The 2023 Startup Summer program was fantastic! Over 10 glorious weeks, six founders worked on individualized plans to take their startups to the next level. We checked in weekly in one-on-ones, and we can report that all the founders made incredible progress.
Over the course of the summer they went on ecosystem immersion trips and attended 2 mentor swarms and 1 investor swarm. Guest speakers covered topics like marketing, sales, fundraising and venture capital, legal, accounting, and pitch deck prep. Thank you to all our ecosystem friends and expert partners from around the state who took the time to meet with these rising stars!
It’s never too early to start giving back, so the S’ups also helped mentor young entrepreneurs in our K-12 programs. They had the tough job of judging lemonade stand concepts at the Lemonade Day Pitch Competition. They helped teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs in our Young Entrepreneurs Camp develop products, create marketing and financial plans, and sell their products at a business bazaar.
We celebrated their graduation with a fabulous barbeque lunch, exciting short pitches from our founders, and a whole lot of laughter and networking at the Startup Summer Showcase. A crowd of 80 attendees, including Mayor John Hamilton and our friends from the Elevate Ventures Southern Indiana Roadshow, came out to hear the founders’ innovative ideas.
Each founder received a stipend for the summer, a four-month full-time membership to The Mill, and an investment from Flywheel Fund. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the City of Bloomington for sponsoring this year’s program. We also want to thank our showcase sponsors, Elevate Ventures and Smokeworks, for making sure a delicious time was had by all!
2023 Startup Summer Founders
Prospect XR provides a reputation system for online community building. It combines the best elements of Reddit and Stack Overflow to make it possible to build a dynamic, active, trustworthy community without hours of human moderation. Brady’s software already has thousands of users.
Rod Baradaran, CEO
rScan cuts down the time it takes to sell secondhand products online by over 80 percent. rScan was the winner of the 2023 Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition. Rod sees his software as empowering the general public to more easily participate in a huge market and supplement their income. It’s already generated over $400,000 in sales.
Pocket fills a longstanding content gap in beginning band and orchestra instruction. It provides musical curriculum based on traditional Black gospel music, which is typically underrepresented in instruction and highly engaging and relevant for students. Charlie has assembled a test package for band directors and schools to gather customer feedback and is currently developing online materials.
Fabian Granqvist, Founder
GrandQvist, founded by hockey player Fabian Granqvist, provides athletes with energy bars made from plant-based, whole food ingredients. Fabian won first place at the Indiana Tech Innovation Challenge and has multiple partnerships and customers lined up. GrandQvist bars are available at the Fort Wayne Farmers’ Market as well.
Roscoe Bell and Matthew Joseph, Co-Founders
Noveltor leverages technology to support the therapeutic process and make it more effective. Noveltor makes it easy and efficient for therapists to share important tools and worksheets with clients, so they can continue making progress outside of the session. Matthew and Roscoe, passionate advocates for mental health, won the special recognition prize and $5,000 at the 2023 ICO Pitch Competition.