Spring 2012 New Venture Seed Grants Awarded

By Karli Thode The Office of Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The spring 2012 new venture seed grants have been announced! All of the individuals were required to go through an application process in which they presented their innovative plans and proposals to the Grant Committee. This spring, a total of twelve new ventures received seed funding. Congratulations to all of the spring 2012 New Venture Seed Grant recipients!

MenuMaster: Juniors Tristan Allen and Justin Boice are developing a smartphone application that gives customers the ability to visit menus and purchase meals from various local restaurants and delis directly from their phones. In this smartphone application, the team plans to compile a variety of different menus from different restaurants/delis for customers to choose from, along with detailed nutritional information on all of the meals that they can purchase.

Children at Play Promotions: Communication major, Spurge Carter, ’14, has developed a live musical promotion company that is focused on bringing in known musical artists to create all-age events for the Winston-Salem youth.  The purpose of this company is to establish an authentic, yet safe, nightlife that can be accessed by all members of the Winston-Salem community. Carter envisions hosting low-cost events at a local Winston-Salem venue to start building the brand of Children at Play.  

Nutrition Educational Fund: Casey Eichner ’14, Landon Ridder ’14, Matthew Chinn ’14, and William Robinson ’14, are the founders of the Nutrition Educational Fund, a non-profit charity that will provide underprivileged students in the Philippines the opportunity to go to college and seek a higher education. The team plans to spread awareness of Nutrition Educational Fund to the local community, and eventually throughout the country by hosting charity fundraising events and selling a variety of merchandise branded with their logo.

Object Downloads: Nicholas Lepley and Greg Smith, both graduate students in the Physics Department, along with Lee Bailey, a graduate student in the Computer Science Department, are working on a new venture that leverages 3D printing technology to create customized objects.

Digital Alternative Children’s Literature: Dean Guerra ’13, Connor Johnson ’13, Amy Gardin ’12, and Ashley Millhouse ’12 are developing a new venture that will provide individual, customized children’s literatures that can address the various family dynamics that exist outside of a traditional, nuclear family structure. The team aims to create a website with multifaceted software that will provide the templates for children’s books for different types of family structures.

Together Life: Hannah Moredock ’13, Ricky Bierbower ‘12, Danny Anghel ’12, Gavin Britz ’12, and Jay Coble ’12 are working on creating a non-profit, social networking website which focuses on creating virtual and real-world community for hospital patients living with a chronic or life-limiting illness. Together Life will also partner with local businesses to give patients an affordable way to interact with the local community through group discounting.  

Startzee: Johanna Kilbride, ’12, and Christine Morrison, ’12, are working on developing an online art gallery that connects student artists with young art collectors. Startzee takes the artwork of student artists and sells it to those who wish to start collecting. Many are under the impression that art collecting is solely reserved for those with the extra money to do so. Startzee makes art collecting fun and accessible to all—providing a convenient, one-stop shop for buying unique and affordable art. The site will allow customers to choose from hundreds of student works and receive an original piece, pre-framed and ready to hang on the wall, for a low cost.

RED Group: Cynthia Redwine, a full-time student in the MBA program, and Jeff Redwine are working on developing a new venture that provides solar design and integration services to sustainably meet Piedmont Triad poultry farmers’ energy needs. Additionally, the team plans to educate consumers about solar as a clean and sustainable energy source through free community based training sessions. The team also hopes to facilitate access to incentives and rebates to ensure consumers adopt solar as an electronically sound alternative.

CloudConnect: Economics major Joseph Sciarrino, ’12, has recently launched CloudConnect, which could change the future of address books.  His new venture gives users the ability to search for a friend’s contact data through their mobile phone. CloudConnect’s mission is to launch digital ‘white pages’ for cell phone numbers as consumers transition, en masse, from landlines to smartphones. CloudConnect also allows users to update their information to all of their contacts easily while controlling how much information to give out.

DeaconVend: Paige Beaumont ‘12, Mary Katherine Callaway ’12, Alex Gromer ’15, Katie Wainwright ’12, and Hannah Whitaker ’12 have developed a venture that is committed to providing 24-hour convenience to Wake Forest students through a vending machine stocked with office supplies, non-perishables, and other sundries. Placement in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library will aid in student efficiency and productivity.

The Drop Media LLC: Sophomores Rohan Wijegoonaratna and Andrew Walsh are working to film a documentary about the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) industry to be sold to MTV and other networks. The Drop Media LLC, an existing business, has linked up with OneBeat, a media company with ties to major television stations such as MTV. The concept of the program is to provide viewers with behind-the-scene access to the lives of these artists and DJ’s.

Students Helping Students: Philosophy major William Zandi, ’13, founded Students Helping Students (STS), a non-profit organization that reallocates educational supplies and furnishings between affluent and hard-pressed educational institutions, ranging initially from grades K-12. Zandi founded STS in 2005 for the purpose of helping Louisiana schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The organization’s mission is to recycle school furnishings, equipment, books, and classroom materials from schools with excess supplies to schools in need.