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 5 years we’ve run 14 Incubators with students from 40 states, 10 countries, and the results speak for themselves:

Over +550 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 urban cycling, playing Kubb, and taking his toddler, Quincy, to the beach with his wife, Lucy.

 
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Chelsea Frost Williams

Director of Marketing + Brand

Chelsea leads the Brand and Marketing efforts for QØ. Over the past 10 years, she has guided companies (from startups to Fortune 50) on marketing strategy, brand development, and creating impactful communications. She is passionate about facilitating new ideas, creativity, and is thrilled to be working with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Chelsea enjoys traveling, lobster rolls, and making skincare products.  

 
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Aarshiya Chaudhry

Senior Manager, Incubator

Aarshiya leads the program and logistics for Quarter Zero’s flagship Catapult Incubator. Prior to QØ, Aarshiya spent about 5 years working with Teach For India variously as a teacher, program manager, project lead and curriculum builder. At TFI, she conceptualized and led a program to develop entrepreneurship skills amongst students from at-risk communities in Delhi. Most recently, she received her MBA from Yale’s School of Management where she focused on design, innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship and founded her own startup focused on women’s health.

Aarshiya is a trained Indian classical dancer and certified Yoga instructor who enjoys jumping off of cliffs in every country she visits, overcoming all odds to pet every dog she sees, and forgetting about her phone’s existence every once in a while. 

 
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Ren Liu

Program Operations Manager

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 startups and NYC youth. They are excited to bring their expertise in logistics and systems to QØ, and to oversee all of the details for running creative programming for passionate young people across the country.


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

 
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Martha Rush

Chief Educator-in-Residence

Martha has taught high school social studies in Minnesota for 22 years, and she founded her first company, NeverBore education consulting, in 2016, while enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s Education Entrepreneurship master’s program. Since 2013, Martha has helped more than 100 high school students launch businesses, from T-shirt makers to tech firms to social enterprises promoting sustainable products. Martha is excited to join QØ, so she can share the lessons she’s learned with a growing global community of innovation-oriented teachers and students.

Martha loves spending time with teenagers, blogging, traveling the world and hanging out at home with her husband, Jeff, and their two rescue dogs. Their sons, Ben and Sam, are successfully launched.

 
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Ivan Cestero

Educator-in-Residence

Ivan founded the Social Innovation Program at Avenues: The World School, a global K12 school with campuses currently in NYC, Sao Paulo, and Shenzhen. He believes the combination of design, entrepreneurship, and social impact is an exciting lens through which teenagers can understand and be equipped to solve the great problems they will inherit as adults. His students engage in entrepreneurial projects and design challenges with local and global partners from Crisis Text Line to the United Nations Association, and launched Design 4 Impact (D4i), a startup bringing real world problem solving to high schools.  Ivan loves playing ultimate frisbee, watching soccer, reading the New Yorker, and planning trips with his wife and daughter.  

 
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Martin McGovern

QØ Life Coach-in-Residence

Martin leads the ongoing "life prep" and career training programs for QØ. He is also the founder of Career Therapy and is on a mission to help people navigate the emotional and promotional aspects of their careers. As a Career Coach, he's partnered with education organizations across the country including General Assembly, WeWork, Turing, Udacity, and more. And when he's not coaching you can find him running by the lake, practicing Stoicism, and nerding out over Marvel films.

 
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Sergio Hernandez

Program Manager - QØ Startup Camp Santa Barbara

Sergio leads the logistics for the startup camp. His creativity and innovative spirt is expressed in his ability to foster strategic connections and build authentic community through new programs and events, which encourages leadership and diversity. He has a wealth of experience working with students, specifically in higher education, where he creates his alma mater’s national young alumni association and develops Wesmont College’s thriving student alumni association. He also established the T-CAMP foundation in Santa Barbara, which allows local college students to tutor and mentor elementary students in need. He also received his MBA from Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School.  When Sergio is not on the basketball court or watching sporting events, he enjoys international travel to find his new favorite restaurant or ice cream parlor. 

 
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Tanner Begin

Alumni Success Team + Content Lead

Tanner brings his creative energy to the marketing team by managing the social media and by contributing to other marketing content initiatives. As an entrepreneur himself, he has experience in creating a personal brand image primarily through social media. Tanner has worked extensively with students of all ages in varying capacities; from leading middle schoolers on backpacking trips in the Sierras to taking college students on educational immersion trips to inner city Los Angeles and Chicago, he has received immense joy from helping students learn new things about themselves and the world. Tanner is excited to continue providing students with opportunities to learn more about themselves in his role at QØ.

