people who want to rent homes on game weekends,” Doyle said.Doyle said Rent Like a Champion began in South Bend, but expanded to other college towns when he realized the scalability of the business model.“We can do this not just at Notre Dame, but we should be doing this at Penn State, at Michigan, at Florida State, all of these college towns around the country where this service makes sense,” he said.This approach led to rapid growth, Doyle said, with an average growth rate of 80 percent over the last three years and a projected revenue of $4.1 million for 2015.“It’s gone from me knocking on doors at Penn State to a team of seven employees,” Doyle said.Although Rent Like a Champion was already quite successful, Doyle said “Shark Tank” represented a chance to rapidly accelerate their expansion from their current 21 towns to around 40.“We see ‘Shark Tank’ as this opportunity to take things to the next level,” he said. “We’ve gotten to this point with a nice business that’s working really well, but the sharks are the most incredibly smart and accomplished business people you could possibly meet and they know how to bump businesses up a notch or two.”Cuban and Sacca actively help Rent Like a Champion, Doyle said, by providing advice and support.“They’re super plugged-in and very involved in the business,” Doyle said.In explaining his plans for the future of Rent Like a Champion, Doyle said it is important to note that opportunities for the big event rental paradigm exist beyond college sports.“There’s definitely a model for this outside of just college sports towns, so any big time events that happen with regularity in smaller towns like NASCAR races, PGA tour events, concerts, and even Democratic and Republican National Conventions make sense with our model,” Doyle said.Despite Rent Like a Champion’s track record of success and its plans to expand, an investor on “Shark Tank” episode expressed concern about competition from Airbnb and other companies.However, Doyle said Rent Like a Champion has a unique business model that differentiates it from Airbnb.“We’re really event-focused, they’re really destination-focused,” he said.Notre Dame senior David O’Connor interned at Rent Like a Champion for the past two years and worked to help establish its identity in a market that Airbnb does not serve.O’Connor said this process involved focusing on what their customers wanted and using this information to attract them.“The first summer I was there it was a lot of figuring what works and what doesn’t work,” O’Connor said.O’Connor said a vital priority for the company was making potential renters in college towns comfortable with their online business model.“The demographic tends to be older people with no kids, as opposed to [the typical customers of] Airbnb, 34-year-old young professionals looking to make another $200 a month. We’re trying to get [our customers] accustomed to this digital sharing economy,” O’Connor said.Ultimately, O’Connor said the hard work behind Rent Like a Champion has paid off with its robust growth.Doyle also said the “Shark Tank” experience was a validation of the effort he and his co-founders put into Rent Like a Champion. However, he said they did not plan on being chosen for … “Shark Tank” because the competition for spots on the show was so rigorous.“We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in that basket because we didn’t know if we were one of ten companies vying for spot or one of 1,000 vying for spot,” he said. “There was definitely some ambiguity about how likely this actually was to happen.”Despite the odds, Rent Like a Champion made it onto “Shark Tank,” and Doyle said the final result was exactly what he and Mitchell hoped for.“In a dream situation, if we could have any we wanted, we would do a deal with Mark and Chris together.” Doyle said. “So the fact that Chris pulled Mark into a deal meant it really couldn’t have worked out any better for us.”Tags: ABC, Rent Like a Champion, Shark Tank The opportunity to appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank” is offered to a select number of entrepreneurs, but even fewer are able to close a deal with a shark and secure funding for their company.Notre Dame alumni Mike Doyle and Drew Mitchell were able to do both on an episode of “Shark Tank” when they pitched their business, Rent Like a Champion, and landed a deal with Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca.last_img read more

