October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Missouri Innovation Center invests $125,000 in local startups 

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Chris Harbert didn’t expect to choke up during his business pitch at the Missouri Tech Challenge on Wednesday night at the Blue Note.

In August, Harbert turned down a six-figure income at a Fortune 1000 company to focus on his business, Testery. Testery supports companies in running their own testing on web-based applications at an affordable price.

After months of uncertainty, Harbert was thrilled to receive $50,000 from the panel of investors. 

Testery was one of four companies to compete for an investment from the Missouri Tech Accelerator Fund. The Missouri Innovation Center developed the fund in 2016 to help young entrepreneurs launch startups within mid-Missouri, and Wednesday night’s event was the first of its kind in Columbia.

MU students Eric Laurent and Jake Hurrell presented their company, Stor, to investors. Stor is an online community that links students needing storage space with local homeowners willing to rent out their garages or storage units. The panel invested $25,000 in Stor.

Unlike the show “Shark Tank,” negotiation with the investors was limited. The panel negotiated with AdSwapper, a mobile application that would give phone users a share of the money advertisers pay websites to place an ad, before ultimately investing $50,000.

AdSwapper CEO Amos Angelovici said he wants smart phone users to become partners with the advertisement industry.

“We are on the user’s side,” Angelovici said. “We make sure that whatever has been shown to the user, they’re getting paid a share of it.”

As children and adolescents are spending increasing time in front of television screens with gaming consoles, Ukatsu wants to join gamers in a community setting where kids can form friendships and work on skills for becoming a more well-rounded person.

The panel asked founders Joe Chee and Ben Brooks to give more detailed projections for future sales and income. Ukatsu left the event with an opportunity to pitch their company to the Missouri Innovation Center in December.


Source: Missouri Innovation Center invests $125,000 in local startups | Local | columbiamissourian.com

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