Up close with the WUSTL-affiliated Arch Grants winners

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.

Fostering Inspiration: Artifox desks

Co-founded by Sarah Carpenter, a 2010 Sam Fox School alumna, Artifox “is a free-formed design team dedicated to reinventing the way we use everyday items.”

“The support and enthusiasm we’ve received in St. Louis has been incredible. Everyone we’ve reached out to for advice has been tremendously helpful; whether in making introductions, spreading the word, or even just giving encouragement. We’re excited to be part of this growing community of young talent surging within St. Louis City. And with the cost of living so reasonable, there’s very little to complain about here.”

~ Sarah Carpenter

More information at the Artifox website

Giving back: Made For Freedom

First-year MBA student Richard Ockers is on the management team for the social entrepreneurship company.

“Made for Freedom is a social enterprise, so our mission is central to our business philosophy. We want to create both financial value and social value; our dream is to help improve the quality of life for marginalized women and survivors of sex trafficking worldwide by selling globally-inspired branded apparel.”

~ Richard Ockers

More information at the Made For Freedom website

Learning and creation in a box: BetaVersity

BetaVersity creates collaborative prototyping spaces out of shipping containers, where students learn by doing. It was co-founded by Blake Marggraff, a junior majoring in biology in Arts & Sciences.

“We are genuinely thrilled and honored to be an Arch Grants recipient. This award demonstrates that the BetaVersity team and vision can and will continue to thrive and grow. We will continue with our mission: increase creativity and innovation on college campuses by enabling students to apply their skills and create meaningful inventions, products, and ideas.”

~ Blake Margraff

More information at the Betaversity website

Analyze this: Prattle Analytics

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.

“Having spent a great deal of time working and networking in the established Boston entrepreneurship community, I have found that while Boston has a great deal of interesting and innovative startups, the barriers between industry sectors among startups in Boston are relatively significant,” Schnidman says. “As a newer startup scene, St. Louis doesn’t seem to have these barriers. This means that new businesses can benefit not only from interactions with those in their direct community, but also those in parallel entrepreneurial communities. Add in the incredible mentoring network St. Louis has to offer and it really looks like a fantastic place to grow a business.”

~ Evan Schnidman

More information is available at the Fed Playbook website

Easier relationships: Less Annoying CRM

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.

Nothing is more critical than your business’ contact information, but with so many CRM options on the market, it’s not always clear who you can trust. Many companies are quick to tout how much they value their customers, only to turn around and treat their users as resources from which to extract as much money as possible.

~ Tyler King

More information at the Less Annoying CRM website

Informed medical decisions: Nanopore Diagnostics

Olin Cup winner 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 PhD/MBA student Benjamin Borgo founded the company.

“We are honored and thrilled for the distinction; the grant money accelerates our research & development, the title of Arch Grants recipient means a lot in St. Louis and provides validation for our team and business model, and are excited to be part of the community of past recipients.”

~ Tom Cohen, PhD

More information at the Nanopore Diagnostics website

Easier shipping: Freight Grid

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.

“There is a buzz around start-ups in St. Louis and a lot of help available for new companies. Having a community of people excited about entrepreneurship and willing to help provides a great environment to launch a business.”

~ Kris Klinkerman

More information at the FreightGrid website

A unique way to celebrate: Greetabl

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 bachelor’s of fine arts degree from the Sam Fox School in 2011.

“Greetabl really is an experience–a fun and memorable way to connect with the important people in your life. Greetabl complements all types of gifts, from the silly to the sincere, and is made in the USA with premium materials and inspired designs.”

~ Zoë Scharf

More information at the Greetabl website