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Pages from periodiCALS: Silence is golden for Jacob Reisch ’14

When Jacob Reisch ’14 transferred to the Dyson School a year ago, he wasn’t really sure what he wanted to study. But a summer spent working for AeroFarms, a Marathon, N.Y.-based company commercializing aeroponic agriculture for urban applications, sparked his entrepreneurial spirit and led him to Professor Deborah Streeter, who helped turn his business dreams into reality.

“I’ve always been really impulsive. I see random, cool opportunities and kind of push the button and go,” Reisch said.

In January 2013, Reisch pushed the button to launch Party Headphones. The company provides multichannel wireless headphones for silent discos, an international trend allowing partygoers to listen at their own volume but dance together. Less than a year later, with help from Cornell’s eLab Incubator by Student Agencies, Party Headphones has hired several full-time contractors, shipped its products all over the country and worked with clients such as Nestle, Red Bull and MTV2. Streeter has been a huge resource, working with Reisch on solutions and helping him develop long-term relationships with alumni. That’s how he connected with Dave Pelletier ’72, CEO of Annalee Mobilitee Dolls, Inc., who now mentors Reisch and his sales team through weekly phone calls and has helped him navigate through challenges such as leading peers, negotiating international contracts and hiring.

This summer, the Geneva, N.Y. native ran Party Headphones while interning at another startup, Next Jump. Come fall, coursework began again, as did Reisch’s duties as adviser of Energy Corps at Cornell, a student organization promoting sustainability on campus, which he founded in 2012.

“Jake’s experience is such a great example of the leadership challenges start-ups run into—the micro-details—and a great example of how CALS students interested in business are envisioning new things and getting lots of exposure,” Streeter said.

To explore other stories from the new issue of periodiCALS, click here.

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