MDB Scholarship Vote

The Finalists

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True Village Naturals

Sri Ananda Prateeka

I come from a Digital Marketing background (I am currently a Media Director for a 130+person agency.) I am doing it with my wife (and she was in fact the inspiration behind it.) She comes from spending almost a decade working in the fashion industry.  

She was born and raised in South India. She grew up in a traditional village lifestyle but, by the time she graduated high school her village had turned into a huge urban city called “mini-Japan” due to its focus on tech. She became the only person in her family to leave India and come to the USA for college.

While here, she became frustrated seeing that every single skin care item in stores (even so-called Natural ones) were filled with crazy toxic ingredients and seemed to be based around new fads rather than traditional wisdom. Growing up, her mom and grandma would hand make all their skin care items using fresh and dried herbs, minerals and oils. They worked phenomenally. It was with this in mind that the idea for True Village Naturals came into existence.

We are starting with a rare, indigenious form of turmeric that does not stain skin but still contains all of the beneficial traits of the traditional turmeric. Our first products are a Golden clay mask and turmeric floral facial spray.

Our target market was initially going to be people into plant-based and all-natural skin care but we have switched to appeal strongly with those we know will be our early adopters: Female Indians living in the USA. They are the wealthiest minority in the USA and has one of the fastest growth rates at almost 69%. They will also strongly resonate with our story and reason for bringing these products to market.

Our first two products are a Golden clay mask and turmeric floral facial spray. The formulas have already been tested and finalized and our first shipment of 1,000 units each is set to reach us in about 6 weeks. Our next two products will be a non-staining turmeric face lotion and under eye cream.

We have already gone through multiple formulas of our first two products and have finalized the development process and placed our trial order of 1,000 units each. They will arrive in about 6 weeks.

The scholarship would help use with our initial customer acquisition which will be done via Facebook and Instagram. It would also help us do a high-quality product photo shoot and video shoot made as we need to build up some quality media assets that can be used in multiple ways.

In addition, we want to put more money behind further product development as we receive feedback from our initial customers. Using their insight, we will build out our next products and refine our existing ones.

Tini Life Moves

Ximena Tini & Rick Sobalvarro

We are Rick Sobalvarro & Ximena Tini (pronounced “teeny”), and we are the founders of TINI LIFE MOVES.

Rick is a marketer and film producer from Los Angeles. He handles the technical and administrative side of the business.

Ximena is the face and brains behind servicing our customers.

She is a minimalist nomad from Spain, a practicing yogi, and a health and wellness nut.

She has spent the last several years experimenting with various ways of maximizing her health and living on her own terms.

She continues to evolve every day on her journey to creating the best version of herself.

At the beginning of her journey, she struggled with overcoming paralyzing insecurity and a lack of self-worth.

She realized her problem was that she didn’t understand who she was.

Because of this lack of self-awareness, she tried to be the best version of everybody else.

She wanted what other people had who found their purpose and were living their dream life.

She bought all the books, watched all the YouTube videos, and signed up for all the courses.

But, she never found what she was looking for.

She practiced all their tactics: 4 am morning routines, journaling, working harder, working less, but being more productive, meditating, doing yoga, going to the gym, eating right, sleeping right, analyzing her dreams...

It took a while, but she realized something.

The tactics are only a part of it.

She could never have what these other people had because she’s not them.

This slight shift in perspective was when she stopped looking out and started looking in.

She began to see who she was, what she wanted, and what she needed to do to make it happen.

Now she wants to serve as a guide other women can leverage to do the same.

We provide modern-day women with physical and informational products that help them reconnect with their intuition and make them self-aware, independent, and confident women of action.

Our first physical product will be a soy wax, oil scented, and crystal infused meditation candle.

These three elements each have a specific function:

The lit candle is a signal to the unconscious of transformation.

Essential oils affect nerves in the nose that trigger powerful healing responses in the body and clarity for the mind.

Crystals clear the space of negative energy and amplify our inner voice (intuition).

Each oil and crystal combination will have a different purpose to achieve a specific result.

A candle infused with Ylang-ylang oil and Carnelian and Citrine crystals will help manifest Abundance. Whereas, Sandalwood oil and Rose Quartz and Amethyst crystals will help manifest more Love in your life.

