The University of Oregon and the Lundquist College of Business have always been known for their enterprising and entrepreneurial culture. And recent activities continue to expand that tradition, with several student startups achieving success and recognition as the college's Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship increasingly becomes of a cross-campus hub for new ventures.
Here are just a few of the recent student ventures and startups that leveraged the Lundquist Center as a launch pad:
- Chromatec, started by undergraduate students Nick Capaldini and Rishika Krishna, is a hands-free, non-electric toxic gas detection meter for first responders.
- Algotek, cofounded by undergrads Tyler Young, David Crinnion, Tanner Stickling, and Justin LeBuhn, is a 100 percent biodegradable algae-based plastic alternative focused on disrupting the packaging industry.
- Trail Supply Co., successfully launched by undergraduate Spencer Holton, provides a resupply service for long-distance hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and John Muir Trail.
- Bliss Northwest Bridal, successfully launched online and in Bend, Oregon, by Jennifer Albertson, class of 2017, offers a decidedly millennial approach to weddings with a full-service showroom, shop, and planning enterprise.
- Wildwood Towers, founded by Keenan Hoar ’17 while still in school, launched online in March 2018 after success in the university bookstore’s startup accelerator program. Wildwood makes an eye-catching beverage tower made of wood and glass.
- Feros Freight Innovations, launched by Oregon MBA students Michael Chisholm, Nha Ha, and Jedidiah Womack, developing a hybrid-powered trailer to the freight industry that reduces fuel cost and helps meet increasing regulations.
In the past few months, both Chromatec and Trail Supply Co. advanced to the round of 32 in the nationwide Student Startup Madness competition, which culminated at SXSW. Only UO and Northwestern had two teams in the final 32. Trail Supply's Holton was also accepted into Portland's prestigious, founders-only Starve Ups organization, which has an 82 percent survival/success rate among its 110 membership companies. Holton is the youngest member ever accepted into the Starve Ups accelerator, whose membership includes founders from other current and past startups out of the Lundquist College of Business: Sohr, Blue Dog Mead, Red Duck Foods, NemaMatrix, Cowbucker, Hallspot, Cricket Flours, ROAM Fitness, RumbleFish, and more. The Lundquist College recently announced a new partnership with Starve Ups to enhance student exposure to the startup community through internships, networking events, and a three-day boot-camp.
Chromatec, meanwhile, was also a finalist in St. Louis University's 2017 Real Elevator Pitch Competition, as well as TiE's 2017 PitchOregon competition. Notably, a startup from the college’s Oregon MBA program, TOUGHER, a new brand of women's workwear, won PitchOregon and $50,000 from TiE in 2016.
And Algotek has been invited to compete at TechFestNW's PitchFestNW competition. TechFestNW is the Pacific Northwest's leading technology and innovation conference, which showcases startups from around the world. Algotek is also a finalists in the Values and Ventures Competition, April 5-7, at Texas Christian University (TCU).
In other college startup news:
- Feros Freight Innovations successfully competed at the SCG Bangkok Business Challenge in Thailand in February 2018, earning Best Presentation and Best Business Plan awards.
- Sohr Performance + Nutrition Inc., cofounded by Joey Jaraczewski, MBA ’17, now offers a plant-based protein shake made with organic hazelnuts. It is on grocery store shelves in Eugene and Portland.
- TOUGHER was selected by Portland Business Journal as 1 of 15 startups to watch in 2018. The startup also won the “In the Running” Pitch Competition at the 8th Annual Athletic & Outdoor Industry Celebration.
- Skyward, a drone management software firm founded by a group of UO students, two pilots, and a UO professor, was acquired last year by Verizon.
- Nine University of Oregon undergrad students experienced SXSW in Austin, Texas, March 9-18, with Kate Harmon, undergraduate program manager for the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. The goal is to bring back experiences and ideas for the University of Oregon's second annual Innovation Summit in fall 2018.
"Innovation and entrepreneurship are stronger than ever at the University of Oregon," noted Harmon. "It's inspiring to see and be part of the ideas and energy of our students. From the first UO Innovation Summit to the Sustainable Immersion Week, QuackHatch, and more, we are advancing the culture of innovation across campus, connecting students with the tools, knowledge, and networks to help bring their ideas to reality."