Grouphug founder and Georgia Tech Alum Krystal Persaud appeared on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank.

Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Grouphug founder and Georgia Tech alum Krystal Persaud appeared on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank.

Persaud is a graduate of the School of Industrial Design and has taken the humanistic problem-solving strengths learned through the program to create her company, Grouphug. As a hybrid educator, designer, and creative technologist, Persaud has a unique multidisciplinary approach to inventing beautifully designed objects that truly solve a problem.

Grouphug, a solar company making ridiculously good-looking solar panels in custom shapes and sizes, is competing for investors in the popular show Shark Tank. In June 2019, Grouphug raised over $70,000 on Kickstarter to bring its first product, the Window Solar Charger, to life. The Window Solar Charger enables individuals to harvest energy from their window and charge their mobile devices off the grid. For those who rent or can’t install solar panels on their roof, this is a first step into adopting renewable energy.

“For the first time, people don’t have to choose between utility and aesthetics in solar energy. We can’t wait to tell our story,” says Persaud.

Pitching on Shark Tank gives the company a chance to bring the conversation about solar energy to a wider audience. A Shark Tank deal would enable the company to grow and form partnerships with leading solar installers to create thousands of creatively shaped solar panels across the country.

Header Image Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

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Alumni Engagement

Our alumni continue to engage our students and faculty, providing industry insight and the kind of perspective that allows the School to stay on the forefront of design and technology. The most valuable lessons we learn from our alumni involve the degree to which the design industry is integrating into other industries like healthcare, textiles, computing, and manufacturing.

This unique, collaborative aspect of design is at the forefront of our programs, like the Innovation & Design Collaborative and the Interactive Product Design Laboratory.

In addition to supporting the school, one of our alums, James L. Oliver, II (BSID 1965, ME 1967), endowed a dedicated faculty position to give ID students an education that will truly prepare them for the outside world. (We're not part of the "North Avenue Trade School" by mistake!)

Alumni and Careers

Jasmine BurtonDesign Entrepreneur

2014 graduate and entrepreneur Jasmine Burton and her team won Tech’s InVenture Prize with their design of an inexpensive, portable toilet called SafiChoo. Jasmine works in Africa to further development of SafiChoo and work on water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure initiatives.



Stephen KennedyInteraction Designer/Urban Planner

Stephen Kennedy, class of 2009, is an interaction designer and urban planner for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., and currently works at IDEO. He has designed the first bus map of Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Chung Youl YooDesign Business Owner

Chung Youl Yoo graduated in 1987 and earned his master's degree in 1997. He is a partner and managing director at Lorenc+Yoo Design and works in Experiential Graphic Design. He has designed a visitor center for Heritage Hall at the Mayo Clinic.



Amanda Whitley EdwardsGift Designer

Amanda Whitley Edwards works as an industrial designer for Mud Pie, an Atlanta-based giftware company. She graduated in 2007 and now designs plush toys, ceramics (such as piggy banks), photo frames, packaging, and infant and children's apparel.



Paul BowmanHumanitarian Designer

Paul Bowman, class of 1999, founded Design Samaritan to help others and save valuable resources from the landfill. As a humanitarian design entrepreneur, he finds and refurbishes furniture, and for each piece that is sold, furniture is donated to a family transitioning out of homelessness and into a home of their own.


Erica KnightCorporate Industrial Designer

Erica Knight graduated in 2006 and has worked with a variety of projects, including tools, children's and pet products, indoor and outdoor furniture, and holiday decor. She currently works as a corporate industrial designer at Home Depot, where she designs decorative hardware products and garden accessories.


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