This combination of elements in one candle is not only more practical but will also help us differentiate ourselves from competitors in the candle niche.  

Other products we can provide to the same customer on their journey are:

Essential oils for holistic healing, relaxation, energy renewal, balance, and focus enhancement.

Oil diffusers.

And a guided Life Journal to help women download their revelations and provide the next steps needed to connect with their intuition and transform from a spiritual state into a state of action.

We will also offer help on how to use these products in the form of valuable content produced and distributed for free, online courses for a premium for those in need of a more structured learning experience and one-on-one consulting for women who need that extra personal help.

While our target audience is women between 25-34 interested in health and wellness, these tools and techniques are for women of any age and background.

We are currently in the branding and audience building phase. Our goal is to cultivate 1000 true fans to whom we can launch our products in the first quarter of 2020.

We contacted a supplier from Alibaba who can provide private label candles that will be the first physical product we launch.

We received samples to verify they can do the custom crystal and scent infused candles we need, provide private label logos, and packaging at a competitive price point.

We are also developing an online course to help women reconnect with their intuition that will include a cross-selling strategy of our physical products.

If we received the scholarship, we would be extremely grateful. It would help by giving us the capital we need to launch our business quicker, allowing us to get help to the women who need us sooner.

Our current plan without the scholarship is to go to Kickstarter to confirm our idea before ordering inventory.

If we received the scholarship, we would continue to use Kickstarter but with a much stronger marketing campaign, the momentum of which could push us up in Kickstarter’s Featured Rankings and earn us more organic traffic.

Whatever the decision of the competition may be, we are still going to move forward with our plan.

We have a strong connection to our “why” and feel Tini Life Moves is a brand needed by women who struggle with self-awareness and lack a life of purpose, and we have a passion for helping solve this epidemic.

Of course, we would rather have the extra help than not and would love it if you voted for us.

Thank you 🙂 Rick & Ximena.

Tea Efficiency

Kevin Bui

Hi my name is Kevin. I currently work as an engineer in San Diego and I spend a decent amount of time sitting in front of a computer. Like many people, I struggle with staying awake after lunch and I used to drink a lot of coffee. I honestly didn’t like the taste of coffee and cream and sugar helped, but I ended up making the transition to tea. Aside from enjoying the taste and smell of the many teas that exist, I got into drinking tea for the health benefits like many people. I figured there has to be other people who are on a similar journey of trying to become a little healthier by drinking tea like myself and so I decided to start a tea brand.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my brand. If you drink tea, Happy tea drinking!  

My ideal person that I hope to serve is the new tea drinker that got into drinking tea. Often people may not know exactly what tea to drink, but they do know how their body is feeling and what health problem their trying to solve (i.e. Improve sleep, relieve stress, have more energy, etc.). In order to help them find a tea best suited for their situation, I try to produce a lot of tea content (info-graphics of the health benefits of different teas, tea reviews, sharing articles, etc.) or simply just comment with a tea article pointing them in the right direction when they ask in my Healthy Tea Drinkers Facebook group. Granted there’s many people in my group that are more knowledgeable about tea than I am, but its been a pleasure to produce tea content for the group and just create a welcoming atmosphere where people can share anything about tea.

In regards to actual physical products, I sell a Tea Infuser Bottle on Amazon. However, the goal has always been to create real teas. I want to create teas to help people survive work and eventually will, but I’m going to focus on my audience first. I asked my group what tea to create and a lot of them mentioned a tasty Joint pain/anti-inflammatory tea, so I intend for that to be my first tea.

I still consider myself in the early stages of a business. I have a tea infuser bottle live on Amazon and am working on launching my first tea. I’ve found a supplier that I’d like to work with and am working on my first custom tea blend with them. Once I get a blend that I am happy with, I plan on testing it with my Facebook group to get their feedback. Then once my tea blend is finalized; I still need to get box packaging designed, the USDA organic certification for the tea, nutrition facts/labels, and I would want to consult with a nutritionist/herb specialist or doctor just to make sure everything is good with the ingredients I picked for the tea. The scholarship would help pay for everything associated with the custom tea blend and hopefully some of my first inventory order.

Jane & Lisa (

David Wong

After graduating college back in August of 2018, I moved back in with my parents while simultaneously trying my hand in the e-commerce space trying to build different physical products businesses online.

