Purdue student business competition announces finalists, Demo Day presentation

April 05 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three Purdue University student-based startups have advanced to the final round of the Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition, or “Boiler,” where they will compete for nearly $15,000 in funding.

The Boiler, a student-run business competition hosted by the Anvil, a community co-working space and business incubator in West Lafayette, is geared for aspiring entrepreneurs who seek funds to support their startup idea. The competition started in 2013 and aims to enable students to pursue entrepreneurship activities outside of the classroom.

“This year we have more teams, and more diverse teams than ever, which is really exciting,” said Shane DeWael, Anvil director. “Typically, the majority of applicants have been software-based, but this year we saw a lot more diverse applications, with companies and students from all different majors and backgrounds. This is exciting because it allows a lot of different ideas and perspectives to mix, creating a more rewarding experience for all teams.”


Purdue students develop gamified MBA program for business schools

April 04 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Two Purdue graduate students are developing a gamified MBA program that teaches business concepts in an immersive, fantasy environment. The software platform aims to provide a more engaging, integrated, bite sized alternative to traditional MBA courses.

Arun S. Bharadwaj, an MBA student in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, and Jiaqi Wang, a graduate student in computer graphics technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, developed the platform, MBAville. MBAville’s first game, Project Quant, teaches accounting, analytics and economics in a pizzeria setting.

Bharadwaj said that traditional and online classrooms can be ineffective at engaging students.

“Classrooms can be static in nature and if students are not engaged they can switch off after 15 or 20 minutes. It’s the same with online education that mimics the classroom by using videos, slides and e-textbooks,” Bharadwaj said. “Gamified systems are already being used by many companies for cybersecurity, improving customer engagement and goal tracking. Project Quant’s bite sized courseware, interactive decision-making and gamified environment could provide students and professors a much better platform for learning and engagement.”

Bharadwaj said current MBA programs are heavily focused on business academia, instead of real world applications.


Purdue Startup Uncorks Grape Technology for Winemakers

April 04 2016

When sipping a glass of wine, it’s likely science isn’t top of mind, but that’s what determines the flavor profile of your pinot, says West Lafayette-based VinSense. The startup decodes the science behind grape growing to help vineyards produce the best possible fruit for the optimum glass of wine. Buoyed by a recent $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the startup has its first paying customer and is uncorking its product for the market this spring.

Three Purdue University faculty created VinSense’s technology. One of its creators, Chief Technology Officer Dr. David Ebert, has a long history of learning about wine: he made wine for his fourth grade science fair project.

VinSense’s technology has two components; the first involves detailed data collection. The startup places inexpensive, commercially available sensors in the soil of vineyards—up to 20 per acre, each no deeper than 10 feet underground.

The sensors gather data on soil variation, moisture and other factors in very high resolution, creating 10-foot square soil maps. The second component translates the huge amount of information into a visual format on a tablet or laptop, helping vineyards make decisions about managing the crop while it’s still growing.


Purdue technologies could help ease drought effects as California announces snowpack results, faces slow recovery

April 01 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – While California celebrates the good news of a much improved snowpack in the Sacramento area and the promise of better water supply this year, the effects of the past few years of severe droughts will take years to recover.

Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, announced on Thursday (March 31), that the snowpack at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento was at 58.4 inches deep with a water content of 26 inches, 97 percent of the long-term average. This comes as a stark contrast to the conditions this time last year, which were at zero depth and zero water content on April 1, 2015.

In a quote released by the Department of Water Resources Gehrke said, “While for many parts of the state there will be both significant gains in both reservoirs storage and stream flow, the effects of previous dry years will remain for now.”

Purdue University researchers are developing technologies that could address water conservation and drought resistance in crops.


Purdue, U.S. Air Force to partner on technology commercialization, entrepreneurial activities

March 24 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and DAYTON, Ohio – The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (USAF/AFMC) and Purdue Research Foundation have signed a partnership intermediary agreement to accelerate the commercialization process and support activities to move innovations to the public.

“We already have a robust research and development program, but the agreement with Purdue will enable us to capitalize on the successful proven approaches used by Purdue to efficiently and effectively commercialize advanced technology products at an even faster rate,” Bill Harrison, director of the AFRL Small Business office. “In addition, we will be able to tap into Purdue’s established entrepreneurial activities including educational and mentoring opportunities and its entrepreneurs-in-residence program.”

