Success Story

Venture & IP Conference Showcases Disruptive Innovations

Students who participated in the Inc.U competition show off their awards with President Barron

Dr. James Adair receives the Inventor of the Year award from Vice President for Research Neal Sharkey

The Mother of Invention

Hunter Swisher and Ben Nason of Phospholutions receive their 1st place Tech Tournament prize from Penn State Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey

Matt Roda of Reflexion Technologies with President Barron

Nick Unis of UnisBrands with President Barron

Following an extraordinary debut in 2016, this year’s Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference, held April 19-20 at the Penn State Hotel and Conference Center, attracted more than 600 participants, including 80 startup companies and more than 40 venture capitalists and industry advisers—all working together to drive innovation, foster collaboration and enable startup companies to take their businesses to the next level.

Over the course of two days entrepreneurs received more than $150,000 in funding, listened to panels from venture capitalists and industry insiders, and saw a fireside chat between Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin and SeventySix Capitals Wayne Kimmel.

The conference kicked off with a special welcoming address by Penn State President Eric Barron, followed by presentations from Penn State student startups, each of whom received $2,000 to help move their companies forward.  The six student companies were Inc.U competition finalists, a competition hosted by PennTAP that will air on the WPSU-TV show “The Investment” on May 24:

  • Hardwired, a custom, high-performance PC design/build service that uses superior parts to serve the virtual reality, gaming, and 4K video editing markets, founded by Robert Zigmund, a political science major at Penn State Abington.
  • HemoGO, a smartphone app, combined with a proprietary test strip reader, that provides a complete blood count test at home that can then be electronically sent to health care professionals, founded by Shevy Karbasiafshar, a biology student at University Park.
  • SponsrU, the first trackable, goal-based crowdfunding platform designed to directly pay down student debt for individuals who can demonstrate need and academic goal achievement, founded by James Aversa and Leo Skoronski, who are majoring in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Steer Logic LLC, a proprietary, automated team-roping dummy designed to improve a team roper’s skill set utilizing robotics and engineering methods — all while reducing the practice stress on live animals, founded by Olivia Paige Scribniak and Anthony Gyke, electro-mechanical engineering technology majors at Penn State New Kensington.
  • Trimatis LLC, a triple bottom line business with proprietary methods to recycle certain plastic waste into 3-D printer filament for future use in environmental education and 3-D printed products, founded by Jason Lehrer and Tito Emmanuel Orjih, engineering students at Penn State Berks.
  • UnisBrands LLC, a proprietary 3-D printing method designed to manufacturer custom-fit footwear, founded by Nick Unis, an accounting major at the Altoona and University Park campuses.

To end the pitches, last year’s grand-prize winner Matt Roda, a junior and the co-founder of Reflexion Interactive Technologies

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