Wharton EMBA Alumni Ventures Named “Startups to Watch”

Several Wharton executive MBA graduates are featured in the most recent issue of the Wharton Alumni Magazine. In “The 2014 Startups to Watch,” Nexercise cofounders Benjamin Young, WG’09, and Gregory Coleman, WG’09, and Graphene Frontiers cofounder Michael Patterson, WG’12, talk about how they launched their ventures during the EMBA program. Read an edited portion of the article below:


When Nexercise founders Benjamin Young and Gregory Coleman enrolled in the Wharton MBA for Executives Program in 2007, they commuted from Washington, D.C., had young children and worked full-time jobs. Exercise became less of a priority. Motivation would help and they sought to provide it.

Initially, they envisioned Nexercise as a service that would help people find exercise opportunities wherever they might be on their personal or business travels. Benjamin (now CEO) and Gregory (now COO), along with classmate Boomie Odumade, (now vice president of engineering) “baked” the idea through the three entrepreneurship-focused classes at the end of their second Wharton year.

Gregory Coleman, WG’09, cofounder of Nexercise.

Graphene Frontiers

Wharton alumnus Michael Patterson, WG’12, also launched a startup during his time in the executive MBA program. Now CEO of Graphene Frontiers, his company was born and currently lives in the Science Center in Philadelphia. It is poised to solve the one quandary holding graphene back from realizing its full potential: It is hard to produce in large quantities. Graphene Frontiers knows how to mass produce the stuff.

Michael and his cofounders launched Graphene Frontiers in 2011 through the special resources of Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer’s UPstart program, which both serves as a Penn business incubator and connects researchers with entrepreneurs—in this case Michael, who was then still in the MBA for Executives Program.

Michael Patterson, WG’12, cofounder of Graphene Frontiers.

To learn more about these startups, check out the full article, “The 2014 Startups to Watch” in the winter issue of the Wharton Alumni Magazine.

To read an article by Gregory Coleman in Entrepreneur.com about how life as an entrepreneur compares to life in the military, click here.