The Air Force Research Laboratory is a global technical research enterprise employing and working with some of the world’s most renowned research leaders. The laboratory’s successful innovations include game-changing technologies such as hypersonics, directed-energy weapons, and autonomy. The Air Force Research Laboratory manages an impressive science and technology program comprised of $2.1 billion of internal funding and an additional $2.3 billion of external funds.


Distillery to join other 'makers' in downtown industrial complex

March 22 2016

The massive Circle City Industrial Complex on downtown’s northeast side has attracted another outlet for alcohol production.

8th Day Distillery plans to occupy about 6,000 square feet in the complex at 1125 E. Brookside Ave., according to a construction filing. Larry Jones of Teagen Development Inc., which is redeveloping the building, said the distillery should be open in June.

8th Day would join Centerpoint Brewing at the complex and a small but growing list of distilleries in the downtown area.


Purdue Startup Nets National Grant

March 14 2016


The National Cancer Institute has awarded a large grant to a Purdue University startup to assist with testing of the company’s technology to help identify best cancer treatments. KinaSense’s grant, worth more than $200,000, comes with $50,000 in matching funds from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Elevate Ventures.

KinaSense developed the technology using Purdue University intellectual property. The university says the technology “could help researchers and oncologists see faster than ever which drug therapies will benefit cancer patients and to what extent.”

The co-founder and chief technology officer of KinaSense, Steve Ouellette, said the grant will allow for the beginning of laboratory operations. He called the grant a “major validation” of the company’s vision and technology.

“A lot of uncertainty was endured over the past year and a half developing research strategy, gathering support for the project from potential partners and performing due diligence on our business model,” said Ouellette. “This grant is a rewarding culmination of that effort, and one of many major milestones toward realizing KinaSense’s mission to help save lives in the battle against cancer.”


Purdue startups raise more than $96 million in venture funding, create 156 positions

March 03 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Startups based on Purdue University patented intellectual property have raised more than $96 million in the past two years in local, state, federal and private funding and created 156 positions.

The funding was raised by the 24 members of the Purdue Startup Class of 2014 and the 25 members of the Purdue Startup Class of 2015. Both groups of startups licensed technologies from the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. In the same period, another 39 startups have originated from non-patented Purdue “know-how.”

“In the past two years we have seen an incredible increase in startup creation that is demonstrated in Purdue’s back-to-back record-breaking years,” said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. “As we have always known, even more important than the quantity of the startups is their subsequent impact on economic value and commercial execution. We are pleased with how this cohort of companies is progressing.”

The startup class is composed of companies that operate in sectors such as engineering, industrial technology, information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and software. Positions created represent individuals working more than halftime at a company or working for equity in a startup.


$37 million venture fund combined to support Purdue-affiliated startups

February 29 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Newly created Purdue Ventures will be the overriding entity to manage $37 million in combined investment resources to further support Purdue-affiliated startups and make it easier for entrepreneurs to apply for investment consideration to advance their companies.

Organized under the auspices of the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Ventures will oversee the deployment of multiple sources of capital that support Purdue’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“These programs will continue to be supported by the Purdue Research Foundation, our partnering organizations, various endowments, private investors and state entities, but they will be managed by Purdue Ventures,” said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. “We anticipate that these funding groups will continue to grow, and we could add even more in the coming months or years. It makes sense that we would put them under one umbrella to ease the process for Purdue entrepreneurs and help us more effectively serve the startups originating from Purdue patented innovations and ‘know-how’ technologies.”

In the past two years, the Purdue Research Foundation has taken seed-round positions in no fewer than 35 companies, many from Purdue’s entrepreneurial hub, the Purdue Foundry.


Internship and career fair seeks interested students

February 29 2016

Purdue University students are invited to attend the Emerging Employer Internship and Career Fair.

The event will be 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday (March 2) in Purdue Memorial Union, South Ballroom.

Students in all majors who are seeking summer internships or full-time employment are welcome to attend. Participating companies will specifically be startup or second-stage companies with 100 or fewer employees.

Employers registered for the fair are invited to attend a pre-fair luncheon and workshop at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on effective recruiting and hiring practices of international students.



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