Meet Basil Udo ’22, biochemistry and molecular biology, an entrepreneur and technologist in the third cohort of bwtech@UMBC’s Maryland New Venture Fellowship for Cybersecurity program, where teams work together to create the commercially viable solutions the nation needs to secure physical and virtual infrastructures. Basil walks us through the timeline of creating his business venture as an undergraduate, support from campus leaders to help finesse his vision, his entrepreneurial award, and how he made the most of his UMBC connections to find a job in his area of industry.
Q: How did you get involved with bwtech@UMBC?
A: In Spring 2022, I gained access to bwtech@UMBC’s CyberHive via the Student Idea Lab for my venture, Xeddy. At Xeddy, we are innovating the punch card experience with digital loyalty programs for restaurants and cafes. What I enjoy most about this work is the potential to impact many lives in a net positive way. In October, I was awarded a 2022 Student Entrepreneur Award at bwtech@UMBC’s Cyber & Tech Awards.
Q: Tell us about your primary WHY, and how it led you to UMBC.
A: I came to UMBC because of a 2018 summer research experience with the Build a Bridge to STEM program. My team conducted research with Jeffrey Gardner, associate professor in biological sciences, where we developed and rendered designs for biomass containment devices and tested their efficiency in measuring the degradation of polysaccharides. Later that summer, my research team and I went on to present our findings at UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest. Ultimately, this experience was an inflection point in my feelings of self-efficacy and interest in new information.
Who is someone in the community who has supported you, and how?
A: In 2021, I was actively practicing my elevator pitch around Xeddy and when the opportunity presented itself to share it with an audience, I did. It was the first day of my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, and this led to me connecting with my professor, Scott Weber, outside of class. He introduced me to more resources on campus, specifically Kevin Fulmer, the director of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, where I received foundational support to materialize my ideas and tighten my pitch.
How have you taken your entrepreneurial skills to the next level?
A: I am a technologist in the third cohort of bwtech@UMBC’s Maryland New Venture Fellowship for Cybersecurity. Every week, we are introduced to new resources and left with actionable steps to take that further our internal company missions. This greatly appreciated added layer of accountability encourages myself and my team to strategically look past our launch.
Tell us about the people who helped you grow at UMBC, and why their HOW made such a difference to you.
A: In my last semester at UMBC, I virtually met with a science career advisor, Susan Hindle. She helped me rework my résumé and highlight my strongest attributes. A few weeks later, I grabbed lunch with a leader in bwtech’s community, and he suggested that I learn more about a company called Catalent Pharma Solutions.
Another few weeks went by, and I was passing by a Catalent information booth near the bookstore in The Commons. I recall making the conscious decision to return after my class to connect with the team of recruiters. Upon my arrival at the booth, I saw (and met for the first time in person) my career advisor, who then gave me a lovely introduction to the recruiters. In November, I received my offer letter to get started!
I enjoy heading over to UMBC’s main campus to get involved with entrepreneurial affairs… Exploring these opportunities from an alumnus perspective has given me an added appreciation for the resources and support that are active and growing in our community.
Basil Udo ’22
I am now a manufacturing associate at Catalent. Every day I learn something new and it provides me with a way to support and enrich myself as I pursue my personal endeavors with Xeddy. Additionally, the exposure to corporate systems has introduced a new perspective on logistical efficiency, which makes me better at facilitating direction as a founder.
What’s your favorite part of Retriever Nation?
A: Since I spend a lot of my time at the Research & Technology Park, I enjoy heading over to UMBC’s main campus to get involved with entrepreneurial affairs run by the Alex. Brown Center and volunteer events such as HackUMBC. Exploring these opportunities from an alumnus perspective has given me an added appreciation for the resources and support that are active and growing in our community.
What’s the one thing you’d want someone who hasn’t joined the UMBC community to know about the support you find here?
A: The entrepreneurial community at UMBC is growing and innovating each year. If you intentionally want to start a venture, UMBC will avidly support you. Starting with resources like the Alex. Brown Center, HackUMBC, and entrepreneurship classes will provide someone unsure of how to start with direction, potential cofounders, and info on the entrepreneurial mindset.
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