Outstanding Alumni – Kelsey Maloney

Entrepreneurship has a way of leading you to your true purpose. For Kelsey Maloney, her purpose was found in West Farms, Bronx, New York City.

Before graduating from Miami University in 2017, Kelsey studied journalism, entrepreneurship, and anthropology. She held several leadership roles in the Miami community and served as a teaching assistant for the Institute for Entrepreneurship’s own Dr. Jim Friedman. It was her time as a TA that she first began to realize her purpose in life.

Kelsey soon became passionate about education and the student experience. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of students, and it wasn’t long until she discovered where she could do that, and more.

Teach for America is a non-profit organization that mobilizes promising and passionate educators to teach in low-income and disadvantaged schools for the mission of achieving educational equity. It was there Kelsey felt she truly belonged. In an organization that doesn’t just teach, it strives to change the status quo.

Now in her second year with Teach for America, Kelsey teaches in a low-income, West Farms preschool. But she isn’t just a teacher. She is an entrepreneur as well.

“As a teacher, especially in a school with limited staff and resources, you learn a lot about being scrappy, using creative problem solving, and understanding failure. The education system is not set up in a way where every student can thrive, so you need to learn how to be responsive and adaptive to each student who walks into the classroom to provide them with an equal opportunity to succeed.”

In an unpredictable learning environment, trial and error is a constant and never-ending process. Kelsey has had her share of failures as a result. But it is the occurrence of, and learning process from those failures that make the victories so sweet.

“In my first year of teaching, I had nine students who came in on the first day of school not knowing any English. As a teacher who did not know any Spanish, I thought to myself, ‘How am I going to get them ready for kindergarten?’ It was through a lot of creative problem-solving and a little bit of Spanish that I was able to help them get to a point where they could speak English. It was amazing to look back at the end of the year and see how far they had come.”

For the aspiring entrepreneurs at Miami University, she had one piece of advice:

“Whether you go into finance or fashion or consulting, the experiences, mindset, and goals you gain from your time with the entrepreneurship department can be transferred to your career.”

Just like it did for Kelsey, your journey through entrepreneurship could lead you to your true purpose. Take advantage of what you learn today because, you never know, those skills could help you change the world one day.

Meet Cameron Cummins – Advisory Board Spotlight

We continue to highlight our 2018-2019 Advisory Board this week with a spotlight on another one of the influential board members, Cameron Cummins.

Cummins got his start at Miami University’s own Farmer School of Business, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance. Yet this was just the beginning.

Since graduating from Miami, Cummins’s entrepreneurial spirit has blossomed. He is now founder and CEO at inHOUSE Marketing, a results-oriented marketing firm that specializes in the franchising, automotive, and adult beverage sectors, and co-founder and CEO at Pivotal Growth Partners, a holding company growth platform focusing on accelerating small, emerging brands to scale for private equity.

Previously, he also served as Chief Development Officer at Marco’s Pizza. During his time there, he oversaw a development team that opened and sold over 750+ stores.

We welcome Cameron Cummins to the Advisory Board and look forward to what he can help the Institute accomplish as a seasoned founder, CEO, and entrepreneur.

Meet Amy Altman – Advisory Board Spotlight

This year, a new Advisory Board was welcomed to the Institute of Entrepreneurship. Among the ranks of the amazing Miami alumni and influential leaders in entrepreneurship on the board is Amy Altman, Chief Operating Officer at Reliant Immune Diagnostics and President of the John W. Altman Charitable Foundation.

With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Microbiology from Miami University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University, Altman was bound to make waves in the medical industry from the beginning. Before joining Reliant, Altman spent ten years at the Austin-based biotechnology engineering company, Luminex Corporation, serving as Vice President for Biodefense and Protein Diagnostics until 2017. The Corporation specializes in developing, marketing, and manufacturing proprietary biological testing technologies.

