Spring 2013 New Venture Seed Grants

By Karli Thode The Office of Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The spring 2013 New Venture Seed Grants have been announced! All of the individuals were required to go through a competitive application process in which they presented their plans and proposals to a grant committee consisting of faculty and administrators. This spring, a total of sixteen proposals were selected to receive funding. Congratulations to these New Venture Grant recipients!

Tobi Durotoye ’13 and Raheem Polk ’13 received funding for Artifakt, a clothing line that provides unique, hand-made tee shirts and button ups. African fabrics and patterns are incorporated into all of their designs, creating versatile clothing styles that can be tailored to individual styles.  The two plan on forming a partnership with a charity in Nigeria that will receive a portion of Artifakt’s profits.

Louisa Robertson ’13, Hannah VanderWeide ’13, Molly Hentz ’13, and Kyle Sullivan ’13 received funding for Bridging the Gap, which offers convenience with specialty technology tutoring at personal locations.  Providing access to youthful college mentors, the venture provides personal assistance and sincere service for elderly individuals searching for a supportive learning environment.

MBA students, Walt Elder, Guy Groff, and Kanu Mitra received funding for e-Verdi, an internet-enabled kiosk that allows users to access e-commerce sites and pay for any goods purchased with cash. These kiosks will bring e-commerce to people that previously had no opportunity to make such purchases while providing additional foot traffic for store owners and increasing the potential customers for e-commerce sites.

MBA students, Allen Shafer and Kevin Keller received funding for Fulton & Roark, a men’s premium grooming product company sold through men’s boutiques and department stores. The team plans to enter the market with a solid cologne, a format that is already growing in popularity with women, and build out with complementary products.

Gracious Addai ’13 received funding for Gracious LLC, a for-profit venture that will sell customized sneakers to sorority girls on campus for under $50. A fifth of the proceeds will be donated to Gracious Blessings, a non-profit which will donate 96% towards cancer research.

Jacob Martinez ’13, Kevin Tarsa ’13, and Rob Kelly ’13 received funding for Latinos Empowered by Academic Development (LEAD), a mentorship program that pairs Wake Forest University sophomores with Latino high school sophomores for three years, until graduation. Its aim is to encourage motivated Latino students to pursue higher education by educating them about the college process, providing them with SAT/ACT preparation, and pushing them to reach their potential.

Sathya Williams ’15, Nikolai Hlebowitsh ’15, and Jacob Larsen ’15 received funding for Martial Arts Total Training System (MATTS), an innovative technological device that will revolutionize martial arts training, attract children and others to the sport, and help facilitate character development in children and adults.

Ja’Keena Dillard ’16 and Nur Azre Abdul Aziz ’16 received funding for Note-ster, a technological device that can substitute papers, traditional notebooks, and folders by integrating this device with different educational systems. The device aims to lessen the heavy amount of textbooks, notebooks, and papers by assembling everything to one device, and thus, transforming the note-taking, note-keeping, and note-organizing experiences.

MBA student Lauren Reavis and  partner Karen Boyles received funding for RenCare Technologies, Incorporated, an existing company  currently working to launch an internet-based software program, CareCheck. CareCheck was developed to provide and internet-hosted solution for Licensed Healthcare Provider Support (LHPS) documentation and a platform for resident data management for assisted living facilities.

Deven Griffin ’13 received funding for SinkPositive, a product that transforms your existing toilet lid into a sink. When the toilet is flushed, the clean water that would normally refill the tank is instead re-routed through the SinkPositive faucet. That water is then used for hand washing, and the soapy water drains into the toilet bowl.

Ryan Daly ’13, Matt Crismond ’15, and Mike Tantum ’14 received funding for Sun Tape, an easy-to-use, low cost solution for determining the photovoltaic and solar heating potential of a local home, business, or public environment. The product comes with a standardized scale, allowing easy correlation between observed color and the amount of energy absorbed in the given time period. This allows the user to gauge which local environments are optimal for solar panels in terms of both power production and cost effectiveness.

Divinity student Mamie Murphy received funding for The Acacia Center, a venture designed to provide life coaching and spiritual formations in order to teach clients personal wellness. Through this program, clients will learn life-long skills that will enable them to find balance and fulfillment for their future.

Jonathan Williams ’13 received funding for The Rural Entrepreneurship Lab which will serve as an institute for the advancement of rural entrepreneurship through focused study and creative applications of research to establish best practices for cultivating entrepreneurial behavior in rural America.

Graduate students Kimberly Dryden and Austin Smith received funding for Walls Talk, a multi-media website focused on street art that explores the social and political issues motivating the artists, ultimately engaging artists and the public through discourse and education.

David Hughes ’15 and Emily Hudspeth ‘14 received funding for Wake Engineering Cooperative (W.E. co), a software company that seeks to provide Wake Forest students with generated websites and software built by students.