SMC to host annual China Night

first_imgSaint Mary’s will celebrate the Chinese New Year and the advent of the Year of the Monkey with the annual China Night in the Little Theater on Friday at 3 p.m.The Chinese New Year is considered the most important festival in Chinese culture, according to a post by the College’s director of media relations, Gwen O’Brien. Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year celebration recognizes the start of a new year for harvest in China as well as the coming of spring. Junior Yanxi Liu, China Night director and co-president of the Chinese Culture Club, said having a China Night at Saint Mary’s allows the campus community to celebrate not only the New Year but also the Chinese culture. “The purpose of China Night is to promote the diversity of Saint Mary’s,” she said. “China Night is a great opportunity for Saint Mary’s students to learn more about China.” Liu said this year’s China Night will feature traditional songs, instruments, folk dances, lottery drawing games and an Asian fashion show. The evening will feature performances by students from Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and other groups from the South Bend community. Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership’s (CWIL’s) assistant director for global education Alice Siqin Yang said the night presents a great learning opportunity for students. “The event will help students learn more about Chinese language, culture, music, arts, traditions, as well as the opportunities to study abroad in China,” she said. “It has unique history and culture and has the largest population in the world. Understanding Chinese culture will help students succeed in the global economy.” Junior Yaqi Song, co-president of the Chinese Culture Club, said she is looking forward to the new addition to the show this year, the Asian fashion show. With Asian culture and history as its focus, the fashion show represents a variety of ethnic groups by including Japanese, South Korean and Tibetan students in their countries’ traditional clothing.Liu said she is happy she could celebrate the Chinese New Year with other international students and share her culture with the Saint Mary’s community. “My favorite part is that I can organize a show to present my culture to others and so all Chinese students can be together,” Liu said. A reception featuring a variety of Chinese food will follow the performances. Tags: China Night, Chinese New Year, Year of the Monkeylast_img read more

Students explore personal identity through Salsa dancing

Saint Mary’s students danced their way to discovering personal identity Monday during “The Salsa Story: Embracing Dance through Dialogue,” an event in the annual Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference (DSLC). Associate professor of humanistic studies Laura Ambrose and assistant professor of music Emily McManus led the dance lesson and discussion. In addition to teaching the basic salsa step, they also taught variations of salsa — cumbia, side step, merengue and tango.Ambrose said knowing the origins of salsa dance will help students determine what stereotypes exist and what is culturally accurate. “It is a representation of pan-Latin identity,” she said. “It is danced throughout the Americas, and, as of the 21st century, globally.”According to Ambrose, pan-Latin is term that is inclusive to all people who are of a Latino heritage. There is no single global version of salsa, but there are interpretations based on the community — Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc., Ambrose said. “It becomes this innate way of creating community,” McManus said. “It can also be a way of building communities or excluding communities.”Some styles of salsa are favored more in certain cultures, while other styles are looked down on, which causes a cultural separation, McManus said. “We continually perform identities,” she said. “It’s where your cultural affiliation is.”Dances have stereotypes that are often different from the real reasons people learn to dance, McManus said. “‘Dancing with the Stars’ is representing a generic ritual,” she said. “They’re not realizing anything about cultural affiliation.”McManus said students are often concerned about what to wear when attending dance lessons, rather than on the dance itself. “I thought I had to wear heels,” McManus said. “But then I found myself falling. Anyone can do this — you don’t have to wear anything specific.”Ambrose emphasized dance is not only about how someone looks while dancing, but how the person feels.“I started dancing when I was in college,” she said. “It was an avenue to my femininity and my sexuality. My relationship with dance was fundamentally me becoming comfortable with my body.”Senior Student Diversity Board fundraising chair Katherine Morley said she had only one previous experience with dancing the salsa, but the workshop gave her a new perspective on the dance.“It was interesting to learn about,” Morely said. “It was cool to see it as an adult now and think of it as a club setting and not just on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”Tags: Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference, diversity dialogue, DSLC, Salsa dancing read more