She is now COO at Austin-based Reliant Immune Diagnostics, which markets a complete consumer-driven health platform that provides testing, diagnosing, and monitoring solutions that include a suite of diagnostic tests, AI-driven diagnostic tools, and personal health data tracking. In addition to her work in this new position, Altman is also President of the John W. Altman Charitable Foundation.

Altman Summer Scholars Spotlight

By: Katie Pauly

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at Narrative Science, a Chicago-based Artificial Intelligence company specializing in translating data into stories. I was able to be a part of this program as an Altman Summer Scholar, and the experience as a whole was not only valuable, but it was also incredibly unique.

As part of the Summer Scholar program, I was able to intern in Chicago while taking an Entrepreneurship class designed to supplement my internship. This class included weekly logs, a final portfolio, a networking assignment, and four host-company visits. What I liked most about the class was the ability to receive my professor’s feedback in areas of the internship where I was either uncertain about what to do or how to go about doing it. The class was designed to make the most out of each student’s internship, and I really appreciated the freedom to prioritize my schedule based on what made most sense for my specific internship. Another aspect of the class that was unique was the ability to go visit four separate companies outside of Narrative Science in order to learn more about Chicago’s entrepreneurial scene. We visited companies such as RedShelf and Rxbar, and we even had the opportunity to sit down with CEOs, COOs, and multiple other Miami Alumni to ask questions, get advice, and learn about different business models.

More than anything, however, the Altman Summer Scholar program allowed me to intern at Narrative Science, where I able to work on competitive intel for the company, cross-team strategies, the blog, and product portfolio positioning. Throughout my eleven weeks at there, I worked with truly intelligent, driven, and ambitious people, learned to love a start-up environment, and experienced what it is like to work with people who are truly passionate about the problem they are trying to solve.

The program overall and the company itself combined to give me an unforgettable summer where I feel as though I was actually able to make a positive impact on Narrative Science, and I’m excited to bring new ideas, strategies, and processes back with me to Miami and beyond.

-Katie Pauly, Senior English Literature Major and ESP Co-Major

Spotlight on Creativity and Innovation

2018 is a big year for the Creativity & Innovation Team in the Institute for Entrepreneurship. We have new workshops, new professors and new campus-wide activities. Creativity & Innovation has devoted this year to design new ways for students to creatively change their lives, their careers and the world.

CENTER FOR CREATIVITY & INNOVATION: We know one thing: creative thinking is a vital skill to be taught. This is the mission of the Miami University Center for Creativity & Innovation. The Center’s goal is to explode creative learning across campus. Through resources, new events and tool-teaching, we achieve just that. We believe creative thinking goes into everything you do, from housework to big work projects. We want all of campus to know they have the power to think bigger, and the Center is leading the way and making waves.

IGOODEA: Do people actually use creativity every day? We think so and so does the student creativity organization, Igoodea Creatives. Igoodea collaborates on problems, hosts activities and designs experiences that help grow creative skills. They’re offering workshops in design thinking, improv with insights from leading creatives. It’s not all talk, either. Igoodea works with real clients and makes big things happen on campus, including the annual Creativity City in April. What is Creativity City? Check it out here. Wanna get involved?  Connect with Maryanne Smith at maryannesmithsemail@miamioh.edu

INTERNSHIPS: Oxford is nice, but our students take their talents to places like San Francisco, Chicago and NYC for incredible summer Innovation internships. They’re using their creativity knowledge to make big things happen at leading agencies, growing tech startups and large companies. Using creative chops, they contribute right off the bat to think differently, take calculated risks and thrive in ambiguity. By the end, our students provide real value, receive offers for full time employment and bring new tools they learned back to the classroom.

NEW FACULTY: Teaching creativity is here to stay, and because of that, our team has grown.  The Institute has added two new professors of Creativity & Innovation as a part of the First Year Integrated Core. They will join the team of other Creativity & Innovation professors to teach ESP 103, Creativity and the Entrepreneurial Mindset. We’ll share more about JL Zoeckler and Jim Johnson soon but stop by FSB 1037 to introduce yourself.

HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER SCHOLARS: Who says learning creativity is just for college? When our students leave Oxford for their summer adventures, we keep the ball rolling with Miami’s High School Summer Scholars program. During this program, outstanding high school students spend two weeks with our Creative Iron Team, Friedman/Eyman, learning the meaning of being Entrepreneurial and using creative problem solving with a real-world client. Oh, and they do great work, too.

CREATIVITY SCHOLARS: Every year we welcome new Creativity Business Scholars into our program.  We won’t know the new recruits yet but we’re excited to welcome the new class. These students will have special access to Creativity & Innovation classes, co-circulars and experiences. They become our student leaders who get the Miami community excited about learning creativity and all it has to offer.

Wow! A lot of stuff, right? Itching to know more? We want to tell you. Wanna get involved? Stop by Jim Friedman’s office, FSB 2073 and schedule a time to chat. Or, email him at jim.friedman@miamioh.edu. We would love to welcome you into our world.

 

Miami University 2017-2018 Startup Pitch Competitions – Congratulations Spring 2018 Winners

In conjunction with the senior-level New Venture capstone course, the Institute for Entrepreneurship hosts the Miami University Startup Pitch Competition at the conclusion of each semester in which student-led startup teams pitch their startup ideas to more than 50 judges in a format similar to the Demo Day that startup accelerators hold to introduce cohorts that graduate from their programs.

Over the past four years, hundreds of Miami University undergraduates have pitched more than 100 student-led startups to angel investors, venture capital and private equity investors, founders of funded startups, corporate executives, and other members of the startup ecosystem from Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Five student-led startups have landed spots in technology accelerators—OROS Apparel (The Brandery) and Devoo (OCEAN Accelerator) in Cincinnati, Nomful (DreamIt Ventures) in Baltimore, Apex Sports (UpTech) in Covington, and Swivel Ventures (Queen City Fintech) in Charlotte. Collectively, startups that have participated in the Miami University Startup Pitch Competition have raised more than $7M in seed and early-stage funding.

Below are the top three startups from the Startup Pitch Competition at the conclusion of the spring semester:

#1 – Retooled is a new approach to purchasing and selling used tools to mechanics who are unable to afford expensive new tools.   Research indicates that mechanics may spend up to $50,000 on tools during their career.  It is also noted that a “new” tool becomes a “used” tool the first moment it is “used.”   Mechanics will purchase used tools; the only issue is to find them.   Retooled will acquire inventory, build a data base with important information about each tool, and will sell tools at residual market value.      The “Retooled” team is: 

  • Lucas Cowell
  • Nathan Stegner
  • Francisco Gomez
  • Thomas Flocco

#2 – Stella is a product focused on the millions of consumers that bring their breakfast and/or lunch to work.   It answers the problem “how can scrambled eggs fixed at home remain hot enough to eat two hours later in the office.”   With its “air fan” technology, the well-designed, highly safe plastic containers will keep up to 12 ounces of food warm for four to six hours.   The product will be marketed similarly as Tupperware and will be priced from $30-35.00 per unit.   The “Stella” team is:

  • Pravali Kothakota
  • Elayne Pruckno
  • Kaili Fuehrer

#3 – Dine-In addresses the market opportunity for cooking enthusiasts to sell their products to consumers looking for specialists to prepare food for parties, get togethers and family events.   Cooking enthusiasts are passionate about their craft and want to build a client base.   Dine-in is a web platform where Cooking Enthusiasts can create listings to sell their food and/or services directly to consumers within the same geographic area. Chefs will come to the consumer’s home and cook in the kitchen.  A rating/assessment system will be designed to allow chef feedback and information for future consumers.   The “Dine-In” team is:

  • Ben Sloneker
  • Brian Line
  • Chase Kluth
  • Jake Margolis

Congratulations to all of the Spring Teams!

