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Research Communications

Innovation Engine Accelerator announces participants for summer 2013 digital media program 

Entrepreneurs will access mentors, professional networks and up to $20,000 in startup funding

ATHENS, Ohio (June 17, 2013)—The Innovation Engine Accelerator has accepted six digital media startups into an intensive 12-week  summer program designed to advance entrepreneurship in Ohio. The second annual program began on May 28 and runs through Aug. 16 at Ohio University’s Innovation Center in Athens.

The selected startups are eligible to receive up to $20,000 in funding from the program. Participants will refine their business models and products, receive expert entrepreneurial coaching and advice and have the opportunity to pitch their startups to investors at the end of the summer.

“The applicant pool was very strong this year, and our independent panel had a difficult time selecting the finalists,” said Jennifer Simon, director of the Innovation Center. “I believe that this is a result of Ohio University’s strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and a cultural shift in the community toward entrepreneurship.”

The companies include Ohio University students and recent alumni, as well as participants from West Virginia. The six startups are:

•    AccessAble Travel aspires to develop services and online tools that provide information, user-based reviews and ratings of hotels, airlines, tourist destinations, public attractions and car rental companies for people with physical disabilities. Founders Ben Weiner, Frances Weiner Ryan Cox and Alex Bill hope to create better U.S. travel experiences for those with special needs, eventually expanding internationally.

•    Foleeo is an online portfolio management service for business professionals, companies and organizations seeking to upload collateral work experience, talents and skills onto a single site. Founders Lillie Ranney and Heather Gruda plan to revolutionize how people market themselves and how companies recruit talent.

•    Razor Dynamics seeks to improve everyday experiences and navigation for mobile devices through an augmented reality interface. Founders Christian "Rico" Sagardia and Gary Grant hope that their product can complement existing platforms such as Google Glass and serve the military and civilian geographic tracking market.

•    Atlas Language Innovations is developing an educational video game to teach languages, including Arabic. Founders Samuel Bockoven and Sergio "Tony" Gonzalez plan to launch the startup’s flagship game, Voyage, in August for PC and Mac.

•    MyCampus is a social mobile marketplace that gives college students the ability to buy and sell items such as tickets, textbooks and furniture to other students via mobile phones. Founders Brian Adams and Chelsea Browne are creating a technology with in-app messaging and a mobile payment system to optimize efficiency and safety.

•    Lydria aims to create the next information delivery system for applications ranging from education to business and events. Founders Matt Spolar, Sam Pattantyus and Daniel Williams hope to create a simplistic user interface design to foster communication with one simple, easy and universal product.

(Click here for more details on each participant.)

Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship (administered by the College of Business and the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs) is providing intense Lean Launch curriculum, based on Stanford University’s successful model for startups, as well as experienced venture capital advisors to participants. Startups may use 1,000 sq. ft. of creative shared space with pods for each business and can access conference rooms, equipment and software.

Dozens of mentors—startup entrepreneurs; seed, angel and  venture investors; C-level industry executives; technical specialists; professional service providers and venture development executives—will provide intensive business coaching to the startups. The program offers no or low-cost legal assistance through its attorney-in-residence partner Bricker & Eckler for easy company formation.

The Innovation Engine Accelerator is part of a series of initiatives designed to address the surge of digital media entrepreneurs emerging from Ohio University and throughout Ohio. More details about the program are available at www.innovationengineaccelerator.com.

Program sponsors include TechGROWTH Ohio (a public/private partnership administered by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs), WesBanco, Athenian Ventures, CreMedia, IMGUR, Ohio University’s Innovation Center, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity, Center for Entrepreneurship, Scripps College of Communication, Russ College of Engineering and Technology and College of Arts and Sciences.

Contacts: Jennifer Simon, (740) 593-1803, simonj@ohio.edu; Lynn Gellermann, (740) 597-1722, gellerml@ohio.edu; Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu.