Alumnus finds success in innovation at UW-Platteville, now supports others

Recent graduate Caleb Dykema is taking the experiences in innovation he found at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and inspiring others to achieve the same through his new podcast, Just the Bulb.

Dykema graduated in December 2019 with a degree in mechanical engineering and now works as a product engineer. As a student, he took full advantage of all of the resources offered at UW-Platteville to help students develop entrepreneurial ideas, particularly those offered in collaboration with WiSys, which honored him with the 2019 Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year Award.

“UW-Platteville, and university campuses in general, are built around innovation and they have so many resources to allow students to pursue their ideas, such as all the free software, the maker spaces, the network of like-minded individuals, and the professors and mentors who are often just an email away,” said Dykema. “WiSys has played a huge role in my success as well and we are still working together.”

As a junior, Dykema worked with WiSys to develop a business idea that earned him a number of recognitions. His “1Swipe” product is a full white or blackboard eraser that can be automatically pushed across to erase everything on the board, saving professors time and eliminating distractions in the classroom. WiSys has assisted Dykema with filing a patent and creating marketing materials for 1Swipe.

Now, Dykema is ready to share the lessons he has learned in developing a business idea with others.

“Just the Bulb podcast focuses on young and aspiring entrepreneurs who have an app/product/service/business idea in their head but they either have not started working on it yet or they are in the very early stages,” said Dykema. “I'm heartbroken every time someone tells me about an idea they have but they never have taken action on it, and I want to change that by sharing my experiences, resources and motivation along with bringing on younger or new entrepreneurs with starting or small companies to share their advice and insight.”

Dykema said he was motivated to start his podcast after hearing that so many others had ideas, but didn’t know where to begin.

“Throughout my college career, and still to this day, I hear people tell me an awesome idea they have, yet when I ask them what they've done to pursue it, they say nothing,” said Dykema. “Often they don't know where to start, think they lack the resources, or they aren't motivated. I want to fix all those problems for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Dykema said if he could give just one piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, it would be to start with their “why.”

“What I mean by this, is figure out the answer to the question ‘Why are you pursuing this idea?’” he said. “Maybe you want to make an app that helps people get up in the morning and your ‘why’ is that you've struggled to wake up in the past, you've been late for school or work, and you don't want it to happen to other people. Maybe your ‘why’ is that you want to be your own boss and you want to start your own company. If you are like me, and many others, the answer to the ‘why?’ question will push you to pursue and will keep you motivated like nothing else.”

Learn more about Dykema’s podcast at