Tanner enjoys engaging in global politics, following the latest internet trends, and eating at the newest restaurants in town.

 
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Devin Barbin

Associate, QØ Lab

Devin is inspired by the heart and potential that young people have to change the world. Through her previous work in coordinating youth leadership programming, she has grown a strong enthusiasm for cultivating students’ opportunities to invest in their passions and interests. In the past few years, she has gained immersive experience with startups in the social impact and nonprofit space. Devin graduated cum laude from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Entrepreneurship.

Devin is studying the art of becoming a home barista, but her favorite places to enjoy a cup of coffee are in the mountains or next to a campfire.

 
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Lucy Harris Collins

Senior Operations Manager

Lucy is excited to bring her passion for creating efficiencies across processes and procedures to the daily operations of Quarter Zero. Prior to QØ, Lucy spent over a decade in hedge fund investor relations with a focus on operational fund diligence, reporting, and investor services. She earned her bachelors degree in sociology from the University of Virginia.

Lucy enjoys all things food, and she is the author of lucysguide.com.

 
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Mark Carlson

Partnerships Team

Mark excels at building authentic relationships with ease. His excitement for people now finds its home at Quarter Zero, where he maintains relationships with schools, partners, and alumni of QØ as well as initiating new connections. Mark’s past experience in both positions of leadership and customer service allow him to understand all types of people and cater to them exceptionally well. Mark is thrilled about QØ’s potential to impact youth and the world, and he loves being a central part of the relational efforts at QØ. 

Mark enjoys his hobbies of music production and photography and is always curious to learn more.

 
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Hope Geisinger

Solution Catalyst

Hope graduated from Westmont College with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is passionate about working with people. She has worked with students as a behavioral therapist and has a desire to continue assist the emotional needs of students in a different capacity and to impact them in a positive way. She loves organizing, problem solving and establishing new connections with people.

 
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Chris Kosednar

Master Facilitator

Chris is our most experienced facilitator and has been working with young entrepreneurs and their startups since our very first cohort in 2013.  Chris has experience consulting Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Target, and also has experience in Silicon Valley working for mobile technology companies.

Chris is originally from Alaska and he attributes part of his entrepreneurial spirit to growing up in the north where there are few products and services and most people have to solve problems and design their own solutions (much like a startup!).

In his free time, Chris whitewater rafts, gardens, and cooks with his wife Hannah and dog Mister. His claim to fame is winning a gold medal in Ultimate Frisbee at the 2014 World Championships in Italy.

 
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Nate Houghton

Partnerships Team

Nate is an experienced entrepreneur and sales leader across a variety of industries. He founded a nonprofit organization called the Congo Leadership Initiative that trains youth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. CLI has helped more than 2,000 young people launch nearly 400 businesses over the last ten years. He is also a founding partner at Incendium Strategies where he works with early stage technology companies on their go-to-market efforts, particularly using outbound sales techniques.

Nate attended Cornell University and Harvard Business School.



 
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Claire Fleming

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Claire caught a bug for entrepreneurial education in high school, propelling her through Quarter Zero’s 2016 spring cohort. Since then, Claire has worked on three startups and now owns a laser cut design business in tandem with being a student at Hendrix College. In her college career, Claire has attended the Watson Institute in Boulder, pitched at a youth entrepreneurship summit with Ustvarjalnik in Slovenia, and visited with the pioneer class of the African Leadership University in Mauritius. Claire is extremely passionate about youth empowerment and has found great fulfillment in facilitating high school leadership development for over five years.


 
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Ja’dan Johnson

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Ja’dan Johnson is a Jamaican social impact entrepreneur and creative. Inspired by his journey of launching his first business venture at age 13, Ja’dan launched Next Gen Creators, a nonprofit work to improve access to opportunities, funding and training for young entrepreneurs across the Caribbean.

He is the curator of some of the most engaging youth events covering technology, finance, startups and the creative industries; and frequently consults public and private sector firms on supporting next generation talent. Currently a student at the Watson Institute at Lynn University, Ja’dan is exploring the intersection of innovation, design and social impact.

 
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Danyal Naeem

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Danyal is a rising junior at Minerva Schools who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in brand management and computational sciences. Growing up in a small town of Pakistan to attending college in the US has been quite a challenging yet rewarding journey for him. From this experience, if there is one thing that he believes has made the biggest impact on his life, it is his journey through education. Never wanting to settle for conventional education in his country, Danyal has constantly stretched himself by adopting innovative education systems even when the choices were inconvenient. This experience is what stems his belief in the power of EdTech.