I kept trying to sell different products and was stubborn at the time to admit that I was only focused on money (a path that many get into this space for).  

It wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that I stumbled across someone that introduced me to personalized physical products. I was intrigued and I found something that I could see myself doing long term while serving people products that they could personalize to their own name or their own special interests.

Initially, that encounter gave me the idea to start Jane & Lisa, which was originally a personalized jewelry store. That, as it turned out, was not something that I enjoyed, nor could I see myself building over the long haul.

However, I eventually found that I could make unique wall art out of metal steel. And from there, I connected myself with a manufacturer that was able to create metal wall signs that could have an endless possibility of designs and customizations as long as I had the creative ability to come up with designs.

Ever since then, I’ve decided to commit to this one thing and stick through it. I’ve enjoyed being able to have customers be able to engrave their own names or choose a pre-made design for something they are passionate about to display in their home.

At the end of the day, life is about living with purpose and intention. And the art I create for my customers serves as a reminder to them that their beliefs, their name, their identity in this world is something to be cherished and honored.

Right now, I serve people who are passionate about  displaying what matters most to them in their home. Whether that be their pet dog or their family name or faith, the people that I serve want to be reminded of those things that matter to them, and they find great value in being able to do that with a personalized and unique touch to it.

I serve them by providing various wall art designs they can choose from for those things they are passionate about. It could be a hobby, a pet, their own family name, a special relationship, anything of that nature.

I am constantly on the lookout to find new designs that I can bring to life for these different categories.

And while who I serve is not specifically niched down that it only serves one specific group of people at the moment, I will adjust accordingly to who the primary audience is with time and then focus on serving them more designs and complementary products (that don’t necessarily have to be just wall art).

My products are a way for my audience to proudly honor and acknowledge their passions, interests, and the most important people in their lives.

I am currently still in the building stages of thing. Being bootstrapped, it’s a challenge trying to build an audience, hire, or acquire customers with a very small marketing and advertising budget to start.

However, I love serving the customers that I currently serve, and I know that if I give it time and stay patient in the process, I will eventually find commonalities within a core group of people that I can go all in on and continue growing with for the brand as it evolves over time.

Receiving a scholarship would be paramount to helping me build my brand. I would be able to invest that scholarship money into paid advertising to acquire customers, grow my brand’s tribe, and hire a talented designer that can help me create more unique designs that can be shared and enjoyed by many more people.

Byron's Games

Julie Siragusa

Our Brand, Byron’s Games, was born out of our son Byron’s experience when he was hospitalized for a month right before his 7th birthday. It was a very traumatic time for Byron and our family.

During our stay, an administrator at the hospital encouraged Byron to help her keep track of the Summer Olympics medal count using the flags she had created. Byron loved geography and this responsibility helped lift his spirits.

When the Olympics were over, Ms. Ellen encouraged Byron to think of a game using the flags she had created. Byron took this suggestion as a serious challenge and was determined, “We have to create a game!” As he began working on a world geography game involving the country flags, he decided he wanted to make the game for children in hospitals, so that they would have something fun to do and could learn while they recover. This project gave Byron purpose, and we think was instrumental to his healing. NBC visited to cover Byron’s story.  

I didn’t know the first thing about producing a product, so I began researching online, and am so grateful to have found Ryan Moran. Through Ryan’s videos, we learned about ASM-8 and enrolled immediately.

Over the next year, I helped Byron work on the game. Then, when the game was finally ready, I didn’t know how we would help fulfill Byron’s dream of getting his game to children in hospitals everywhere, especially after spending a lot of our resources developing it. We decided to try a Kickstarter as a way to help us donate our game, Continent Race to hospitals. Our efforts proved successful; we exceeded our funding goal by 212% and were thrilled to be able to donate 150 copies of our game Continent Race to 130 children’s hospitals nationwide.

We support families along their journey to raise curious & compassionate trailblazers. Our trailblazing kids are curious explorers who love to learn and lead active & healthy lifestyles. We provide tools to help unlock the potential in every child, so they can become their best selves.

Our customers are parents who are growth-minded & take an active role in their child’s education, experiences, and health. Homeschooling moms are our most passionate supporters thus far, for our board game and stationery kit.

