KENNESAW, Ga. (June 22, 2021) – Six innovative technology startups made up of students and alumni of Kennesaw state are now one step closer to thousands of dollars in funding, after clearing the first milestone of the Igniting New Companies (INC. ) of the University.
With the support of the Mookerji Innovation Fund, a $ 120,000 gift to Kennesaw State by technology entrepreneurs Sid and Sophie Mookerji, the INC invites students and alumni from across the University to apply for help for the financing and development of their technology-based businesses. Young entrepreneurs who surpass the milestone include business software developers, data scientists, video game designers, and social media experts.
“The companies identified for the first cohort of the Mookerji Innovation Fund are based on highly innovative ideas that have a chance to have a real impact,” Mookerji said. “The selection process and the quality of the mentors were top notch. I am very pleased with the results and I look forward to seeing the impact that Mookerji Innovation Fund grants will have on the growth trajectories of these startups.”
Each of the six companies received $ 2,500 and will continue to work with the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center in Kennesaw State to grow their business. The RDSEC plans to advance twelve technology companies using a real-world continuous accelerator model. The Advisory Board of the Entrepreneurship Center assesses companies based on the individual motivations of the participants, the potential of their concept and their current momentum.
All advanced projects focus on finding high-tech solutions to the problems that consumers, businesses and other organizations face on a daily basis. For Apex Innovations, a software company made up of three alumni of Kennesaw State’s computer game design and development program, this problem is the high cost of training employees in heavy machinery such as forklifts and commercial refrigerators.
“Traditional training requires scheduling workshops, teachers and catering,” said founder and CEO Brennan Vitek, who graduated from the state of Kennesaw in 2020. “If your business employs more than 200 people a year, when you include hotel nights, catering, plane tickets, tuition fees and student salaries, which add up quickly. ”
Vitek and business partners Meg’n Mullikin and Jacob Jennings developed virtual reality software that companies can use to train new employees on complex machinery in a virtual environment without the costs and security issues of on-site training. They took advantage of their experience as game design students.
“Game development skills can be used for much more than your traditional Xbox game,” Vitek said. “The same programming that is done in Mario games goes to our virtual reality simulations. It’s almost a 1: 1 process. Video games are fun and there’s no reason why job education isn’t fun either. ”
Apex Innovations already has a contract to design simulations for Lanier Technical College’s ammonia cooling program. They will use their first round of INC funding to purchase additional RV headphones.
The following business companies also believe in the first goal of the INC:
Qixuan Hou: KSU student, graduate in fine arts
Feiyang Qu – KSU Alumni, Master in Computer Science
Through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing, Insights is a platform for connecting universities that have product or service patents with companies to help market those patents.
Sean Feeser – KSU Alumni, program development and computer games
A game design studio that develops a vertical shift, a motion-based VR eSport. Leveraging the growth of VR and eSports, Vertical Shift will allow large groups of friends to play together and provide revenue through the game’s selling price, in-game purchases, and in-game advertising.
Chase Watts – KSU Alumni, Entrepreneurship
TopLayer is a business resource planning system for construction companies that will help them better manage the different parts of their business. The subscription-based system includes accounting modules, asset management, business management, estimation and project management.
Ryan Bishop – KSU Alumni, Information Systems
SweetRoll is a cloud-based platform that enables small businesses to automate much of their social media management and facilitates the shift between organic and paid social media marketing.
Joey Ruse – KSU Alumni, Entrepreneurship
Recognizing that the average educator uses at least three separate technology platforms to offer critiques of their students ’creative works, Creative Critique combines the best features of the best design collaboration software tools into a single product.
Although the Entrepreneurship Center that oversees the program is located within the Michael J. Coles College of Business, all INC participants come from different academic backgrounds. According to RDSEC CEO Greg Quinet, this was by design.
“The Mookerji Innovation Fund and the INC mean the center focuses on business execution,” Quinet said. “It establishes an action-oriented program for KSU cross-curricular students and graduates to experience start-up operations while receiving early-stage funding support, business and industrial advice, and real business start-up experiences.”
For the six businesses moving forward, the owners will continue to work with the RDSEC to help bring their ideas to market. The center will also provide additional funding based on milestones that vary according to each company’s model and goals.
“We are very excited to see the impact this program will have on these entrepreneurs and how it will accelerate their businesses,” Quinet said. “We are proud of all the progress they have made.”
– Patrick Harbin
A leader in innovation in teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers nearly 41,000 students in nearly 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. With 11 universities on two Atlanta subway campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second largest university in the state. The vibrant culture of the university campus, the diversity of the population, the strong global ties and the entrepreneurial spirit attract students from all over the region and from 126 countries around the world. The state of Kennesaw is a doctoral research institution (R2) designated by Carnegie, which places it among an elite group that has only 6% of U.S. universities and colleges with R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.