Anthony W. Gyke and Olivia P. Sribniak, the founders of Penn State startup Steer Logic, have continued to work on their business since graduating in May with degrees in electro-mechanical engineering technology (EMET) from Penn State New Kensington. Steer Logic’s automated team-roping dummy is the only form of team-roping practice that provides users the ability to select their choice of roping level while providing a more effective, efficient and humane way of practicing as a team for real competitions.
Olivia and Anthony came up with their idea for an automated roping dummy for their senior project, but when a professor told them about the possibility of funding through the annual Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) Inc.U competition, their project quickly became a real business.
After being selected to as one of the six final teams for the competition, Anthony and Olivia had three months to create their business, build a prototype and perfect a three minute pitch for the Inc.U finals, which is televised as “The Investment” on WPSU. It also needed to be ready for their senior project demonstrations two weeks later, so the pressure was on.
“Invent Penn State showed us the ropes. They taught us everything we needed to know about starting a business,” said Olivia.
“Everything from the Penn State Law Entrepreneur Assistance and IP Clinics helping us and filing our provisional patent for us, to Tim Kerchinski and his team listening to our pitches over and over and helping us tweak them and sound more professional,” Anthony added.
Steer Logic didn’t win this year’s Inc.U competition, but the duo credits the experience with challenging them to step outside their comfort zones and “step up to the plate.” Anthony said he was more focused on the technical side of things due to this past experience, but quickly realized if he didn’t learn the business side of things it would be difficult for their company to move forward.
“I turned to friends and family for help, My friend Nicholas Verbene is a marketer and web designer for GNC and he showed us some tips for making a website and marketing. My dad helped us with business paperwork and setting up accounts, he also helped fabricate our prototype,” Anthony said. “To be a successful business owner, it would be very helpful if you were a jack-of-all-trades; you don’t have to know everything, but you have to know a little bit of everything, get out of your comfort zone and step up to the plate, because if you don’t, you won’t make it in the world where there are many other people waiting to take your spot.”
Anthony and Olivia are continuing to build their startup Steer Logic with the entrepreneurial skills Invent Penn State, PennTAP’s Inc.U competition and the EMET major helped them learn. They already have ideas for where they want to take their Steer Logic company, but currently they’re continuing to perfect their prototype to go to market.
“Invent Penn State showed us the ropes. They taught us everything we needed to know about starting a business."
Olivia P. Sribniak
Steer Logic Co-founder