Student startup introduces 'digital handshake' to help make connections faster, easier

February 10 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Exchanging information for the many social media networks, emails and phone numbers can be quite a hassle, and having to look for people on each social network one-by-one gets tedious.

Recognizing this problem, a group of Purdue University students have developed Socio, a social media application that revolutionizes the way people connect by introducing the “digital handshake.”

Co-founders Yarkin Sakucoglu, the CEO and a sophomore in Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute who also is studying for a Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship, and Alihan Ozbayrak, a senior studying computer science and construction engineering and management, are the developers of the Socio app.

Socio links users’ information, including email, phone number and social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and more into one Socio profile. When users want to share their information with each other (or a group of people), they can give a quick phone shake and all of their information is instantly swapped, providing both users give consent.

“You don’t have to copy and paste account information into each app one-by-one, or pass your phone to people asking them to type in their usernames or numbers. What normally takes two to three minutes now takes less than 10 seconds.” Ozbayrak said. “Whether connecting with just two people or 200, you just shake and connect.”


AgReliant Launches 'Advantage Acre'

February 08 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE - Westfield-based AgReliant Genetics has launched the beta trial period for its “precision agriculture platform.” Advantage Acre, developed with West Lafayette-based Spensa Technologies, aims to bring together three foundational elements of farming: seed, soil and weather.

AgReliant, which is the third largest seed corn company in North America, says Advantage Acre will combine the company’s knowledge of its seed products with soil mapping technology from AgSoil Analytics and advanced weather forecasting from Weathertrends360. AgReliant says farmers will be able to use the digital technology to plan and implement their field strategy and maximize their yield potential.

“AgReliant Genetics has and will continue to focus on providing our customers with consistently competitive seed products,” said Bryan Brochin, AgReliant Genetics vice president of marketing and business development. “The Advantage Acre platform was designed to maximize the genetic potential of our seed and provide an innovative user-interface for our customers. The introduction of the system is the culmination of extensive effort from our team and the industry-leading collaborators who have provided their expertise related to precision technology, soil and weather.”


Purdue Robot Toy Primed For Market

February 05 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE - A glove-controlled robotic toy developed with Purdue University technology that has gained national attention is on the cusp of hitting the market. Ziro is weeks away from commercialization and is being touted as a tool for learning that can hold the interest of boys and girls alike. The robotic tool kit debuted last year on Inside INdiana Business Television and was created by Purdue Professor of Mechanical Engineering Karthik Ramani. During an interview last week on Inside INdiana Business Television, Ramani told Reporter Kylie Veleta he wants mass production of Ziro to be in-state.

The product debuted last year under the name “HandiMate” and California-based ZeroUI Inc. has the exclusive licensing rights for the toy. Ramani says he says it can help spark interest in STEM fields among the next generation of innovators. He tells Inside INdiana Business Ziro could be set to hit shelves within weeks.


Purdue facilitates boost for local startup companies

February 04 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — From their small office in West Lafayette, Prah Veluvolu and his co-workers may be onto something big. For these 20-something entrepreneurs, what began as an idea born during a computer science class has — several years later — blossomed into a full-time business.

“Before this summer, we were in just a few schools. Right now, we’re in 42 schools and growing like crazy,” said Veluvolu.

It’s called Mimir: an online classroom management platform for computer science teachers that manages the course, identifies problems, and even checks student work automatically for plagiarism. Meanwhile, students can use the program for interactive help and instant results on their assignments.

“With startups, it’s rare that you can identify something as a success story in the first couple of years. But they have all the early signs of being a success story,” said Mike Asem, director of collaborative relationships for the Purdue Foundry.


Purdue's startup competition sets Feb. 15 application deadline

February 03 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Nearly $15,000 will be invested into Purdue University student entrepreneurs who place in the top five teams of the eight-week startup competition The Boiler: Purdue Mini-Accelerator Competition, or the Boiler.

Applications for the Boiler are due by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 15 and the competition will begin on Feb. 22. All Purdue students are eligible to compete, as well as graduates of up to two years. Applications can be found at

The Boiler is a seed accelerator competition hosted by the Anvil, a student operated business incubator at Purdue. The competition started in 2013 and aims to enable students to pursue entrepreneurship activities outside of the classroom.

The five teams accepted through the initial pitch round each receive $500 upon acceptance. The three teams that move on to the second phase receive $1,000 each, and on Demo Day first-, second- and third-place teams will receive $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000, respectively.