Through his leadership experiences, Danyal has spearheaded several inter-disciplinary events for high school students that aimed at promoting experiential learning. Impacting people’s lives has always been his ultimate source of joy which is why he is excited to take on this opportunity at QØ to mentor the talented young entrepreneurs who he believes will change the world for the better.

Danyal is a passionate tennis fan and a huge admirer of Roger Federer. He appreciates the small things in life like spontaneous adventures with his friends, exploring hidden gems of a city and finding the best coffee shops wherever he goes.

 
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Megan Cho

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Megan is a rising Junior at Minerva Schools majoring in Brand Management and minoring in Economics. After attending UCLA for a year, she transferred to Minerva to pursue their unique degree program that will take her to 7 different global cities. Last year, she co-founded LEAP— a student organization dedicated to providing learning opportunities for aspiring business leaders. Most recently, while studying in India, she helped establish a startup incubator that supports local women entrepreneurs in scaling their ventures. As someone who is passionate about helping individuals reach their full potential, she is excited to be a part of the QØ team and work with the next generation’s entrepreneurs this summer.

 
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Shirley Li

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Shirley has worked as an executive and marketing director at various startups, was on the board for the 2017 Stanford Mental Health Innovation Challenge, and founded the club program at the Asian American Donor Program. Shirley loves to mentor students and was an innovation leader at the American Psychiatric Association’s Innovation Lab, where she mentored two master’s students on their startup idea. She is passionate about social good and loves startups that integrate that into their missions. Shirley holds a specialization in Entrepreneurship from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and currently attends the University of California, Los Angeles.

 
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Dwayne Griffith

Community Team Member - Catapult Incubator

Dwayne’s passion for entrepreneurship kindled when he started working for a family startup in high school. As an avid learner, he took all the skills he learned at this startup and decided to explore how governments can support local initiatives by serving as the youngest consultant for St. Maarten’s National Development Plan Steering Committee. Over the past five years, Dwayne has served as the Community Advisor for Watson Institute where he cultivated brave spaces for entrepreneurs, worked as a Program Director and Curriculum Developer for a summer camp, and mentored many entrepreneurs on St. Maarten.

He has a certificate in Human Rights from UPEACE and is his senior year obtaining his BSc in Social Entrepreneurship at Watson Institute at Lynn University.  He is proud to call himself a One Young World Ambassador, a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow, and a UN Youth Assembly Delegate. He provides his diverse perspective young entrepreneurs helping them develop 21st-century skills.

 
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Hailey Tuesday

Community Team Member - QØ Startup Camp Santa Barbara + New York

Hailey has a passion for helping others and seeing them flourish. She is an internationally certified mentor and uses this to mentor, tutor, facilitate, motivate, and encourage students at the University of Hawaii, where she is also earning her masters degree. Hailey graduated cum laude from Westmont College with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and a Minor in Spanish. She is BLS CPR and AED certified and has served on medical missions trips to Mexico and Bolivia. She volunteers in the nursery and has worked with students of all ages. She is excited to work with the students of Quarter Zero and help them learn, experience, and grow in their passion.

 
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Renee Chan

Community Team Member - QØ Startup Camp Santa Barbara

Renee seeks to empower and foster community through championing others in their creativity and calling. As a communication and global studies student entering her final year at Westmont College, Renee has lived and traveled all over the world, including Hong Kong, Uganda, and Mexico, meeting bold, successful leaders who have fervently pursued their dreams and motivated her to do the same. Working with various startups and nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and Los Angeles to create and strengthen their marketing strategies has fueled her passion for stewarding businesses well through socially responsible practices. Now a member of the QØ team, Renee is thrilled to do life alongside the next generation of young entrepreneurs and influencers who are changing the world we live in!

 
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James Lopez

Community Team Member - QØ Startup Camp Santa Barbara + New York

James is currently a rising Sophomore at Westmont College majoring in Data Analytics and Computer Science. This year, James and handful of his fellow students were tasked as Salesforce Developers – for Westmont College – to reinvent a key part of the technical infrastructure which is setting a precedent for Higher Ed. In this same spirit, James believes that young individuals hold great potential to innovate and set precedents in their respective communities going forward. As a student leader in Student Alumni Association, James has connected with many professionals and is currently being mentored by a handful of them. Through these experiences, James is excited to show the value of networking and mentorships contribute to both personal and professional growth. He is very excited to contribute to youth empowerment at QØ this summer!