We primarily serve our customers through our physical products:

“Continent Race” - geography board game to help kids become better global citizens as they become more familiar with our world.

“Connections” stationery kit - global themed letter writing kit to help kids express gratitude and develop their emotional intelligence while building deeper connections with family and friends.

“Trailblazers - Kids Travel Pillow” - galaxy-themed kids neck pillow for our young explorers. Features a unique, adjustable enclosure to maximize kids’ comfort and ability to adjust and secure pillow themselves boosting their sense of independence and self-confidence.

“Trailblazers Oasis Beach Blanket” – enables families to maximize their quality time and experiences together in comfort.

We also create community and valuable content on our social media platforms @byronsgames. We are a brand that parents and children can rely on for intellectual stimulation and creative inspiration.

We will also raise awareness for our brand while simultaneously delivering great value through our Learn and Explore video series made for children in hospitals. Eventually, the series will be available online for all kids to enjoy. In the series children will meet interesting and inspiring people who are doing great things in the world.

We are still in the very early stages of growth, but are growing quickly. By Feb 2020 we will have 6 products on the market, and our video series and app will be live. By Dec 31st we will have 12 products on the market to deliver a more robust experience for our customers.

We launched our first product last year in November 2018 and saw good results. Then, this December with 3 products on the market and having the right team in place, we were averaging 150-185 sales/day before we ran out of stock on 2 products.

We have recently seen significant growth, as a result of a few factors: winning 3 toy awards this year, having the right team and PPC strategy in place, and having 3 products on the market.

If we received a scholarship, we would use the funds towards launching new products so that we can make an even greater impact on the families and children we serve. We are in production and soon launching a new original math game that we know kids will love, and we have several more ideas in the works. Receiving additional funds would provide us the resources to help develop and bring these ideas to market more quickly.

We appreciate being considered for the finals, and we are excited to share our brand and mission with you.  

Thank you!
Julie and Byron

Byron's Games


Olga Rigo

Mildlee has grown out of joy to feel connected. The joy of giving warmth and love through natural homeware.

We're inspired by home stories and simple family traditions. Breakfasts with home-made fresh bread in linen bags. Loving hands tying a lunch bag and giving it to a child for school. Family driving and children eating snacks over the bags so that the crumbs do not fall on the seats.

We are here to cultivate these true connections. That's about going back to basics and having only essential things that let us feel love. That hold stories.

In the past, I and Yulia had been working in the same marketing dept at a web design company. I was a copywriter and content manager. Yulia was an SEO and outreach manager. There were many aha moments we felt we should launch a business of our own. One day we have that courage to start from scratch. Another main factor we felt we can establish our own brand is that our husbands are kind-of complementary in professions: visual artist/illustrator and web developer/data engineer.

This journey hasn’t been so much about becoming anything. It has been about un-becoming everything that wasn’t really who we are. Because we wanted a more mindful living where family is a priority.

For a long time, we thought how we can add things and features. But today we're thinking more about how to be minimal. And that's the most challenging part. Because it's much harder to take away. And it goes beyond the product. It goes all through the whole essence of what we create.

Our people are those individuals who strive to live honestly in relation to themselves and the environment. It is honesty that leads to the understanding that nature must also be treated fairly. That we are the first generation of people who realized that they screwed up with the planet. And the last generation of people who can change something.

For people who made a choice to be slow in a fast-paced world. Who are mindful of things they acquire and the trace they leave. Who explore low-tox, want their home to be simple with more love and light, and less stuff and waste. Who aspire to change their life with purpose, gently but persistently.

At Mildlee, we focus on natural raw materials, the longevity of products and sustainable properties. We want our homes to be simple, natural, and beautiful. With more light and love and less stuff and waste.

Our first collection is a six-piece linen set of bento bags + a nut-milk bag. The set is inspired by furoshiki, the Japanese wrapping culture, and produced for those who feel that their home should be grounded with natural materials.

This is your quick fix to replace single-use plastic bags in your daily routine. And a mold-free option to store food and home stuff.

Right now, we have our first collection ready (6-piece sets of linen bags - 100 items; 2-piece sets of linen bags (in 3 size variations) - 300 items). This сollection was produced in Ukraine by a small workshop (we found a great team of cutters and seamstresses), focusing on good working conditions, quality natural materials, and shorter distance for deliveries to the warehouses. Keeping the production close we can track the entire process and make it a little better for the environment.

