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Local

St. Charles East grad advances in Tech.Co's startup contest

St. Charles East High School graduate Thomas Ma, left, is pictured with members of his team. Ma founded Career Podium, which is a semifinalist in the Tech.Co Startup of the Year competition.
St. Charles East High School graduate Thomas Ma, left, is pictured with members of his team. Ma founded Career Podium, which is a semifinalist in the Tech.Co Startup of the Year competition.

ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles East High School graduate’s startup business is getting noticed.

Career Podium – an interactive platform that connects employers with passionate candidates – is one of 50 semifinalists in the Tech.Co Startup of the Year competition, founder Thomas Ma, 22, said, describing the news as exciting.

According to Tech.Co, the semifinalists were narrowed from 1,000 applications by a “whirlwind of judging and scoring and Reader’s Choice poll.” Career Podium faces competition from startups from such states as California and Pennsylvania as well as other countries, including England and Rwanda.

Is Ma nervous about the competition later this month?

“I would like to say no, but I’m going to prepare really hard and make sure we bring the trophy back home,” he said, adding he isn’t traveling to the Silicon Valley just to get a participation trophy.

In addition to preparing for the competition, Ma said the Career Podium team – Marc Demory, Steve Sullivan, Sharukh Hasan, Evan Ward and Justin Bowman – is focusing on piloting the platform.

Ma – who graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago in May and is the oldest of his team – has said he hopes others will benefit from the example he’s setting.

“We’re showing if you have an idea and go for it, good things can happen,” he said in August.

Visit www.careerpodium.com for information on Ma’s startup and www.tech.co for information on the Startup of the Year contest.

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