The story of Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson, both alumni of the University of Arizona (Class of ’96 and ’99 respectively), is one that intertwines entrepreneurial excellence with a heartfelt desire to give back to their community and alma mater.

Forbes

The story of Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson, both alumni of the University of Arizona (Class of ’96 and ’99 respectively), is one that intertwines entrepreneurial excellence with a heartfelt desire to give back to their community and alma mater. Their deep love for the university and passion for entrepreneurship led them down a path that would redefine how a business can be both lucrative and socially responsible.

From Wildcats to Business Titans

Meeting as undergrads at the University of Arizona, Cohen and Johnson fostered a connection and shared ambition that would lead them to create Byte, a revolutionary company that produces invisible orthodontic aligners. Their entrepreneurial spirit was put to the test when they launched Byte the same year the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe.

Faced with economic uncertainty and an emerging healthcare crisis, they saw an opportunity to make a difference. Rather than retracting or freezing their business operations, they expanded their mission to include teledentistry, offering it free of charge to those in need. Furthermore, they adapted their 3D printers to create face shields for hospitals experiencing shortages.

Success, Philanthropy, and Education

This bold and empathetic approach did not hinder their success. In fact, by the end of 2020, Byte was sold for over $1 billion in cash. Forbes even acknowledged their rapid achievement by highlighting them as one of the greatest direct-to-consumer success stories of the century.

Yet, what truly sets Cohen and Johnson apart is their dedication to philanthropy. “They go hand in hand, in our perspective,” Cohen remarks about the connection between business and giving back. Their focus extends to education, poverty alleviation, health, and community, with a special emphasis on their beloved University of Arizona.

Both entrepreneurs have established endowed student scholarships at UArizona. Johnson’s scholarship aims to support Eagle Scouts with financial need and academic merit, while Cohen’s is designed for high-achieving students with a keen interest in entrepreneurship across various disciplines.

A Vision for the Future

For Cohen and Johnson, the ability to lift others up and make a tangible difference in their lives is a source of tremendous joy. They envision a future where their scholarship recipients graduate from the University of Arizona, ready and empowered to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams.

“Supporting the university and incoming kids is super important,” Cohen emphasizes, encapsulating their shared mission. It’s not just about providing financial assistance; it’s about nurturing the next generation of innovators, leaders, and changemakers.

The story of Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson is a compelling testament to what can be achieved when entrepreneurial vision is paired with a generous spirit. Their journey from university undergrads to creators of a billion-dollar company is inspiring. But what truly resonates is their unwavering commitment to enriching the lives of others, whether through innovative healthcare solutions or educational empowerment.

As proud Wildcats, they have forged a legacy that transcends business success. It’s a legacy that echoes the values of community, empathy, innovation, and education. It’s a legacy that continues to inspire the University of Arizona community and reminds us all that success and compassion can, indeed, go hand in hand.

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