We order the linen textile from one of the best European linen factories. All fabrics are certified to be chemical-free and safe.

As for the packaging boxes, we found a factory in China, have negotiated a deal for 1,000 gift boxes made of brown kraft with gold embossing, and already delivered them to Ukraine. Currently, the sets are being packed and getting ready for the launch.

If we get the $5k scholarship, we would invest it into inventory management, logistics, and multipliers – things which are a priority in growing our business. First, we'll put money into optimal levels of inventory of our product, to keep it all running. Second, we'll invest in software tools (Kartra, Premier Pro, Helium) and advertising (Facebook/Instagram/Amazon ads). We also need funding to deliver our goods to the Amazon DE warehouse.

We'd love to have your support as we get this business started. With your help, we can keep things rolling. And it would be amazing to keep going!

Gym Addict Nutrition

Michael Taylor

I am chiropractor and during a training session with my personal trainer we were talking about a course I had just taken for patients with peripheral neuropathy and we were discussing how important it is get vasodilation for the patient's extremities. I had a new all natural product that specifically helps with that medical process. When I mentioned to him that it's a nitric oxide producer, his eyes opened wide and he screamed "Nitro". Nitric Oxide has been big in weight lifting for years. That got us to start digging a little deeper and started the process of us starting a line of supplements. 1, 2 skip a few and we now have our first product from Gym Addict Nutrition which is a pre-workout Nitric Oxide producer. Without getting too  deep into the science, our product produces the greatest amount of Nitric Oxide with the longest lasting effect. Nitric Oxide produces vasodilation and produces the "pump" you get when lifting weights.

We serve people who are looking for better health (and New Years Resolutions are right around the corner). If you want to get in shape, have more energy, lose weight, get rid of your back pain, we will provide both the products and services to assist you in your journey. Our pre-workout is the first in our line of pre and post workout nutrition. We have plans for a fat burner and a CBD based pain reliever and CBD based recovery cream. Our goal is to serve our audience of people looking to better themselves naturally.

We have produced our product (in the USA) and have started a Shopify store. We are still in the very early stages of our process. We have not started an Amazon store yet and the scholarship would go directly to that process. We would invest the scholarship in Turnkey Product Management to get our Amazon site up an running. We have had an initial conversation with Turnkey and love what they have to offer the start up business and begin to drive sales in that channel.  

Sexy AFter

Monica Gray

Studio Art major in college, hands-on creativity is my strength. I had a mastectomy due to cancer, followed by a reconstruction, then lost the reconstruction. As a very feminine woman, it was a shock to be unable to find anything remotely attractive or sexy in a mastectomy bra. Lingerie in mastectomy styles do not exist. Improperly supported prosthetics shifted during wear and gave me blisters, fell out of my bra, and gave me a noticeably asymmetrical appearance. I could not wear an evening dress, or a simple t-shirt. Dressing became a daily nightmare. I tried as many different styles of prosthesis as I could find, before realizing most of the problem was due to the bra. As I began to research and experiment with bra construction, I spoke to many women about their bras. I realized many bra brands are cheaply made with narrow bands and wings, wide bridges, and stretchy straps. All these things create a very poorly fitting garment. A widely repeated statistic states 80% of American women wear an incorrect bra size. My own experience tells me many women do wear an incorrect size. I believe this is due to the ill-fitting bras readily available. Simply trying a well-fitted, supportive and flattering bra makes an immediately loyal customer!

I serve women who have had a mastectomy or reconstruction. Reconstructed breasts do not look like natural or augmented breasts. They are unevenly placed, misshapen, and often a different size than the other breast. I also serve women who have a natural asymmetry, and those who have lost shape and firmness due to pregnancy or weight loss. My size range will be from a C cup to a DDD, the most common sizes for the American market. I have created several designs for bras that will securely hold a prosthesis or "bump pad"for lift and symmetry. Molded cups, partly rigid straps, a narrow bridge, and wide bands provide support and shaping. Florals, prints, bold colors, textured fabrics and lovely trims add to the visual appeal. I will also offer matching panties, thongs and garter belts. Sexy nightgowns with built-in bras, teddies, and camisole/tap pant sets will also be added. Eventually, I would like to add prosthetics that are comfortable and realistic.