 

In conjunction with the senior-level New Venture capstone course, the Institute for Entrepreneurship hosts the Miami University Startup Pitch Competition at the conclusion of each semester in which student-led startup teams pitch their startup ideas to more than 50 judges in a format similar to the Demo Day that startup accelerators hold to introduce cohorts that graduate from their programs.

Over the past four years, hundreds of Miami University undergraduates have pitched more than 100 student-led startups to angel investors, venture capital and private equity investors, founders of funded startups, corporate executives, and other members of the startup ecosystem from Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Five student-led startups have landed spots in technology accelerators—OROS Apparel (The Brandery) and Devoo (OCEAN Accelerator) in Cincinnati, Nomful (DreamIt Ventures) in Baltimore, Apex Sports (UpTech) in Covington, and Swivel Ventures (Queen City Fintech) in Charlotte. Collectively, startups that have participated in the Miami University Startup Pitch Competition have raised more than $7M in seed and early-stage funding.

Below are the top three startups from the Startup Pitch Competition at the conclusion of the fall semester:

In 1st Place: CarePrint 

According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Americans pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care, and in 2012, “the average American spent $9,596 on healthcare”, which was up significantly from $7,700 in 2007. This amount is more than twice the per capita average of other developed nations, while seeing the lowest life expectancy and some of the worst health outcomes among this group. Moreover, experts predict continued sharp increases in healthcare spending: Healthcare spending per person is expected to march steadily higher to $14,944 in 2023. The CarePrint platform targets the high percentage of the US population that suffer from spiraling health care costs due to chronic injuries or illnesses and addresses the cost management problem by providing the means to track medical and pharmaceutical spending/costs. This platform allows consumers/patients to compare/analyze out-of-pocket expenditures across similar demographic groups and includes a predictive solution to provide more cost-effective tests in diagnosing patient conditions.

Team members:

  • Patrick Eckland
  • Tuleeka Hazra
  • Bradley Koenig
  • Gus Ragland
  • Hunter Withers

In 2nd Place: In-Domus

In-Domus, which means “in home” in Latin, intends to revolutionize the way that individuals look their health. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “92% of U.S. residents say that it is important to get an annual physical, yet 62% actually get one.” In-Domus uses microfluidic technology infused with disease-detecting biomolecules infused within novel sensors (made up of a nano-metal-insulator-semiconductors) through a process originally developed by researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (in Onna, Japan) to detect some of the most important health vitals such as Glucose Levels (which can be used to detect Diabetes and Renal Glycosuria), UTI and the presence of protein/amino acids (indication of Kidney related problems) in urine through simple tests that can be carried out in customers’ homes. By integrating the data collection platform with a back-end data analysis and tracking platform, In-Domus can actively track, monitor, and analyze key health metrics, detect trends in specific metrics, and compare individual metrics to peer groups as well as the population as a whole.

Team members:

  • Samuel Gande
  • Manav Gulati
  • Alexander Puthumana
  • Ishaan Sardana

In 3rd Place: Fidarsi

Fidarsi, which means “trust” in Italian, provides “peace of mind for the dog people.” Forty-four percent of all U.S. households own a dog, the equivalent of 60.2 million homes, and annually dog owners spend more than $66 billion dollars on their “beloved” animals—$322 million of which is spent each year on kennel boarding alone. Fidarsi connects dog owners with certified dog hosts for in-home pet sitting and integrates existing fitness tracking technology for pets with a monitoring platform that provides on-demand pet activity tracking information for dog owners. Because fitness tracking technology is quickly becoming a commodity, Fidarsi teamed up with FitBark and designed an algorithm that factors in the FitBark features and gives each host a “Fidarsi Score.” Doing so helps quantify dog host performance over time and build credibility among pet hosts.

Team members:

  • Alyssa Bacchus
  • Taylor Kaine
  • Pieper Rudy

Congratulations to all of the Fall Teams!