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OU Senior aims to take the legwork out of equity crowdfunding compliance with Crowdentials

As an entrepreneurship/business management senior at Ohio University, and the president of the school’s Entrepreneurship Club, Richard Rodman has started two successful companies during his studies. Most recently, he noticed the need for some guidance in the crowdfunding trend.

So Rodman first started 530Funds in November 2012, a search engine and news site for the crowdfunding industry. “It was really hard to sift through Google to find the right platform,” he says.

But Rodman quickly realized the real need was in helping users navigate the forthcoming SEC regulations on equity crowdfunding and make sure they are compliant while raising money for their cause. Individuals, investors and crowdfunding platforms must comply with these regulations.
 
That’s when Rodman came up with Crowdentials. “Crowdentials is regulatory software for the rules SEC has created,” he explains. “It’s a simple web form -- kind of like TurboTax -- where you can cross-reference to see if you comply.”
 
Crowdentials helps take the legwork out of fundraising. Through the site and one form, investors, businesses and crowdfunding platforms ensure they are in compliance while raising money or investing in a new company. “We take care of compliance; you take care of business,” says Rodman says. “Businesses shouldn’t have to waste their time researching all the regulations.”
 
Crowdentials was accepted into the inaugural FlashStarts program, run by Charles Stack and Jennifer Neundorfer, this summer. Rodman says there was an “instant connection” in the interview process. “I think it’s going to do a lot,” he says of the program, adding that he enjoys working with the mentors and interns on hand and bouncing ideas off the other entrepreneurial teams.
 
Rodman has two partners.

 
Source: Richard Rodman
Writer: Karin Connelly

The Innovation Awards recognize SE Ohio entrepreneurs and innovators

The Innovation Awards, a regional celebration of entrepreneurship and creative innovation, honored eight southeastern Ohio entrepreneurs and innovators last month for their advances in business and technology.
 
Hosted by TechGROWTH Ohio, 46 finalists from across Appalachian Ohio attended the inaugural event, administered by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The event was organized in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the TechGROWTH Ohio program, a public/private partnership that delivers operational assistance to startups.
 
Andrea Gibson, Director of Research Communications at Ohio University’s Research and Technology Center, details six different categories: Entrepreneur of the Year, Outstanding Woman In Innovation, Social Innovation, Green Innovation, Outstanding Faculty In Innovation, and Outstanding Student In Innovation. Gibson continues, saying the diversity in award categories was part of the event’s goal to “acknowledge innovation throughout southeast Ohio.”
 
Finalists were chosen through a nomination process at gala.ohio.edu, and judges made their decisions using specific criteria, also listed at the website.
 
·      Entrepreneur of the Year: Francesca Hartop, Yost Engineering, Inc.
·      Outstanding Woman In Innovation: Kelly McCall, assistant professor of endocrinology
·      Social Innovation: Brad Mitchell, Ohio Appalachian Collaborative
·      Green Innovation: Geoff and Michael Greenfield, Third Sun Solar
·      Outstanding Faculty In Innovation: Jason Trembly, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Ohio University
·      Outstanding Student In Innovation: Huiwen Cheng, Ohio University doctoral student in chemistry
 
In addition, two individuals were selected by the Ohio University Foundation for the Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, named after distinguished Ohio University (OU) alumnus and entrepreneur, Wilfred Konneker. Recipient David Scholl grew Diagnostic Hybrids from a four-person stratup to the Inc. 500 list during his tenure as president and CEO. John Kopchick, a Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and OU professor of molecular biology, developed the FDA-approved drug, Somavert. Besides benefiting thousands of patients, the drug has additionally generated significant licensing income for the university.
 
Based on the reception, Gibson says Ohioans can expect to see the Innovation Awards back in 2014. “We were very pleased with how the first event unfolded,” she says. “I know we’re looking forward to doing the event again next year, and we’re hoping even more people from the region get involved.”
 