Recently, I have been contacting manufacturers in Indonesia and Latvia. I have had contact with others in Italy, China, Taiwan, the UK, and the US. I have traveled to Spain, Italy, and France, looking at local lingerie brands. I attempted to reach manufacturers there with little success. Finding a quality manufacturer who is willing to work with a small MOQ has been difficult, as I am working with a relatively small budget. A scholarship would allow me more flexibility in choosing a manufacturer, as well as allowing me to stay in training with the program and learn from others who have already traveled this road.

Blue Smoke BBQ

Josh Martin

Since a young age I have always found myself to gravitate towards entrepreneurship. Whether it was a lemonade stand or buying and reselling items on craigslist. Fast forward to June of 2019 I found myself as a college graduate. I have had multiple internships in sales and marketing but have not found my passion while being an employee and making others wealthy. As of mid October, I decided to not pursue a full-time position at the company I was interning with. Instead I decided to go a different direction. From a young age some of my best memories are from having a cookout with my family and friends. Because of this I decided to create an BBQ accessories for meat smokers so others can create these memories with their loved ones.

Blue Smoke BBQ is here to serve people on their journey from amateur griller to seasoned pitmaster. Generally, beginners of barbecuing begin with a gas grill, next they gravitate to smokers with the desire for true low and slow bbq cookin'. Some products will crossover to gas grills but intend to temp grillers to become smokers on their journey to perfect BBQ. In terms of serving this individual, we are creating products for smokers of all kinds (live fire, pellet, egg, etc.) 
We will supply products for pre-smoke, smoke, and post smoke meaning products like a grill brush, electric charcoal starter, wireless thermometer, BBQ gloves, knifes, sauces, rubs and whatever smokers need to become the pitmaster they are. Our first product is a bristle free grill grate brush. More details can be seen in the middle 1/3 of the video about why we chose this as our first product.

If I receive this scholarship my current path would not change; however, it would monumentally speed up the ability to grow my audience though influencers on youtube and ppc on social/amazon and further develop future products


Kevin Hull

I've spent the past few years asking the question "what are the basic foundations of health that truly create an amazing life?" Without sounding overly dramatic, when I began meditating a few years ago my health and overall wellbeing improved beyond what I could've ever imagined. I was sleeping better, could focus longer in school, didn't need caffeine to get through the day, was far less anxious socially, performed better in the gym, enjoyed my relationships more and just my day to day fulfillment was higher in even the most mundane setting.

I've been an athlete and a health nut my entire life, played just about every sport possible and lifted weights for over a decade now. I can say definitively that within my own life nothing has improved my health, well-being, or happiness (in the ways described above) nearly as much as consistently meditating. My ultimate goal is to create a company to employee meditation teachers across K-12 schools, universities, athletic programs, and corporations to empower individuals to have more direct control over their bodies, minds and emotions. I believe empowering individuals with these tools is the only way we can begin to help resolve large systemic/societal issues like depression, suicides, school shootings, and homelessness.

I am so grateful for everything that has happened in my life to bring me to this point and I am extremely excited to share what I've learned with the world, whether I win this scholarship or not.

We help people get deeper more restful sleep, become more resilient to stress, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and have higher, more consistent levels of energy.

We serve everyone from those with insomnia, chronic fatigue and mental health issues all the way to top performers and professional athletes. We believe that sleep monitoring, meditation/restorative yoga and hormone tracking are the next frontiers of high performance and professional athletics and we strive to work directly with these high performers. We will teach people the basics and sell them the products they need.

We intend on selling blue light blocking glasses, oil diffusers and essential oils, weighted blankets, sound machines, light therapy devices for seasonal affective disorder, a sleep supplement, a healthy, natural alternative to coffee, water purifiers, various supplements, and electromagnetic frequency protective clothing.

We have been building an audience and preparing for our first product launch. Receiving a scholarship would help my brand continue to get our message out to the world so that we can serve whoever is ready for our products and services. We would use the money to purchase our first round of inventory or to advertise a product launch on Kickstarter. We know exactly who we serve, how we serve them and what specific problems we are addressing. The scholarship helps us launch our first product and get some momentum so we can build something truly meaningful for the world.


