Representing social entrepreneurship, technology, business, education, biomedical science and design, eight Washington University in St. Louis-affiliated teams are among the 20 startups receiving 2014 Arch Grants of $50,000 each to start their businesses.
The WUSTL teams represent a wide variety of disciplines throughout the university, creating innovations ranging from medical devices and education outreach to data analysis and clothing design.
That the WUSTL-connected contingent comprises 40 percent of this year’s Arch Grants winners is no surprise to H. Holden Thorp, PhD, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.
“These teams represent the entrepreneurial spirit that is sweeping the country and thriving at Washington University,” Thorp said. “Creating an environment that produces these kinds of teams and ideas is among our highest priorities, and it’s great to see this high level of success for the university and for St. Louis.”
Arch Grants, first awarded in 2012, seeks to create a more robust startup culture and infrastructure in St. Louis. To increase employment growth and establish the region as a place where entrepreneurs can incubate businesses, Arch Grants offers startups funding in the form of grants and requires that winning teams remain in or transition to downtown St. Louis.
Each of this year’s 20 winning teams will receive $50,000 in non-dilutive capital to start their business.
Many of the WUSTL-connected recipients credit the university’s entrepreneurial teaching and guidance as key to their accomplishment.
“Arch Grants received hundreds of applications from around the world, and the success of our students in this very competitive pool is extraordinary,” said Cliff Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Olin Business School, director of the school’s entrepreneurship platform and faculty for the Hatchery, one of the university’s capstone entrepreneurship courses.
“Washington University’s students don’t just study entrepreneurship, they actually do it,” Holekamp said. “And the companies they are founding are changing the world around them. Our students are a significant factor in St. Louis’ emergence as a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Since 2012, Arch Grants has awarded money to 55 teams. Four WUSTL-connected teams won grants in 2012, and six did last year. Adding in this year’s recipients, WUSTL-connected teams have been awarded more than one-third of the 55 total grants.
The 2014 WUSTL-connected winners are:
In biomedical science:
Nanopore Diagnostics enables physicians to make informed antibiotic decisions during their initial examination of a patient. Postdoctoral research scholar Tom Cohen, PhD, at the School of Medicine, and Benjamin Borgo, who earned a joint PhD/MBA degree May 16, founded the company. Nanopore Diagnostics won this year’s Olin Cup, sponsored by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
In consumer product:
Artifox is a product-design team devoted to merging quality craftsmanship with the constantly changing needs of the modern mobile professional. Sarah Carpenter, a 2010 alumna of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, co-founded the company.
Made for Freedom is on a social entrepreneurial mission to establish a global, online, retail/wholesale business while providing dignified employment for survivors of sex trafficking. Richard Ockers, a first-year MBA student in Olin Business School, is on the company’s management team. Made for Freedom received the $25,000 Brentmoor Foundation award in this year’s YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition.
Greetabl is a greeting card that quickly folds into a gift box with a personal message. The company was co-founded by Zoë Scharf, who earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Sam Fox School in 2011.
BetaVersity creates collaborative prototyping facilities where students learn by doing. Blake Marggraff, a junior majoring in biology in Arts & Sciences, co-founded BetaVersity.
Prattle Analytics, formerly Fed Playbook, uses proprietary, patent-pending, text-analysis techniques to generate the first commercially available quantitative “Fed Watching” data. The company was co-founded by Evan Schnidman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, in Arts & Sciences, in 2004, and a master’s in political economy and public policy, in 2008, from WUSTL.
FreightGrid is a web application that manages the entire “less than truckload” shipping process, saving time and money for its customers. Partner Kris Klinkerman earned an MBA from WUSTL May 16.
Less Annoying CRM makes a simple customer relationship manager (CRM) for small businesses. The company was co-founded by Tyler King, who graduated from WUSTL in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, from the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Bracken King, who earned bachelor’s degrees in biomedical engineering and computer science in 2004.