October 18, 2016
University of Portland senior finance major Michael Williamson was awarded runner up in his category for his business venture, Sentri Performance, at the finals of the University Start-Up World Cup, held Friday, October 7, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Williamson was competing in the Industry Tech and Robotics category, which includes manufacturing, assembly, packaging, transport and logistics, and more.
Williamson’s company designs and produces a line of waterproof, windproof hoodie-style sweatshirts for outdoor pursuits like snowboarding as well as day-to-day use. Sentri’s hoodies are specially designed by Williamson and incorporate highly technical fabric and features.
“The product we highlighted at the World Cup was our heated clothing line developed by myself and junior UP electrical engineering student Phillip Manalili-Simeon,” says Williamson. “We string razor thin, conductive fabric evenly throughout the body of the garment so it feels just like a normal piece of clothing.”
Sentri won the University of Portland Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation’s 2016 $100K Venture Competition in April, and was then chosen to compete as one of two university ventures representing the United States at the University Start Up World Cup. Stanford University was the only other U.S. school with a venture chosen to compete in the international event. The four-day competition featured 50 teams from more than 30 countries.
While Sentri’s main business goal is to produce garments that keep users warm and dry while remaining comfortable as well as stylish, Williamson points out that his company strives to do so in an ethical way by using manufacturers with clean and safe work environments. “We utilize two Oregon-based factories and I have personally visited our overseas manufacturers to ensure safety,” he says. “A Sentri hoodie can be used as a sweatshirt, rain jacket, and ski jacket. Because of this, customers can buy one garment instead of all three, cutting their carbon footprint.”
Williamson credits the University’s Entrepreneur Scholars program with playing a critical role in the founding of Sentri. “The program pushed me to think critically about not only where I wanted my company to go, but also how to shape the remainder of my career. I feel that I have a much better understanding of how to make ideas happen in business and elsewhere.”
“It was an amazing experience mentoring Michael last school year and again over the summer,” says Williamson’s business mentor, local entrepreneur Bill Gordon. “At this stage I am staying on as an outside advisor and am excited to see where Michael can take his new temperature control technology.”
For more information on the University Start-Up World Cup go to http://universityworldcup.com. To find out more about Sentri go to http://sentrisnow.com or contact the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation at 503.943.7782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.