2022 S’Ups

Roadtrip!!! Our 2022 Startup Summer kicked off with a day of everything startup at 16 Tech in Indianapolis, for Elevate Ventures’ Nexus Conference. Left to right above, our Startup Summer participants (or S’Ups as they jokingly called themselves) Lauren Wanders, Parker Busick, Eli Serrano, Andrew McMaster, and Brandon Wening (Aiden Gonzalez not pictured) had a blast and bonded fast.

It was the beginning of an awesome summer at The Mill building out five incredible startups. The S’Ups not only participated in mentor swarms with experienced founders and investors, they also became mentors themselves to younger entrepreneurs. When the Mandela Washington Fellows, 24 of Africa’s brightest emerging civic leaders, came to town, the S’Ups were among those lucky enough to forge new global connections.

And we’re happy to report that while the party bus to Columbus to watch gBETA founders pitch took a very winding road, no one tossed their cookies. We took a straighter path on the way home, talked with other Mill members, and that’s how one founder ended up with an interview to make Indiana University his first customer.

The 2022 S’Ups set the bar very high. We can’t wait to see who joins us for 2023!

2022 Startup Summer Founders

Eli Serrano, CEO & Lead Software Engineer

Airoma is a next-generation social media platform that uses Augmented Reality to get people connected and excited to go outside and explore. Over the course of Startup Summer, Airoma rebranded, formed an LLC, added 5 team members, filmed a commercial (featuring cameos by fellow S’Up founders!) and learned VC, legal, finances, and more.

Lauren Wanders, Founder

Degasó uses a high-quality, innovative device to allow dancers to spend less time sewing their pointe shoes and more time chasing their passion. A professional dancer spends 30 minutes hand-sewing each of the 100 pairs of shoes she’ll use in a year. Degasó cuts that 30 minutes to 4—and that’s why Lauren has dancers and distributors waiting on pointe to buy her product! Degasó was a semifinalist at the 2022 Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition.

Andrew McMaster, CEO

Brandon Wening, CTO

Finniva streamlines the material sourcing process for large multifamily and commercial development projects. It’s a one-stop shop to build takeoffs, find suppliers for direct materials, compare local options, manage project orders, and send purchase orders to multiple suppliers with the click of a button. They were also the winner of Crossroads Collegiate 2022, and they won a $20,000 investment from Elevate Ventures at the Nexus Regional Pitch Competition. Finniva’s beta is live and looking awesome!

Aiden Gonzalez, Founder

In the startup world, things rarely go according to plan, but great entrepreneurs pivot to adapt. No one demonstrated that ability more than Aiden Gonzalez. Aiden was admitted to Startup Summer for a company to create modular adaptive mice for PC gamers with disabilities. And then . . .  Microsoft released a competing product. PIVOT! Aiden used his eight weeks to design and launch a completely different concept: Hiraeth, an accelerator for apparel designs and startup clothing lines. His pop-up debuted at Demo Day. Founders are unstoppable!

Parker Busick, Founder

Soloist allows musicians who are practicing alone to play along with quality live cover recordings. It’s a very cool concept, and we have proof that Startup Summer literally rocked. Check out this video of fellow S’Up Andrew McMaster jamming with Soloist at Demo Day! (PS: see those high ceilings and exposed brick? That’s the Event Hall at The Mill, the iconic, inspiring home of Startup Summer.)