Purdue startup receives funding to accelerate innovation to treat MS pain

February 02 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund has awarded Neuro Vigor a $20,000 “Black Award” to accelerate commercialization of its drug therapy for pain in multiple sclerosis.

“This early stage award is the result of a very competitive process and recognizes Neuro Vigor’s progress to date and its potential as a future target for other investors with whom we might partner to help the company deliver its solutions to patients worldwide,” said Chris LaMothe, Elevate Ventures CEO.

Like past recipients of the “Black Awards,” Neuro Vigor was formed to bring Purdue research to the marketplace.

“We value this vote of confidence by Purdue and Elevate Ventures in our technology, our leadership team and our strategy to pursue this significant healthcare opportunity,” said Mark Van Fleet, Neuro Vigor’s Managing Partner.

Neuro Vigor’s co-founder and chief scientist, Riyi Shi, has discovered a drug that can reduce a powerful neuro-toxin in the body, which has significant promise as a novel therapy for neuro-degenerative disease and injury.


USI, Purdue collaborate to develop technology commercialization and innovation models for region

January 29 2016

The University of Southern Indiana and Purdue University partnered to power the Rural Indiana Technology Commercialization Initiative. Funded by the Indiana Office of Defense Development (IODD), the initiative was launched in support of their mission to assist in the commercialization of the Department of Defense and other federal intellectual property and assets creating additional high quality jobs throughout the state. The collaboration was developed to increase and support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state.

“We identified more resources supporting Indiana technology commercialization than were previously known,” said Daniela Vidal, director of the USI’s Opportunity Development. “An initiative with this many entities and services requires dedicated project management with intentional coordination and communication among partners so that resources can be used to maximize benefits for our region, especially within the rural areas. We are pleased with the positive outcomes of the collaboration.”

Technology transfer projects developed as part of the initiative include development and documentation of a technology commercialization model, which maps and connects the network of resources available, including local economic development offices, co-working spaces and mentors; and, the identification of Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (NSWC Crane)-related innovation for additional technology commercialization opportunities.


Purdue Krannert Women in Management program supports local InnovateHER competition, nomination chosen as finalist

January 27 2016

West Lafayette, Ind., and Washington, D.C. – The Jane Brock-Wilson Center for Women in Management in the Purdue Krannert School of Management recently supported the local portion of the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge. The program’s nomination of a Purdue graduate, Pu Wang, was chosen as one of 10 finalists.

The Women in Management program served as the InnovateHER point of contact and organizer of the local competition in partnership with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship located on Purdue’s campus. Women in Management provided prize money for the event with the winner receiving $3,000 and second place receiving $1,500.

Joy Dietz, director of the Women in Management program and Purdue InnovateHER coordinator, said that the program is very proud of its role in supporting this nomination.

“Our workforce looks very different now than it did 50 years ago,” Dietz said. “Women now comprise nearly half of the labor force, and demands on women and their families are growing. This competition is the platform to provide the products and services that address those demands, and we look forward to supporting this competition in many years to come.”


Purdue technologies, startups could improve cancer treatments, patient outcomes

January 26 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. In 2015, it was estimated that 1,658,370 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States, and 589,430 people would die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

Several technologies discovered at Purdue University focus on the treatment of cancer, including some being commercialized through startup companies.


Purdue FoundryX initiative secures over 50 industry mentors, announces first event

January 21 2016

WEST LAFAYEYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Foundry announced Thursday (Jan. 21) that FoundryX, an initiative that invites active industry leaders and business experts to connect with early-stage Purdue startups and patented innovations that are available to license, has attracted over 50 mentors to help facilitate its mission to collaboratively drive new technologies to market.

FoundryX also will hold its first networking and tech showcase event 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 26) at the Launch Fishers, 12175 Visionary Way, Fishers, Indiana. There is no charge to attend the event, however space is limited. Anyone interested in joining a startup, mentoring a company or learning more about FoundryX can request an invitation by emailing Mike Asem, director of collaborative relations at Purdue foundry at, or Larissa Clinton, administrative assistant at Purdue Foundry at

“We believe that mentors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in specific industries will play a huge role in helping the startups of FoundryX grow into larger companies and help with the commercialization process of our technologies,” Asem said. “The overwhelming interest from mentors so far has shown us that people are excited to be a part of this initiative, and the innovation and commercialization taking place at Purdue. We hope that as the program grows, more mentors will join, in a more engaged way, by serving on advisory boards or even joining teams as executives or co-founders.”



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