Catching Up with Jacobson Global Venture Award Winners

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies established the Jacobson Global Venture Awards in 2017 thanks to the generosity of Andrew Jacobson, WG’93, and Lauder alumna Marina Kunis Jacobson, G’93, WG’93. Venture Awards provide Lauder students with resources to focus their energies on their entrepreneurial venture during the summer. In 2022, five ventures were awarded $12,000. We interview two of the winners below.

Melissa Tovin


Melissa Tovin

470 Baking Company is an organic, vegan sourdough goods company featuring sourdough crackers as the core product line in 3 distinct flavors: Flaky Salt and Cracked Pepper, Rosemary, and Sumac.  Melissa Tovin, founder of 470 Baking Co, has been an avid baker since childhood and first discovered sourdough in 2014 after moving to 470 2nd Avenue in San Francisco. The company’s core product line showcases the unique sourdough baking method and offers consumers a simple, yet elevated option for at-home or on-the-go snacking. 470 Baking Co will use the Jacobson venture funding to set up commercial kitchen space and source a co-packer to increase supply, as well as to build marketing materials for an initial sales push to local grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants, and cafes.

Melissa Tovin is a recent graduate of the MA/MBA Class of 2022. She was a student in the Europe Program, French Track. She studied engineering at Brown University and went on to pursue her interests in food and beverage by joining specialty coffee company Blue Bottle Coffee. Prior to Lauder, Melissa worked on strategy planning and digital initiatives at Constellation Brands, in their Wine and Spirits division.

Arelyss Eblohoue

Early Pi

Arélyss Eblohoue

Early Pi (formerly ‘Eago’) is a social media platform dedicated to events. Early Pi proposes a unique, all-in-one digital space that houses tickets sales, communications between organizers and customers, networking among participants, and photo and video sharing. Event organizers usually sell their tickets through their own platform or a third-party website, then they communicate updates through different social media channels (Facebook, Intagram, etc). From festivals to conferences, Early Pi’s end-to-end platform will offer all these features in one single place. The Jacobson Award will help Early Pi invest in infrastructure and accelerate the development of the platform.

Arélyss Eblohoue, Founder of Early Pi, is now a second-year MA/MBA student in the Global Program. She was previously a Quantitative Trading Researcher and built automated trading strategies. Born and raised in Benin, Arélyss graduated from the French Grandes Ecoles ENSIMAG where she studied Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. As a festival aficionado, Arélyss hopes to make life easier for festival fans and anyone who wants to organize an event.

Learn about all the Jacobson Global Venture Award winners here: