The Quarter Zero Story

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History

In the spring of 2012 my younger brother was trying to launch his own venture idea, but he was struggling to find the kind of support he needed to develop his idea fully and implement it well. I remember sitting with him as he rattled off his wishlist: "I need help troubleshooting bugs in the code, advice on how to create strategic partnerships, assistance with introductions to potential clients, legal help with incorporation, branding to help make this company legit!”

What if…there was a startup incubator program like TechStars or Y Combinator, but exclusively for high schoolers? We could hook high schoolers up with epic advisors, and other resources that could really help them succeed, I thought…

…Nine months later, in the winter of 2013 we launched our first Catapult Incubator at the Harvard Innovation Lab.  In the past 4 years we’ve run 11 Incubators and the results speak for themselves:

Over +370 Catapult alumni have generated $5 million in revenue and investment, started more than 70 companies and have gone on to attend top universities, such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, UPenn, and USC.

Catapult becomes Quarter Zero

In the spring of 2017 after talking with hundreds of prospective students, alumni, partners, and parents, a bigger picture emerged.  They told us that the Catapult Incubator was only the beginning of their transformational journey to become an entrepreneur.  

With that in mind we launched Quarter Zero, fondly known as QØ.  QØ's mission is to guide young entrepreneurs on their entire journey, which lasts far longer than a summer.  This means offering more experiences alongside the Catapult Incubator to help even more aspiring entrepreneurs begin their journey.  It also means continuing to support or alumni - QØ Fellows - long after their first experience.  We now offer 1-on-1 career coaching, exclusive internships, and soon a venture capital fund solely for QØ Fellows.

We are truly excited to guide the next generation as they undertake their transformational journey to become entrepreneurs. To read more about this exciting news - click here.

Onward!

Josh

Founder and CEO

 

The QØ Team

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Joshua Caleb Collins

Founder and CEO

Josh is a serial entrepreneur who started his first company in college, a nonprofit aimed to fund student-led service projects. His second venture was the first online network to track and validate student volunteer hours. Over the past 10 years, he worked with global nonprofits helping young entrepreneurs take action and create impact. Prior to starting QØ, he served as an Entrepreneur -in- Residence for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that promotes a global culture of youth initiated positive change. Josh earned his bachelor’s degree from Westmont College where he graduated cum laude with three degrees in economics and business, communication studies, and social science.  

Josh loves cycling with his wife Lucy.

 
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Chris Kosednar

Partner & Product Lead

Chris leads the development of QØ's curriculum and new experiences.  He's overseen cohorts in all our major locations and works first hand with some of our most promising young entrepreneurs.  Previously, Chris spent time leading mobile strategy for a major Silicon Valley startup and guiding Fortune 50 companies on how to build new businesses using elements of customer discovery, ideation, and financial modeling to help these companies launch $100 million dollar businesses. He also coached young entrepreneurs in Ernst and Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Chris and his wife Hannah love to play ultimate frisbee and won the world championships in 2014.

 
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Amanda Liew Hill

Director of Operations

Amanda translates QØ’s vision into tangible action plans. Her journey began as a high school entrepreneur, founding her own apparel company at the age of 14. She attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School where she graduated with both Civic Scholars certification and cum laude honors in Finance and Marketing. Prior to QØ, she worked in investment banking at Jefferies’ Media & Telecommunications team. She is now thrilled to have her story come full circle, enabling her to support high school entrepreneurs with resources she wish she had in her past.

Amanda enjoys traveling the world with her husband Caleb and pursuing her creative passions through photography.

 
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Nita Talwar

Director of Parent Programming

Nita is a certified Parent Coach and launched the Parenting Changemakers program for Ashoka. She is a founder of Chaaya Charitable Trust, which funds education for children from the slums of Bangalore, India. She also serves on the board of The Kiran Anjali Project, a non-profit providing education to disadvantaged children. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and her masters-level coaching certification from Seattle Pacific University. At QØ Nita works on parent outreach as well as facilitates the parent program and parent events.

Nita has lived on 3 continents and 12 different cities. Nita's son attended the Catapult Incubator in 2016.  

 
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Christine Sanderson

Program Manager

Christine helps ensure the smooth running of QØ’s programs and supports QØ’s alumni on their entrepreneurial journey. Prior to QØ, Christine worked in international experiential education in Guatemala where she helped plan, facilitate, and manage immersive educational programs for teens and young adults. She also collaborated with local organizations throughout the country to develop and manage a variety of innovative community projects. Christine is thrilled to bring her passion for working with young people and developing hands on learning opportunities that foster creative thinkers and problem solvers to QØ’s programs.  

Christine enjoys traveling, hiking tall(ish) mountains, and exploring local coffee shops.

 
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Ren Liu

Event Coordinator

Ren manages all of the planning and implementation of QØ's program logistics. Prior to QØ, Ren organized large-scale community events through collaboration with corporate partners, community leaders, local start ups and NYC youth. Ren is excited to bring their expertise in logistics and passion for systems to QØ. Ren is thrilled to continue overseeing all of the details for running creative programming for talented young people across the country.

Ren enjoys eating french fries and exploring the beautiful neighborhoods of NYC.

 

Autumn Williams

Facilitator (Incubator A)

A native of Watts, LA, Autumn is a graduate of Stanford University where she studied Aeronautics and Astronautics and researched aeronautical astrobiology applications for NASA. As the only Black woman in her cohort, Autumn began exploring the root cause of under-representation in her field. After learning that many students lose academic interest in mathematics and science in addition to less academic support in middle school, she founded STEMgineers Shifting Gears, a STEM-focused after school, tutoring, and summer program based in Watts that encourages students’ intellectual curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through project-based learning. STEMgineers scaled to reach young people in Boston and New York as well.

