Six student startups earn $50,000 President’s Buckeye Accelerator grants
Seed money will fund students’ entrepreneurial ventures
Six startup business ventures created by The Ohio State University undergraduate students have each received $50,000 through the second annual President’s Buckeye Accelerator.
The goal of the President’s Buckeye Accelerator is to help students who found startups to test their ideas in the marketplace while pursuing a degree, said Cheryl Turnbull, senior director of Ohio State’s Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship. The center, which administers the President’s Buckeye Accelerator, is a campus-wide hub for the development of startup ventures.
“At the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship, we provide services, capital, mentoring and leadership opportunities for our students, for alumni and for faculty to help them realize their dreams of company creation and bring their ideas to market, where they can have an impact on the world,” she said. “In partnership with our collaborators across campus, we strive to meet the needs of Buckeye innovators to make their business idea or service a reality.”
Students who were selected for the President’s Buckeye Accelerator through an application process completed six Boost Camp sessions in mid-March. Throughout Boost Camp, successful entrepreneurs in a variety of industries spoke to the students and provided insights on how to launch and sustain a business.
Eleven Boost Camp participants were selected to pitch their entrepreneurial ventures at the President’s Buckeye Accelerator finale on March 29 at the Ohio Union. A panel of six business professionals chose the six ventures that received funding: Deonna Barnett, managing consultant and CEO, Aventi Enterprises; Kristy Campbell, chief operating officer, Rev 1 Ventures; Josh Harrison, president, Improving-Ohio; Ryan Retcher, managing director, Loud Capital; and Adithya Ramaswami, co-founder of ParaWave, a drone company designed to assist first responders and one of the winning ventures in the first President’s Buckeye Accelerator cohort last year.
The six winning ventures in this year’s cohort are:
Artisen Textiles, which converts central Ohio artists’ paintings into throw pillows and other hotel room decorations.
Insider Viz, an application designed to help stock market investors maximize their returns.
ORAA (Operating Room Accessibility App), an application designed to streamline hospital operations and increase patient safety and satisfaction.
PROSscored Virtual Arena, a streaming network that will broadcast lesser-known collegiate sports and give patrons the ability to customize their viewing experiences with behind-the-scenes content.
SmileChild, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent infant mortality by providing educational materials to expectant parents.
Starry Night, a company that aims to increase access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for underserved kindergarten through 12th-grade students by offering mobile planetarium presentations to schools.
ORAA CEO Kalib Riddle said he and co-founders Thomas Hoffman and Rohan Suggala will use the President’s Buckeye Accelerator funding to hire Ohio State students to further develop the app, and for marketing and legal expenses.
“We want to streamline (hospital) communications and workflow to help more patients faster,” Riddle said. “We believe the presence of ORAA in the medical industry and around the world is critical to raising the bar for hospital efficiency and effectiveness on a global scale.”
PROSscored Virtual Arena co-founders Anne Gottwald and Amani Kimball-McKavish said they will use the funding to develop a curriculum to help their peers learn more about sports such as cheerleading that will be featured on the PROSscored network. They said they also plan to hire Ohio State students.
“We’re teaching students to have hands-on experience in sales and marketing and business planning and graphic design,” Gottwald said. “We also teach a course so we can grow this within the university to become a true enterprise.”
The other five ventures that were featured at the President’s Buckeye Accelerator finale were:
Aleph Innovations, a service designed to streamline the process of matching patients with physicians.
Be W.I.S.E. Initiative, a nonprofit organization that promotes STEM education for girls at the preschool and elementary levels.
MultiFusion, a manufacturer of aerospace materials to promote space exploration.
Vision2Health, a service designed to increase efficiency in medical coding and improve patient diagnoses.
Vocalize, a language interpretation service for medical providers and patients.
For more information about the President’s Buckeye Accelerator, visit Keenan.osu.edu/presidents-buckeye-accelerator.