The University of Kentucky Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship (VACE) and UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) held the first Demo Day at the Gatton College of Business and Economics with graduates from the UKAccel Program.
The UKAccel program, which is managed by OTC and VACE, offers a professional development and experiential learning opportunity to UK researchers interested in turning their intellectual property into a potential startup.
With guidance from the OTC and VACE, qualified participants took part in an immersive experience in entrepreneurship culture, spending focused time over a three-month period at Awesome Inc, a business accelerator in downtown Lexington. The goal was to discover if launching a start-up company was right for the individual researcher.
The first graduating teams of the UKAccel program are:
- Enepret, led by Chase Kempinski, with Joe Chappell (College of Pharmacy)
- OpenEddi, led by Kate Eddens (College of Public Health)
- Largus, led by Josh Lile, Michael Wesley, Dillon Huffman and Arit Harvanko (Colleges of Medicine and Engineering)
Each graduating team received certificates to acknowledge completion of the UKAccel Program.
“It has been very exciting to observe each of these teams grow in their understanding of what it takes to potentially commercialize their respective technologies,” VACE Executive Director Warren Nash said. “VACE looks forward to continuing working with these University of Kentucky researchers as they move forward in the commercialization pathway they chose.”
“The OTC is proud to have worked alongside the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship to develop this program and successfully usher through its first class of innovative research teams,” OTC Director Ian McClure said. “We look forward to helping more UK researchers make informed decisions related to starting a company.”
All three UKAccel teams presented during Demo Day and were judged by three Kentucky angel investors and advisory board members of the Von Allmen Center: John Reinhart, CEO of InnovateLTC; Rod Wolford, a former health care executive; and Tim Guthrie, president and founder of CFO Services Group. The panel judged the teams on overall clarity of their presentations, identification of the problem and solution, and assessment of the customer/technology market segments.
The overall winner was team Largus, who received the UKAccel Demo Day award, in addition to one free month of space at Base110 in downtown Lexington.