Source: Andrea Gibson
Writer: Joe Baur

Ohio zoos get serious about green energy, boast country's largest solar canopy

Conservation has always been a major concern for zoos, from habitat conservation to protecting animal populations with dwindling numbers. Two Ohio zoos, though, are leading the way into another branch of conservation--energy conservation.
 
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens and the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium have both made headlines in the last two years for their green technology efforts, investing millions while enlisting help from the state's green industry to become leaders in the field.
 
Over the past five years, the Cincinnati Zoo has invested $1 million in energy improvements, upgrading 73 buildings--including elevating five to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and other initiatives like switching to energy-saving LED lights for its annual holiday display.
 
The biggest splash in the Ohio zoo green movement is just starting to pay off, though. Earlier this year, the zoo completed construction on an $11 million, four-acre, 15-foot high "solar canopy" that covers 800 spaces in its parking lot. The system, billed as the largest, publicly accessible urban solar array in the country, consists of 6,400 panels that generate 1.56 megawatts--providing nearly 20 percent of the zoo's energy requirements.
 
Along with saving the zoo millions in energy costs, the project also includes education benefits. It funds 10 scholarships at Cincinnati State's Green Workforce Development Program and includes an onsite kiosk that shows the array's performance and extolls the virtue of solar energy. The zoo began using the array in April, soon after completion.
 
Melink Corp., owned by green technology activist Steve Melink, designed the structure and served as developer. It also secured the financing for the array, and will operate the array for the zoo. The Milford-based company jumped onto the "green bandwagon" early, specializing in high-efficiency restaurant exhaust systems since 1987 before moving into solar projects over the past decade.
 
Thane Maynard, executive director of the zoo, said there was no better place to showcase solar technology.
 
"As the greenest zoo in America, there is no better place to showcase this technology and to help the public understand that not only is this technology the right thing to do for our energy future," he said, "but it makes absolute financial sense as well."
 
The Cincy Zoo might have a battle on its hands for the "greenest" title, though.
 
Just up I-71, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium announced in October plans for a solar array to surpass its Cincinnati counterpart. Construction starts next year. 
 
"We're excited about the solar array," says zoo director of planning Barbara Revard. "Everything's still in the planning stages, but I think we're comfortable in saying that we think it will be somewhere between a 2.5-to-3 megawatt system."
 
Taking the lead in the project is Athens-based Third Sun Solar, one of the state's fastest-growing solar firms. Founded in 2000 by the aptly named Geoff and Michelle Greenfield and operating out of the Innovation Center at Ohio University, the company has become a regional leader in implementing solar technology. It's been named to Inc. magazine's “Inc. 5,000" for three years in a row.
 
The planned solar array isn’t the only trick in Columbus zoo's green hat, however. Three years ago, it opted to utilize geothermal technology in another of its projects, the Polar Frontier exhibit. Opening this past May, the $20 million exhibit circulates 300,000 gallons of water to a tank that serves as home to polar bears. The mostly underground system keeps the water at a constant chilled temperature, using a fraction of the energy of other options.

The zoo has also "gone green" in other areas, from pioneering use of new Flux Drive pump products that have led to a 40 percent reduction in energy costs, to recently installing "smart skylights" in one of its buildings.
 
The skylights, produced by Ciralight Global out of Corona, Calif., consist of motorized mirrors and sensors that rotate the mirrors to catch sunlight and reflect it inside, where its needed. The result is an electricity-independent, natural light source that provides better light at less cost.

"We joke that we're finding things in the warehouse that we didn't even realize were there," says Revard.
 
Columbus-based Energy Solutions Group worked with the zoo on bringing the "flux drive" and skylights into the fold.
 
Both the Cincinnati and Columbus zoos are leaders in implementing green technology, but they're far from alone. Every few months, representatives from all Ohio's zoos get together to talk about moving toward more environmentally friendly initiatives. The group, called the Ohio Zoo Green Consortium, consists of about 30 representatives from around the state, said Revard.
 
"The fun thing for us all is working together and talking about what we're doing, what's working well and what's next," said Revard. "It's our hope that we can not only share that information with other zoos in Ohio, but also serve as a model to zoos outside the state."

