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Ryan Mitchell, a 2011 Olin College graduate, was recently featured on Gizmodo for her company DrawTop. DrawTop turns the back of a laptop into a portable whiteboard with custom cut vinyl adhesives . The idea for DrawTop began as a project for a Real Products, Real Markets class at Olin. The class, taught by Lawrence Neeley, assistant professor of design and entrepreneurship, combines design with entrepreneurship. The project was to come up with a product idea, design it, develop it, market it, build it and ship it — all in just four weeks. Working with exchange students Gabriel Villenave and Christian Semmler, Mitchell came up with the idea to create whiteboards that would go on the backs of laptops, providing a creative outlet that combined technology with a more low-tech aspect. In just under two weeks more than 20 DrawTop products were sold, a huge success considering the time and material constraints of the class.
After graduating last May, Mitchell decided to formally launch the business and, along with her partner Erik Fogg, started DrawTop in September. By October, they were shipping ten to twenty orders a day, and as more orders flow in they are looking to expand as they hire more workers and establish a small office in Boston.
In addition to Gizmodo, DrawTop was featured on Thrillist Boston, Thrillist Seattle, TUAW and ZDNet, among many other blogs, and got over 5000 views from Reddit.com. "I have full confidence that Olin has provided me with the skills and confidence needed to drive DrawTop towards growth and success in the future," said Mitchell.