2018 Jacobson Venture Awards Winners Announced!

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies has established the Jacobson Venture Awards thanks to the generosity of Andrew Jacobson, WG’93, and Marina Kunis Jacobson, G’93, WG’93. This new program seeks to provide Lauder students with the opportunity to focus their energies on their entrepreneurial venture during the summer. The rules and procedures governing this award are detailed here. Each venture receives a $10,000 cash award. This financial support, coupled with the many other co-curricular opportunities at Wharton, provides a strong foundation for students’ professional development as entrepreneurs.  The Venture Award supports a student’s work over the summer in lieu of a full-time internship, allowing the student to concentrate full-time on developing the venture.

Michal Benedykcinski – Dexio

Dexio aims to power sustainable diamond trade. The industry remains fragmented, inefficient, heavily scrutinized and is a source of negative publicity due to the inherent challenges across the supply chain. By recording a diamond’s journey starting at the mine, Dexio will restore trust to the system and allow key stakeholders to benefit from a more efficient and transparent value chain. The solution combines the latest imaging and distributed ledger technology enabling seamless transactions between miners, processors, and financiers while keeping them accountable.

Michal is a 1st year MA/MBA at Wharton and Lauder in the Global program majoring in finance and entrepreneurial management. Before Wharton, he was based in London working in private equity and M&A advisory in the infrastructure space. He is passionate about blockchain technology and the positive impact it could bring to the global supply chains and trade financing. Michal shares, “I am grateful for the opportunity to take my venture to the next stage and launch the Dexio pilot later this year. Special thanks to the incredibly insightful panel of the alumni judges, the Jacobson family, and the wider Lauder community.”

Nestor Solari – Sigo Seguros

Sigo Seguros is a tech-enabled insurance brokerage making the auto insurance purchasing process easier and more transparent for Hispanic Americans. Using technology and a mobile-first product design, Sigo will streamline the antiquated process of buying property and casualty insurance.

Nestor is a 1st year MA/MBA student and a first-generation American born and raised in northern New Jersey. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in Finance, he worked in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in New York before spending over five years working in private equity. During his experience in investing, Nestor primarily worked with financial institutions across Latin American and Asia to provide financial services to under-served populations. He came to Wharton and Lauder to build his company and has made significant progress since starting graduate school. Nestor shares about his experience, “Getting feedback from the judges during the competition and learning from their experience was extremely valuable. The Jacobson Award will provide Sigo with essential funding needed at this early stage to launch operations sooner than would otherwise be possible.”