The student startup showcase presented:
- Mary Richardson, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Penn State York. Her company, Bindr, is an all-inclusive dating app that provides a safe online space for bisexual people.
- Justin Leusner, a junior pursuing a degree in business innovation and entrepreneurship from Smeal College of Commerce. His company, TDAY Sports, offers sports content to Generation Z tailored to their interests and use of social platforms.
- Éric Léon, a senior Schreyer Specialist College student pursuing a double degree in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering from the College of Engineeringaccompanied by a certificate in humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship. His company, Chirp Alert, offers an innovative application providing reliable information in harsh African environments.
- Nolan Pye, a senior in the Schreyer Honors College pursuing a degree in computer engineering from the College of Engineering. His company, Preventi, offers a medication reminder app designed to simplify medication adherence and increase patient health education.
- Omar Rady, a computer science graduate from the College of Engineering. His company, OfferPilot, offers a solution to help students find and land entry-level positions, from creating a perfect, personalized resume to cover letters.
- Zoelie Rivera-Ocasio, doctoral student in soil sciences at the University College of Agricultural Sciences. Her company, Zoils and Pigments, makes earth-based paints using natural, non-toxic, eco-friendly ingredients and high-quality materials for artists and children.
- Anish Nangare, a junior pursuing a degree in enterprise technology integration from College of Information Sciences and Technology. His startup, Sage Art, is a platform created with the aim of helping young digital artists make a profit through their art.
- Khalid Jordan, a junior pursuing a business degree with a concentration in marketing Penn State Brandy Wine. His company, YozoraTs, is an anime t-shirt company.
The two-day event also included Venture Connection, a matching event between pre-matched entrepreneurs and venture capitalists based on industry and capital needs, among other key criteria.
The first day of the conference concluded with the Tech Tournament, a showcase of disruptive technologies and early-stage companies emerging from Penn State’s strong and diverse research enterprise. Eight competitors competed for a total of $45,000 in innovation prizes. The winners of the Tech Tournament were:
- First place ($25,000) was awarded to LionGlass, a family of patent-pending glass compositions that offers, for the first time, an alternative to standard soda-lime glass, reducing the carbon footprint of the glass industry. glass by more than 50%.
- Second place ($10,000) went to Opthalmize, a small biodegradable tear implant that gradually releases the anti-inflammatory drug Bromfenac over 30 days.
- The $10,000 People’s Choice Award went to Lightscline Data Reduction AI, which reduces sensor data analysis costs by up to 90% by teaching machines to focus on the 10% of important data.
Entrepreneurs and investors also had the opportunity to participate in several panel discussions throughout the two-day event, where they heard and learned about intellectual property and fundraising, among other hot topics .
After the student startup showcase, Read hosted a fireside chat with Dr. Karen Kim, recently named dean of the School of Medicine. They discussed new opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration across Penn State and the Commonwealth to drive technological and medical advancement.
The conference also included a keynote presentation from Philip Gaskin, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He shared the findings of the study “Access to capital for entrepreneurs: removing barriers”, a report highlighting the need to increase funding for companies led by marginalized founders.
The event concluded with a fireside chat between Eric Ewell, director of My Valley LaunchBox powered by Penn State Greater Alleghenyand Rodney Sampson, general partner of Fund 100 Black Angels & Allies. The two discussed Sampson’s impressive journey as one of three Black co-founders in the early 2000s whose high-growth tech startups raised more than $1 million in VC and venture capital and were subsequently acquired for eight figures.
To learn more about startups affiliated with Penn State, visit Startup Browser. To see more Penn State technologies in development, visit IP Browser. To find more entrepreneurial resources across the Commonwealth, visit Resource Browser.
About Invent Penn State
Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to drive economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State combines entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, start-up training and incubation, commercialization funding, and university/community/industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of transforming research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humanity.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.