Former student files lawsuit against Notre Dame

first_imgUpdated Thursday at 7:07 p.m.An unnamed former student filed a lawsuit against Notre Dame on Aug. 17 alleging the University orchestrated the closure of a Title IX sexual assault case to facilitate the transfer of a Notre Dame football player.According to the complaint filed in the St. Joseph Circuit Court, the female student — referred to as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit — is suing for damages on the counts of negligence and invasion of privacy, breach of contract and violation of Title IX on the basis of gender bias.In January of 2016, Doe agreed to help an intoxicated Notre Dame football player — referred to as “Jack Roe” — return to his dorm room in Alumni Hall, where she was sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit. At the time, Doe was enrolled at the Gateway Program at Holy Cross College, a program that facilitates the transfer process into Notre Dame for select students who were not admitted to the University as freshmen.Doe decided to deal with the incident in a private way by simply avoiding contact with Roe, the lawsuit stated. However, three months after the incident, a female Notre Dame student approached Doe to ask for her anonymous support of a second victim who was hesitant to report an alleged assault by the same football player.This student took Doe’s story to the Title IX Office, triggering the response of deputy Title IX coordinator Heather Ryan, who summoned Doe to her office in April of 2016. Doe told Ryan she did not want to participate in an investigation or disclose the name of her attacker for fear of retaliation, the lawsuit said.According to the suit, however, Doe received a note from Ryan one month later saying she had discovered the name of the respondent and would be launching a Title IX investigation, which would call for the issuance of a no-contact order between Doe and Roe.Doe told her father about the assault for the first time, concerned her name would be given to Roe, the lawsuit said. After multiple calls to the Title IX office, Doe’s father and University administrators agreed there would be no action taken until the case of the “second victim” — the girl who reported Doe’s case — was fully investigated.One week later, according the suit, Doe’s father received a message from University associate vice president for student services Bill Stackman saying: “Notre Dame is not obligated to obtain consent from either Jane or her father prior to providing her name to her rapist. We acknowledge we have received your written and verbal notice forbidding it, however, Notre Dame will proceed today to notify Mr. Roe of the complaint, including its source.”Stackman also said “no rock has been left un-turned” when describing the University’s investigation of the second case against Roe,” according to the suit. Doe and her dad reached out to this student, the suit said, and found she had not been contacted by the Title IX office since April.Doe contacted her Title IX resource coordinator in June to discuss campus housing options and her anxiety of crossing paths with Roe in the future. According the suit, the coordinator suggested Doe close her Title IX case, citing it as a factor holding up Roe’s ability to transfer to another school and thus increasing Doe’s chance of running into him in the fall.Doe agreed to close the case and Roe transferred to a Power Five football school with a clean record, where he is expected to play this fall, the suit said.According to the lawsuit, Doe completed the fall semester of 2016 at Notre Dame but withdrew from the University one month into the following semester due to deteriorating physical and mental health.“We will respond in full to the complaint, which contains several inaccurate allegations, in court,” Paul Browne, University vice president for public affairs and communications, said in an email. “For now, we note that every university has a legal obligation to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Notre Dame takes this obligation seriously, and endeavors to do so in a manner that is as respectful as possible of the privacy and safety of all students involved. We believe we did so in this case. The claim that Notre Dame’s process in this case assisted the accused student in transferring is one of several false statements in the complaint, which we will defend vigorously.”Tags: football, Gateway Program, lawsuit, Notre Dame football, Title IXlast_img read more

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee discusses experience, forgiveness

