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Monthly Archives: May 2015

The advancement in biomedical technology has been quick in the last decade. Many groups and individuals have found ways to improve and minimize the risk of medical procedures. One of the individuals who have made a big impact in this field is Eugene Malinskiy. He is the founder and CEO of DragonID, a biomedical design firm based in Cleveland, OH which creates innovative solutions like innovative medical and surgical devices.

Malinskiy got his Bachelor’s Degree from John Caroll University in Akron, OH after which he spent a few months overseas with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad and spent one year studying at Københavns Universitet in Denmark before getting his Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University. Before he founded DragonID, Malinskiy was a student intern at the Cleveland Clinic and an EMT, SO at the JCU EMS at the John Caroll University where he was also a Network and Student Supervisor.

At only 23 years old, Gary Kurek has received recognition for his work in helping those with debilitating conditions be mobile again. The awards and recognitions the Canadian inventor has received are estimated to be around 100 to date. These include being part of the Forbes list of 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing for 2015, Peter Thiel’s inaugural class of 20 Under 20 in 2011, Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 in 2010, and the Best in Fair Championship Prize at the Canada Wide Science Fair in 2009.

Kurek has been building things since he was only four, but he is best known for GET Mobility Solutions, a company which he founded in 2009 when he was only 17 years old. The company designs and manufactures state-of-the-art mobility solutions for people with disabilities or conditions that render them unable to get around like able bodied people do. His drive to create these innovative pieces of technology began when he was only 14 years old. He saw how cancer weakened his grandmother and so he created a walker-wheelchair hybrid that could adjust its power to how strong the user feels at any given time. Since then, he has come up with a number of other innovative mobility aids which solve many of the issues that standard mobility aids don’t do anything about. One of his other inventions is a wheelchair platform that enables the user to navigate steps, entire staircases, and uneven terrain without outside help – something that people in regular wheelchairs can only dream of.

Kurek’s main focus is still on mobility aids; however, he has recently branched out to other areas including green transportation and robotics. His interest in robotics has led him to organize the San Francisco Bay Area Robotics Group which has roughly 400 members to date.

Kurek graduated from the University of Calgary.

In May of 2014, Jeremiah Chapman co-founded FreshFry LLC, a company that is changing the way the restaurant industry uses its cooking oil. The company’s product is the FreshFry Pod, a small packet which is dropped into the fryer to absorb polar molecules and fatty acids found in used oil. The pod essentially cleanses the oil and extends its usability. This saves restaurants a whole lot of money spent on cooking oil for their fryers. The innovative technology FreshFry produces has earned Chapman a place on the prestigious 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing list which Forbes Magazine released early in 2015.

Chapman graduated cum laude from the University of Louisville – Speed School of Engineering where he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Before co-founding FreshFry LLC, Chapman worked as a process engineer for Zeochem where he has gained experience in the fields of nanotechnology, adsorption, as well as large and small scale chemical manufacturing.

As the lead industrial designer at GE Appliances, Anjuli Calvert has a lot to be proud of. One of which is Slate, the line of neutral, matte, and low-gloss appliances she designed. The appliance line has fast become one of GE Appliances’ best sellers. This feat has also earned her a slot in the Forbes 2015 list of 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing.

Calvert knew she wanted to create at a very young age. She built blanket forts, played with Lego blocks, and used pastels to draw. She was also very good at math and science at school, so she started college at Auburn University as an architecture student. During her freshman year, she discovered the world of industrial design and she knew right away that this is where she belonged. She shifted majors and pursued a degree in industrial design which opened up many doors for her after she graduated. She began her career as a Design Assistant at Geographics while she was still in school. She later interned at Viking Range, LLC where she became the company’s first female industrial designer. She continued to work for Viking Range after graduation and was made responsible for all of their Kitchen Cleanup products. This is where she got most of the experience she needed to succeed when she began working at GE Appliances in 2010.

Aside from the recognition she got from Forbes Magazine, Calvert has also received awards and recognition from other sources. She has done such a great job as lead industrial designer at GE that the company has honored her for her efforts and success. They gave her the Entrepreneurship Award in 2012 for Slate and the Marketing Top Chef Award for Q2 of that same year by GE Appliances’ Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Martin.

Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch, two German-born entrepreneurs, took a risk by moving to Brazil and starting Printi, an online business printing start-up. With a $1.2 million financial backing from Greenoaks Capital Management, among other Silicon Valley and Brazilian investors, the duo nurtured the business to greater profits. When they sold VistaPrint a minority stake in Printi, the business was valued at over $50 million at the time of the deal – truly, a testament to the importance of taking calculated risks.

Nowadays, Printi boasts of a wide range of products including business cards and catalogues, which can be customized, saved, and printed using web tools. Printi uses algorithms in aggregating orders, thus, allowing the company to buy their materials in bulk at wholesale prices from factories. The duo’s company can accommodate over 4,000 orders per month with the customers assured of high-quality products at reasonable prices.