Billion dollar pothole problem might have a simple solution

Damaged roads with gaping potholes from freezing winter time temperatures--that later thaw in springtime and crack when they expand--are a billion dollar problem for both local and federal government agencies. Not to mention the annoyance and money spent by any Ohioan who’s ever hit a pothole and damaged a tire from the dreaded concrete pits.
 
But help is on the way, according to Dr. Sang-Soo Kim of Ohio University, who thinks he’s come up with the solution that he now sells commercially through his company EZ Asphalt Technology LLC, founded in 2007.

Kim, an associate professor of civil engineering at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, has developed a method of testing asphalt binder--the sealant used to help repair highways that is highly susceptible to cold weather--called Asphalt Binder Cracking Device (ABCD). The device can be used by highway engineers to more accurately determine an asphalt’s cracking temperature, leading to stronger roads that don’t need repairs as often.

“People like this because it is a simple process,” says Kim of the commercially viable testing device that will give the asphalt industry a new standard for testing road surfaces.

The testing works by placing asphalt binder material in the ABCD ring and then cooling the device in a refrigerator chamber. A computer monitor attached to the ABCD ring shows the exact temperature where the binder begins to crack, giving accurate measurement of how it would perform on a real road, says Kim. The knowledge would lead to improved pavement structure that would help lessen the number of potholes in the road.

Kim worked with Enterprise Appalachia to bring his idea to market after receiving a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

He estimates that his company will grow rapidly as it reaches out to 2,500 potential customers in six market segments in both the U.S. and Canada.

g-g-g-Global Cooling provides the deep freeze biomedical companies are looking for

An Athens-based company is primed to make a dent in the billion-dollar high performance cooling product market using an engine that's been around for almost 200 years.

Global Cooling LLC, a 16-year-old former engineering firm, is now producing ultra-low freezers for use in the biomedical field not only is based on green technology, but also promises huge savings.

The high-efficiency freezers, which keep its cargo as cold as -121 degrees Fahrenheit, are the first of their kind.

"If you go into a large bio-repository, or a hospital or a large pharmaceutical facility, you'll see a large number of ultra-low freezers employed for long-term storage of biological samples," explains Bill White, the company's director of marketing. "In some cases, you can find 400 or 600 of them at one place."

Global Cooling's new freezers perform the same task more uniformly, more quietly and at a fraction of the energy usage. They also use no oil, unlike traditional cooling products.

"Depending on the kilowatt-per-hour rate, it takes from $1,200-$2,000 a year just to operate (traditional units). What our ultra-low freezers do cuts the cost of that by about half. That's a serious benefit that is going to land on someone's bottom line."

Started in 1995 in Athens as an engineering firm, the company was primarily focused on patenting cooling technology that helped slow ozone layer depletion. Soon after, it determined Stirling engines, a 19th-Century invention that had been employed in steam engines, could be modernized as an improvement over the current technology.

The company began producing its own cooling products, culminating in the most recent model, which is now rolling off production lines. With investment from Ohio Third Frontier's Entrepreneurial Signature Program and TechGROWTH Ohio, it expanded its facility in Athens earlier this year. Its first three coolers off the new production line were delivered to Ohio University's Innovation Center last week, for use in its laboratories.

"It came full circle -- the university was involved in the early stages, helping with the business planning, and now they turned around and purchased the first three units off the line," says White.

Orders are already pouring in from bio-science companies both here and worldwide, and Global Cooling has a big future thanks to the innovation, he adds. The company expects to add 70 jobs over the next couple of years, most of them on the technical side.

Source: Bill White, Global Cooling LLC
Writer: Dave Malaska

Volunteer effort to thwart child abuse leads to possible multimillion dollar business

A volunteer effort to help prevent child abuse was the starting point for a what could become a multi-million dollar business for David Allburn.

A retired Air Force engineer, Allburn, 70, worked in counter intelligence during the Vietnam War era, and founded the Safe Harbor Foundation to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse about 10 years ago in Glouster.  The organization required its volunteers to be fingerprinted, but reliable, affordable, convenient methods of fingerprinting were not readily available.