first_imgOn Nov. 20, 2001, in the early days of the United States’ “War on Terror,” Mohamedou Ould Slahi drove himself to the national police headquarters in Nouakchott, Mauritania — his home country — for voluntary questioning in relation to recent terrorist activity in North America due to a cousin’s relationship with Osama Bin Laden and attendance at the same mosque in Canada as one of the planners of the failed Millenium attacks.Despite no evidence of direct involvement, Slahi was taken into U.S. custody where he would remain for the next 15 years, most of which were spent at the United States prison at Guantanamo Bay where he was subjected to torture before his eventual release.Sunday afternoon, in the Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Slahi discussed his experiences with Notre Dame students and community members via video-chat — due to U.S. government restrictions on his travel stateside — as part of a week-long forum sponsored by the Center For Civil and Human Rights surrounding the release of a revised edition of his international best-seller “Guantanamo Diaries.”“I knew what dictatorship looked like because I grew up in a dictatorship,” Slahi, who was wearing a Notre Dame t-shirt, told the crowd. “What I saw in Guantanamo Bay was a dictatorship.”The forum, which was moderated by Christine Cervenak, the associate director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, also included reflections from Slahi’s editor Larry Siems (‘81) and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and former director of the Notre Dame Center for Civil and Human Rights, Juan Mendez, who had also been a political prisoner, in his native Argentina.Mendez said Slahi’s treatment at Guantanamo was representative of other U.S. abuses during the “War on Terror.”“[His case embodies] this characteristic of the global “War on Terror” that seems to say that the rules apply to everybody else but not the United States … a grotesque version of the exceptionalism of the United States,” he said.Siems discussed how profiling led to Slahi’s arrest and continued imprisonment despite the scant evidence.“There’s some cultural bigotry at play and I think that kind of profiling has trickled down and seeped out in ways that permeate not just post-9/11 detention policies but in immigration and refugee policy as well,” he said.After his imprisonment, Slahi longed to write about his experience, as he had written all his life.Because of his understanding of freedom of expression in the United States, Slahi was surprised when he was told he could not write.“[I thought] this is a democratic country and I have the right to express myself no problem … but they said you cannot have pens,” he said. “That was when I started to steal pens from my neighbors.”Slahi said his motivation to write came from his desire to make the truth known.“As someone who writes, it’s a responsibility to tell the truth, it’s my responsibility, it’s my job, to say everything to be as objective as I could,” he said.  “… Truth is a very powerful weapon, truth is a weapon I have in my arsenal that the [U.S.] government does not have.”Pouring all his time into writing, Slahi eventually produced a 466-page, hand-written manuscript. However, this manuscript was not allowed to see the light of day due to confidentiality restrictions placed on all writing and art produced by Guantanamo prisoners.Eventually, thanks to the tireless work of lawyers, Slahi’s now-heavily redacted manuscript made its way to Siems, who would eventually work with Slahi to get the work published.When the book was eventually published in January of 2015, Slahi was still in jail, still subjected to torture.Despite the torture he suffered at the hands of the U.S. government, Slahi says he forgives all involved in his torture — a forgiveness he realized through his Muslim faith.“I found out that no revenge is as complete as forgiveness,” he said.Tags: Center for Civil and Human Rights, guantanmo bay, Juan Mendez, Larry Siems, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, War on Terrorlast_img read more

Oh, Brother! Tickets Now On Sale for World Premiere of Family Mystery The Clearing Off-Broadway

first_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 9, 2014 View Comments Who doesn’t want to see a drama about a messed up family to make themselves feel better about their own nearest and dearest, right? Well, you’re in luck because tickets are now on sale for the world premiere of rising playwright Jake Jeppson’s new family drama The Clearing. Directed by Josh Hecht, the limited engagement will play January 14 through February 9. The Clearing is the story of two brothers bound together by a terrible secret they’ve been hiding for 18 years. The Ellis family is in many ways a typical American family. But the love they share is intense, all-consuming, even obliterating. When a handsome stranger inserts himself into this tight-knit circle, mother and sons must discover if they have the courage to shatter the bond that has kept them unmoving for two decades and risk the unknown.center_img The Clearing Is there a difference between loving someone and living for them? Head to the Theater at St. Clements to find out! The cast of The Clearing features Allison Daugherty as Ella Ellis, Brian McManamon as Les Ellis, Gene Gallerano as Peter and Brian P. Murphy as Chris Ellis.last_img read more

Weekend Poll Top Three: Raoul & Christine Are Your Prom King & Queen of Broadway!

