Duke’s Entrepreneurial Spirit
a special Duke Today series

Duke’s Entrepreneurial Alumni

By Michael Penn and Christina Holder

Thousands of Duke alumni have started companies, launched social ventures and pursued entrepreneurship in other ways. Many belong to the Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network (DukeGEN), whose annual events around the world include the Elevator Pitch Competition, the Duke Start-Up Challenge and ongoing series featuring speakers and networking. Meet some of these entrepreneurial Duke alums here:

Poornima Vijayashanker

B.S.E., Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, 2004

Palo Alto, California

After helping Aaron Patzer launch Mint as one of its first software engineers, Vijayashanker turned her passion for yoga into BizeeBee, an online system to help fitness studios and other small businesses track and gain customers. She is also the founder of Femgineer, which offers courses to encourage female tech professionals to become entrepreneurs.

Vamsee Pamula

Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2000


Michael Pollack

Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2001

San Diego

Pamula and Pollack founded Advanced Liquid Logic in 2004 to commercialize gene-testing technology developed in the lab of Duke professor Richard Fair, where they both were postdoctoral researchers. The two led the Research Triangle Park company’s technology efforts until 2013, when it was bought by Illumina. Pollack is now director of product development for Illumina; Pamula recently founded Baebies, a start-up focused on medical technology to improve infant healthcare.

Andrew Busey photo via statesman.com, Chad Dickerson photo via news.com.au, Poman Lo photo via Wikimedia Commons, Larry Mimms photo via larrymimms.com and Aaron Patzer photo via edelman.ca. All other photos contributed by profiled alumni.

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