She researched local systems and adapted her work to thrive within communities in Haiti, India, and South Africa. Her time in South Africa led her to help develop African School for Excellence where she is now Executive Director. In Tsakane, South Africa,  ASE delivers a world-class education that is socially, emotionally, and academically rich while remaining affordable enough for the children of parents who earn about $6 a day. Autumn is a firm believer in the power of education as a means to transform individuals and their communities. She is a board member for several African education ventures including Thando Education Services and Qyoobx. Autumn has shared her work as a guest lecturer and storyteller at venues including The Aspen Institute, Georgetown University, and the Smithsonian Institution.

 
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Brian Hachtmann

Facilitator (Incubator B)

Since his youth, Brian has insatiably worked to understand how the world works and how we may mold the world towards the one we want to live in and leave for others. Brian’s first patent is in battery module design at Tesla Motors, and he has filed for 37 patents in Airborne Wind Energy at Makani Power. Brian has worked with youth in a variety of ways: tutoring Stanford athletes in math, science, and engineering; developing a Lego Robotics curriculum for middle schoolers; leading a Mechanical Engineering course for Gifted High Schoolers at Stanford’s EPGY; teaching intro engineering courses at Stanford; and guiding many aspiring musicians their way around the fretboard. Brian holds a BS from Cal Poly SLO and a MS from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering.


Brian lives out of his mobile solar powered tiny home chasing thermals in his paraglider. He is exploring businesses while growing community and looking for ways to leverage his knowledge experiences and passions for good.

 
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Deepak Iyer

Community Team Member

Deepak is a rising senior at St. Bonaventure University as a member of the Franciscan Healthcare Program with GW School of Medicine. He has always been passionate about medicine, but realized the potential that entrepreneurship plays in fostering innovation in healthcare. Throughout his time at St. Bonaventure, he has worked on developing a startup geared at making crowdfunding for medical expenses more accessible.

As a Quarter Zero alum (Philadelphia Incubator 2014-2015) and part of the Sensei venture team, Deepak is looking forward to working with the current cohorts on their entrepreneurial journey!

 
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Francesca Sta Maria

Community Team Member

Francesca is a rising junior at the Minerva Schools at KGI, a new undergraduate program with the goal of reimagining a 21st-century top-tier education for the globally minded. Prior to enrolling at Minerva, Francesca founded the EduGIFT Foundation, a scholarship fund that supports 19 underprivileged girls through their schooling years in top international schools in Malaysia. Francesca has also worked on successful political campaigns and was charged with running the public-facing fronts of the campaigns. She has traveled through 10.6% of the world, loves solving complex problems, meeting new people, and connecting communities.

 
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Mackendy Blanc

Community Team Member

Mackendy is a member of the Haitian diaspora living in the United States. As a student at Watson University, a school that focuses on developing social entrepreneurs, he is working on a project that will invigorate Haiti’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through startup development. Before his tenure at Watson, Mackendy spent the past 7 years working with youth and community groups across five countries. Most recently, he worked with the Youth Ambassador Program, an international exchange initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Through this work, he supported teens from all over Haiti in their journey to become successful leaders and active agents of change. Mackendy is honored to be working with passionate youth from around the world and supporting the development of future leaders and entrepreneurs.

 
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Anna Graves

Community Team Member

Anna is passionate about making change within her sphere of influence and challenging the status quo. She is an undergraduate student at Minerva Schools at KGI, the most selective undergraduate program in the United States. The school boasts an innovative curriculum enabling her studies to integrate active and experiential learning across seven different global cities. Committed to community service, she aims to volunteer with a different nonprofit each month. Anna has previously worked with all age groups of kids– from summer day camps to advising high schoolers for college preparation. In her spare time, Anna enjoys hiking, ultimate frisbee, and exploring new coffee shops.
 

 
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Jon Hart

Facilitator, Entrepreneur in Residence

Jon is passionate about serving and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. He is a Partner at Praxis, a venture group that has over 125 high-impact startups operating in 40 countries in their portfolio. Jon leads Praxis Academy, which serves college students and recent graduates. Prior to Praxis, he spent seven years at a Fortune 50 Company, where he helped launch a new venture within the company, and help execute a major turnaround in another business unit. His focus was on customer experience design, organizational leadership and brand management.   He is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He lives in Manhattan.

 
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Christopher Crittenden

Facilitator, Entrepreneur in Residence

Chris is a lifelong learner, contrarian, and builder. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Chris started his career with stints in real estate investment banking and fixed income trading, but soon embraced the nonlinear and uncertain life of an entrepreneur. Since then he has invested in or worked on projects in several verticals, including real estate technology, consumer goods, fintech, transportation, not for profit, film production, and hospitality. Constantly drawing on his wide experience set, Chris loves working on complex problems, making products that bring joy, and making the world more efficient. In his spare time Chris loves to read, has a penchant for men’s fashion, and pretends to understand wine. He lives in New York City with his wife, Carly.

 
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Parker Thomas

Facilitator, Entrepreneur in Residence

Parker is the Managing Partner of Mirus Labs, a design studio that helps learning organizations create spaces and experiences that encourage creativity, wonder and learning. He is a cofounder of Urban Montessori Charter School, an Oakland elementary school with 330 scholars based on design thinking, arts integration and the teachings of Maria Montessori. A passionate believer that making things develops creative problem-solving skills, he is also the cofounder of STEAM Factory, an Oakland family makerspace currently building a two-person, 30 mph hovercraft. Prior to Mirus, he built and sold 2 companies, built 2 airplanes and flew them around the country, managed the DARPA-funded MENTOR Makerspace program for Make: Magazine and co-invented Maker Studio, a building toy currently sold in bookstores and specialty toy stores across the country. In his spare time, he makes drones, boats, pens, knives, treehouses and anything else his kids want to make.