While Pencz and Hagenbuch are not changing the world with their on-demand online business printing services, they are certainly making a difference in the world.

When he was 20, Jordi Muñoz came to California from Mexico to seek a better life for his new wife and himself typically by getting a green card. But waiting for the green card was not easy and so he started making his first auto-piloted drone from hacked Nintendo Wii sensors, his own code, and a remote helicopter. He uploaded the video of the drone in flight on DIYdrones.com, a website created by Chris Anderson, who then sent him $500 so he can continue his work.

Muñoz then set his inner MacGyver to work with his subsequent inventions, such as a homemade reflow oven for attaching microchips to circuit boards. He built all the hardware and software for the drones, set up his own online store for do-it-yourself drone builders like himself, and enjoyed substantial profits. He was making good on his business, which was impressive considering that the only aeronautical engineering training he had was from his Mexican high school classes.

Anderson, the former editor of Wired, was impressed with Muñoz’s inventions that the two co-founded 3D Robotics in 2009, all without ever meeting each other in person. In just 2 years, 3D Robotics has made $5 million in gross revenues on all kinds of drones designed with open-source autopilot software. The drones included ready-to-fly Iris quadcopters for beginners and do-it-yourself quad kits for experienced drone enthusiasts.

3D Robotics’ consumers include hobbyists and enthusiasts of drones who love to fly these toys for fun as well as military personnel, athletes, and real estate agents. Indeed, any individual who wants to take aerial views can use these drones since these can be equipped with GoPro cameras in their underbellies.

Muñoz has certainly come a long way from hacking sensors. 3D robotics is now North America’s largest commercial drone manufacturer and the world’s second largest in the industry, with over 200 employees, and a manufacturing plant and two offices.

According to Jonas Piela, co-founder and chief executive officer of Avuba, banking should be a pleasure for everybody engaged in it especially for the clients. His desire to simplify the complex banking practices in Europe encouraged him to co-establish Avuba, a mobile banking company increasingly becoming known for providing one of Europe’s simplest banking experiences.

Piela, a well-known entrepreneur in the competitive banking industry of Europe who lives in Berlin, founded Avuba with Oliver Lukesch and Wilken Bruns in 2013. The mobile banking company uses an app that provides its users with user-friendly yet tech-savvy bank accounts designed to beat the banking bureaucracy. Users can use their bank accounts to send money to their phonebook contacts for free, thus, providing them with an excellent mobile banking service.

With Avuba, Piela wants to bring the next level in excellent mobile banking to the rest of Europe and the world. He consistently pursues his goal, which explains the significant inroads made by Avuba in the global banking industry.

James Proud is on to something with his product, Sense, a sleep tracker that measures several conditions essential for restful sleep including pollen, light, and humidity. With Hello Inc, his connected device company, he is selling Sense to several markets including his target customers – the general population considering that everybody wants restful sleep- and his Kickstarter backers; the retail price will eventually be $129 per piece but his Kickstarter backers can buy it for $99 per unit.

In his mid-20s, he can be considered one of the up-and-coming Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs. Proud, who is a proud former Thiel Fellow, has certainly made sense of his product considering the millions of dollars he continues to raise for funding purposes.

He has raised $13 million – and counting – from various sources, none of which are institutional investors.

His investors include angel investors, a few of which invested a million dollars each, as well as crowdfunding campaigns wherein backers donated money to the company or pre-ordered its product. His circle of backers includes David Marcus, Dan Rose, and Aaron Sittig, most of whom have allowed Proud to retain significant control over Hello Inc. He has tapped into his investors’ extensive network of contacts and comprehensive body of knowledge for his own business interests, thus, explaining Hello’s apparently meteoric rise.

While Proud may not have broken records on Kickstarter, his path of success is giving a few large venture capital companies pause for thought. He has shown that there are more ways to raise millions aside from Sand Hill Road. He has also used Kickstarter’s unique structure to build a highly engaged community that provides feedback on Hello’s product that, in turn, allows its hardware and software specialists to incorporate improvements.

With the mix of angel investors and crowdfunding campaigns, Proud continues to retain significant control over his company that now employs over 20 people. His success will soon make sense.

Jared Hecht was already a successful entrepreneur when he came up with his latest startup – a service called Fundera. He came up with the concept for Fundera when he saw how difficult it was for his cousin to get a loan to start up a small business. In order to help small business owners and potential entrepreneurs get the money they need for their respective businesses, Hecht created a platform where those seeking a loan are matched with lenders that best suit their needs.

Hecht got his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Columbia University. It was during his stay at the university that he became both publisher and managing director of Inside New York. He also gained valuable work experience leading Tumblr’s business development team before he founded GroupMe, a group chat service app that was later on acquired by Skype. Hecht now also serves on the Columbia University Entrepreneurship Organization Advisory Board.