Alex Linebaugh

I started selling products on Amazon in high school. I started a company named, Activam, and sold different products during college, too.  When I was a sophomore in college, I began listening to Ryan Moran’s videos and learned so much.  I even interned with his company in my senior year.  I realized I needed to be more strategic with my company. After I graduated college, I began a job in Dallas but continued to work on my business.

I have had friends and family who have gone through depression and anxiety but do not want to go on medication or feel that their symptoms are severe enough to need it.  I once had a friend who went through a really bad breakup. He had always been confident, sure of himself, and a very happy person. However, the break-up wrecked him. He asked me, “Alex, should I start taking medication for this depression that I’m feeling?”

No doubt, most people go through periods of sadness and depression at different points in their lives.  I decided I would like to focus my company on helping people who are going through such times and need a little help to get them though it without medication.

I changed my company’s name to Neuu. It is a natural anxiety and depression solution company focused on helping people recover from life’s setbacks.

I sell products to people who want to feel a little bit better and less stressed but don’t want or think they need medication. These are people who do not deal with clinical depression or long-term depression. I feel that this is an overlooked market.

Because our target customer doesn’t feel like they have a mental heath issue, we will package and design our products to look clean and modern as opposed to the traditional “clinical” look that a lot of products in the mental health space currently look like. Secondly, we will use words, such as “mood boost”, “destress”, “maximize daily interactions”, and similar phrases instead of words like “depression” and “anxiety”.

We will start our product line by selling a light therapy lamp (a method that uses white light to lift depressive symptoms). I will also use products, such as journals to help people get through those tough times, and I eventually would like to provide our own tea or food line.

Lastly, I want my customers to become very active through social media and facebook groups centered around the brand. I envision the brand to have meetups, in order to build a community of like-minded people who encourage each other. 

Over the last 6 months, I’ve been working with a designer and an amazing manufacturer to design a light therapy lamp. I have already received one prototype, and we made changes to it and are about to receive our second prototype. After this happens, I would love to start production of our light therapy lamp sometime between January and May of 2020.

Over the last few months, I have given my audience updates and videos to take them along with me on this journey.

My business partner built up (now we both own) a Facebook group. It currently has 65k members and targets people who have symptoms of depression and anxiety. ( We also own an anxiety and depression facebook page with 10k likes and followers. (

I have an email list of about 5,000 people that I have built from landing pages, giveaways and our blog ( This email list is mainly used for encouraging short messages that I send out a couple times a week. 

Finally, over the last month I have prepared a “First In Line” list for people who want to buy the lamp. Once they join the list, I send them updates every two weeks on the process of building the light therapy lamp. At the time of this writing, we have 491 people on that list. However, based upon our growth rate, we fully believe to have close to a thousand.

I plan on taking a loan out from Wells Fargo of about $5k to make my first batch of inventory. An estimate of the price/unit I will have to pay is somewhere around $11/unit. If I receive the scholarship money, I will use it for my first batch of inventory.

The Liberty Box

Evan West

I am a college student and I know that the best way to create freedom is to take action and start something. I am passionate about creating brands, largely because I have been following Ryan's work since I was a junior in high school.

I am starting The Liberty Box because I believe that in order for America to stay free, we need to be better educated about our history and heritage.

I serve conservative Americans, ages 29-39, who are focused on building a strong family and raising patriotic children.

The product I provide is a monthly subscription box focused on American history and patriotism. Each month will focus on a different period of American history, beginning with the pilgrims at Jamestown and ending with the Cold War. Every box will include a historical document, a book, a shirt, stickers, a mystery item, and a issue of Liberty Magazine, an original publication that teaches about the people, politics, and important events of the time period.

Along with the flagship Liberty Box, there will be additional subscription boxes with other themes, such as:

- American Innovators, teaching about American entrepreneurs.

- World War II, taking an in-depth look at the the war's causes, main events, and aftermath.

- Presidents, focusing on several presidents every month.

Along with the content in the box, there will be a library of online content. This will include videos, maps, pictures, and family activities.

I have a prototype and a brand identity. I have also identified some suppliers. The scholarship would help me create a Kickstarter campaign and source inventory, which would help me get off the ground. Inventory is the biggest barrier I am facing, since each box needs to have several products in it