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ABC Family Sets Cast for Tech-Themed Reality Series ‘Startup U’

“Startup U” is ready to launch.

ABC Family has announced the cast for its Silicon Valley-set docu-series that follows 10 entrepreneurial techies looking to make names for themselves while also perhaps bursting others’ bubbles. To do so, they must enter a grueling seven-week program at Draper University, a program led by billionaire founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper.  After a semester of learning the fundamentals of launching a startup company under the mentorship of America’s business leaders, the students will pitch their ideas to venture capitalists eager to find the next big tech innovation. (To date, more than 180 Draper graduates have received funding that totals more than $20 million from mogul investors and Draper himself).

The series hails from Ugly Brother Studios, a Sky Vision partner, and serves as an example of ABC Family’s expanded reach into unscripted series. Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy, Draper, Perry Dance and Ted Iredell serve as executive producers.

“Startup U” premieres at 8 p.m. August 18 on ABC Family. The cast members’ bios, including their Twitter handles, are listed here.

The Founder

Tim Draper
Founder, Draper University: As the founding partner of leading venture capital firms Draper Associates and DFJ, Tim’s investments include Skype, Overture, Tesla, Baidu, Hotmail and Theranos, among several others. In 2011, Tim founded Draper University to teach entrepreneurial skills, fostering young leaders and innovators as they set out to light the world on fire. Over the past 3 years, more than 180 student ideas have been funded to the amount of over $20 million.
Twitter: @TimDraper

The Staff

Charlie Taibi
Hometown: Long Island, NY
Position: Draper University Program Director
Age: 26
A former Draper University student, Tim hired Charlie to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs by creating and implementing the curriculum. Over the years, Charlie’s attentive coaching and insight has been instrumental in helping the students develop their business plans and prepare them for their final test: Pitch Day.
Twitter: @ChahlieTaibi

Sequoia Blodgett
Hometown: Richmond, California
Position: Draper University Entrepreneur in Residence
Age: 31
Also a former Draper University student, Sequoia was the only member of her graduating class to secure funding from Tim Draper; her business, “7AM,” is a mobile business app community focused on promoting positive intimate relationships. Currently, Sequoia helps the students shape their own start-ups while continuing to develop her own business.
Twitter: @SequoiaB

The Students

Erin Brady
Hometown: Portland, Conn.
Age: 26
Background: A financial consultant before being crowned Miss USA in 2013, Erin is married to fellow student Tony Capasso.
Business Proposal: Erin’s concept, “Romeo In A Box,” is a subscription-based service that sends gifts on pre-specified dates to wives, girlfriends and moms, thereby eliminating fights over forgetting important milestones.
Twitter: @OfficialEBrady

Tony Capasso
Hometown: Hartford, Conn.
Age: 30
Background: A self-professed “mama’s boy,” Tony currently runs the family construction business and is married to fellow competitor Erin Brady.
Business Proposal: Tony plans to use 3D printing to transform the construction business and create affordable housing.
Twitter: @TonyCapasso1

John Frye
Hometown: Bradenton, Fla.
Age: 18
Background: The youngest student in the program, John’s obsession with Apple and Steve Jobs prompted him to move across country to be closer to Silicon Valley.
Business Proposal: John’s app “StudyBetter” uses money as a motivator for students to study. Participants make money once they meet their goals, but in turn they must pay money if they fail.
Twitter: @JFryeOfficial

Shawn Isaac
Hometown: Palm Springs, Calif.
Age: 25
Background: Once the youngest city commissioner in the state, Shawn is also a rapper. In addition to getting funding for his business, this single guy is hoping to find a smart, classy girl at Draper.
Business Proposal: Shawn’s app Six Degrees allows the user to act as a matchmaker and set up two friends on a date. Friends have friends’ best romantic interests at heart, so why use an algorithm to find love?
Twitter: @realshawnisaac

David Kram
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Age: 27
Background: David began trading stocks at the age of 14, but recently left his six-figure salary as an investment banker to follow his dream of being an entrepreneur.
Business Proposal: A strong supporter of medical marijuana, David’s Stonr app delivers pot to those in need within 20 minutes.
Twitter: @DavidKram

Ana Marte
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Age: 30
Background: Extremely competitive and often using her charm to get her own way, Ana met her goal of owning her own business (a beauty shop) by the time she was 30.
Business Proposal: Ana’s idea “Nailed It” provides customers with qualified and trained professionals for on-demand nail care services. “Nailed It” offers an unwavering commitment to quality, health safety and customer service from the consumer’s phone order to the front door.
Twitter: @Amarte0314

Carly Martinetti
Hometown: Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
Age: 24
Background: A passionate animal lover, Carly created a popular website in college that showcased unusual and unknown creatures. Carly’s smarts are often underestimated due to her looks, but underneath her sweet exterior is lot of fire and drive.
Business Proposal: Carly’s “Pretty Litter” is a colorful, sparkly cat litter that changes colors once it’s used, making a previously unpleasant chore more fun for felines and humans alike.
Twitter: @ftcreature

Keyonna Patterson
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Age: 30
Background: Emancipated from her mother at the age of 15, Keyonna used to walk 3 miles to and from her multiple part-time jobs because she didn’t have a car. Her passion for fashion prompted her to leave her job as a real estate agent and follow a new career path.
Business Proposal: Keyonna presents the clothing line “Lacher” (French for “let go”), which mixes Victorian clothing with contemporary style.
Twitter: @EderaBeauty

Malcolm Tyson
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
Age: 26
Background: A star high-school basketball player who taught himself computer coding in the 4th grade, Malcolm built his first website at age 14. Determined to know everything he can about the tech industry, Malcolm vows to use programming to change the world.
Business Proposal: Malcom’s business “Robora” is a payment platform that recommends other similar products once the transaction is completed.
Twitter: @malcolmtyson

Sharon Winter
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Age:22
Background: Majoring in industrial design, Sharon concentrated on robotics so she could create real, working prototypes. A fanatic shoe-lover (she owns over 100 pairs of stilettos), Sharon’s outgoing nature drives her to work hard during the day and go out on the town at night to promote her business.
Business Proposal: Sharon’s app, “Hotpoint,” is a video-social networking app that allows users to zoom in on a map to see what’s trending by viewing user-generated video in real time.
Twitter: @sharonwinter77

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