first_img View Comments 3. Marius and Cosette, Les Miserables —10% OK, so “A Heart Full of Love” is probably the most awkward kind of flirting imaginable…and that’s before you take into account your third wheel lurking behind (sorry, Eponine). But that’s what makes these two so adorable. Enjoy the prom, Cosette, because spoiler alert: your wedding night is kind of a bummer. 2. Fiyero and Elphaba, Wicked—15% Considering these two flee to live out their relationship in secrecy, plus that whole “wickedness must be punished “ thing, the denizens of Oz probably wouldn’t vote Fiyero and Elphaba for prom king and queen. But that’s fine, because we will! Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? And you know they’d turn it out on the Ozdust Ballroom dance floor. 1. Raoul and Christine, The Phantom of the Opera—16% They’ve been around the longest out of any couple on Broadway, so it seems only fair to crown Raoul and Christine the prom king and queen of the Great White Way. And let’s face it, after those masquerades, these childhood playmates-turned-lovers would take home the crown and win best dressed. Just look out for the Phantom; he’s the jealous type and has some tricks up his sleeve. Better hope he hasn’t seen Carrie. Well, the Broadway.com prom is coming to a close: the punch is gone, crumpled carnations are scattered over the floor, and those two chaperones in the corner are dancing more provacatively than anyone else. Now, it’s time to crown the prom king and queen of the Great White Way! It was a tight race, but we have our winners and runners-up. The votes are in, and here’s who you picked!last_img read more

Watch It’s Only a Play’s Matthew Broderick Talk Opening Nights, Bueller & Balls

first_imgIt’s Only a Play star Matthew Broderick, on the eve of his own opening night, stopped by Late Night to chat with Seth Meyers about everything from good and bad reviews to Ferris Bueller to something about Nathan Lane and balls. “I had a Ferris Bueller poster in my bedroom growing up,” Meyers admitted. “You looked at everything I did through my entire high school years. I have so much to apologize for.” Life imitates art as the Tony winner, just as the wacky characters of It’s Only a Play do, remembers opening night parties, talks up his playwriting friend (for Broderick, it’s This Is Our Youth scribe Kenneth Lonergan) and does some serious name-dropping. Check out the clips below, and catch It’s Only a Play at the Schoenfeld Theatre! Related Shows Matthew Broderick It’s Only a Play View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 7, 2015 Star Fileslast_img

Will Swenson Returns to Broadway’s Les Miserables

first_img Les Miserables View Comments Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, the production currently stars Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean, Caissie Levy as Fantine, Nikki M. James as Eponine, Andy Mientus as Marius, Samantha Hill as Cosette, Kyle Scatliffe as Enjolras and Cliff Saunders and Keala Settle as the Thenardiers. Related Shows Swenson received a Tony nomination for Hair. His additional Broadway credits include Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, 110 in the Shade, Lestate and Brooklyn: the Musical. Tony nominee Will Swenson returns to Les Miserables on Broadway beginning October 9, having finished his run in the new musical Bull Durham in Atlanta. He steps into the Schönberg and Boublil musical as Javert, replacing Earl Carpenter, who assumed the role during Swenson’s hiatus. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016last_img

Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Starring America Ferrera, Cancels Performance

first_img View Comments Lips Together, Teeth Apart Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 23, 2014 Lips Together, Teeth Apart, starring Emmy winner America Ferrera, had to cancel after the first act of the matinee on November 19 and will also not play the evening performance because of actor illness. Although a production spokesperson could not confirm the actor who was under the weather, a source told Broadway.com that it was Ferrera and that the play has no understudy for her role. The show is running off-Broadway at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre. Related Shows In Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart, a brother and sister and their spouses spend a Fourth of July weekend in a Fire Island beach house. Thrown into a gay paradise, they do their best to enjoy themselves despite their prejudices and insecurities. The production marks the first New York revival of the comedy in 23 years. Peter DuBois directs a cast that also includes Michael Chernus, Tracee Chimo and Austin Lysy.last_img read more