The state of Ohio and The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business have selected 10 teams of young entrepreneurs to participate in the Ohio’s New Entrepreneurs Fund pilot program, which kicks off this summer in Columbus.
The program, funded through the Ohio Third Frontier, is designed to attract the best and brightest technology entrepreneurs to Ohio for an 11-week “boot camp,” where they will potentially turn their great ideas into commercially viable tech startup companies.
“These teams represent the type of talent we want to attract and keep in Ohio to allow our economy to flourish,” says Mark Kvamme, director of job creation for the state of Ohio. “This is just the beginning of what is hopefully a long career for them as top entrepreneurs. I look forward to seeing their progress.”
The ONE Fund, administered by the Fisher College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurship, is an entrepreneurial competition that focuses on the professional development of young tech entrepreneurs as they learn what it takes to start a business in Ohio. The group consists of 10 competitively selected, two to five-person teams that will be given $20,000 for business and living expenses, and work under the guidance of seasoned entrepreneurs, industry experts, and investors to prepare tech concepts and business models.
At the conclusion of the program, those concepts will be presented to investors. NCT Ventures, a Columbus-based venture capital firm, has already committed $200,000 in follow-on venture funding to an entrepreneurial team of their choice that completes the program.
“The Ohio Third Frontier is extremely excited to invest in the futures of these outstanding young entrepreneurs,” says James Leftwich, director of the Ohio Department of Development and chairman of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “This will be a tremendous learning experience for the participants and is an important step to retaining and attracting top talent for the state of Ohio.”
During the 2.5-week application window, 118 applications were submitted and 25 semifinalists submitted video applications. The winning participants −from Ohio, neighboring states, and even the United Kingdom− have agreed to live in Columbus for the duration of the program and any company formed through the program will be set up in Ohio.
The teams will have access to all the resources provided by the Center for Entrepreneurship’s New Venture Accelerator (10x) and ONE Fund administrators will maintain an ongoing relationship with the entrepreneurs to track their success following the program.
“It was very challenging selecting the top 10 entrepreneurial teams for the 2011 ONE Fund/10x program,” says Michael Camp, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “We received so many applications from energetic young entrepreneurial teams working on very exciting new ideas. We are confident that the entrepreneurial teams that make up the top 10 are among the best around.”
The startups selected for the program are:
Acceptd – Acceptd is a web-based tool that simplifies the video application process for university programs. Uploading and managing application videos, audition tapes, and highlight films using Acceptd streamlines the process, and saves time and money for applicants and program directors.
adEvo – adEvo is a loyalty and analytics platform for websites that rewards users for their online contributions. The platform gives online publishers the ability to reward users with points for visiting a website, commenting, sharing articles, and growing a social network.
Biena Tech – Biena Tech specializes in carbon neutral fuel cells that generate clean energy while operating at room temperature and using CO2 as a conducting source. The technology has a wide variety of market applications in the residential, portable, industrial, transportation, and aerospace sectors.
Edifuneral – Edifuneral connects families in need with funeral homes in their area that meet their specific requirements. More than a listing service, Edifuneral provides specific information to families that helps streamline their decision-making process.
Flare Code – Flare Code allows individuals and organizations to aggregate all their digital content into a collection of mobile-optimized widgets that can be accessed quickly and directly by scanning a code. Flare Code allows the community to interact with the code by posting photos and comments to a special section. Imagine a code in a newspaper you can scan every day to discuss stories and view news clips from a local television station, or a band poster with music videos and fan photos. Flare Code turns objects into digital communities by connecting them with digital context.
Kout – Kout is an e-commerce platform aimed at micro merchants, or sellers who do not need a front-end store. Merchants receive a unique checkout url for each product, which links to a simple checkout page designed to reduce checkout abandonment and provide a seamless experience for the customer. Merchants also will be able to accept credit cards directly through Kout’s checkout without a merchant account and payment gateway, providing less hassle, less fees, and a quicker setup.
LyoGo LLC – LyoGo LLC was formed to develop and commercialize a novel drug delivery system for freeze dried drugs. LyoGo provides a safer, easier, more convenient and cost effective method of administering complex biologic drugs.
RenterCenter – RenterCenter is an online service to revolutionize the rental housing market by aggregating the demand (i.e. potential tenants) and making it easy and affordable for landlords to locate, evaluate, and engage potential tenants.
Rewardster – Rewardster is an automatic rewards platform that links directly to your credit card and provides consumers with targeted loyalty rewards based on spending habits across Rewardster’s merchant network.
SampleShop – SampleShop provides free samples for a very low monthly fee to customers who would like to try new products. SampleShop charges the company for launching and introducing their products and, in exchange, helps them to get feedback and surveys from customers.
The ONE Fund session begins June 13 and ends Sept. 1 with a New Venture Showcase, where participants will pitch their ideas to dozens of Ohio and national venture capital and angel investors.