That led Allburn to invent one.  Originally set up as part of his non-profit group, the fingerprinting was identified as a commercially viable idea, and he received $10,000 in grant money from the state of Ohio Third Frontier and help from Ohio University’s business school to get the venture rolling in 2009.

Today, National Fingerprint, uses “self capture packs” that are administered in the field by a network of contracted civilians, often notaries, who collect dozens of fingerprints that are mailed overnight to National Fingerprint’s lab in Glouster, which then selects the highest quality prints to forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab for cross checking. 

The whole process takes just a couple of days, and costs an organization less than $300 per individual.  Previously, fingerprinting meant trips to a police station or similar official office.  It could then take weeks to get results.

“Our niche market is really VIPs who need quick, accurate fingerprinting,” says Allburn.  “We offer concierge service, so these executives don’t ever have to leave their office.  They can have results in just a couple of days.”

Many types of businesses that work with financial or government transactions require fingerprinting of each executive in the chain of command, says Allburn.  His fingerprint product is one of the only easy-to-use options for these applications.

Background check companies also distribute the packs so businesses can use them to help screen new hires or other workers.

Allburn says he expects $1 million in revenue in the next year, and foresees it as a $10 million business in the next five years in the fast growing security sector.  He has four employees now, but anticipates hiring a dozen more by the end of 2012.  These will be primarily lab technicians and will all be disabled veterans, he says.

Source: David Allburn, National Fingerprint
Writer: Val Prevish


OU prof working on ways to understand those who cannot speak or move

Imagine how frustrating it would be if you could not let family members and friends know that you understood what they were saying to you.

That is the dilemma that many stroke and brain injury victims face each day.

Brooke Hallowell, a professor of communications sciences and disorders at Ohio University in Athens, is working to make it possible for medical professionals and communication therapists to assess a person's language comprehension even when the individual cannot speak or move.

She is working with Hans Kruse, professor of information and telecommunication systems, and LC Technologies to produce technology known as Eyetracking Comprehension Assessment System, or ECAS, that allows a clinician to evaluate a person's ability to understand questions or commands based on eye movement.

Twenty years in development, ECAS has just completed a phase I project with $700,000 in funding from the National Institutes for Health. The research is about to enter phase II and could be ready for commercial application within a few years, says Hallowell.

This technology could provide significant quality of life boosts for victims of stroke, brain injuries or individuals with congenital brain dysfunctions by allowing them to participate more fully in their treatment, to live at home instead of in an institution or to socialize more.

The system works by using infrared light to monitor eye movement and check for fixation on certain images shown on a screen while a clinician communicates questions or commands.

"When the eyes remain focused on a particular area you can measure comprehension," says Hallowell. "You have to have stable eye movement to see things."

Although eye tracking technology has been used in other areas, such as research on how healthy individuals perform tasks, such as driving, piloting a plane or using certain products, it has not been developed to help with victims of brain injuries before now.

"Knowing how much a person understands is critical for many things in their life," says Hallowell. "Now we can get a better picture of that."

Source: Brooke Hallowell, Ohio University
Writer: Val Prevish



Sanuthera's innovative ear buds offer hope to tinnitus sufferers

For people who suffer from tinnitus, or an uncontrollable ringing in the ears, finding relief from the disorder can be frustrating and expensive.

That frustration is something Ohio University clinical affairs director Jeffery DiGiovanni and Chillicothe VA Chief Audiologist Stephen Rizzo Jr., know well through their work with sufferers. The duo's compassion and ingenuity led them to create a new device that uses readily available MP3 technology to alleviate the ringing.

They have created wireless ear buds -- that also double as a hearing aid device -- that wirelessly streams sounds from an iPod-like player designed to play customized sounds that counteracts the buzz.

"We're deeply entrenched in hearing aid technology," DiGiovanni said. "Many people who suffer from tinnitus also use hearing aids, and we were both disappointed in the inability for manufacturers to come up with a device that would serve the needs of tinnitus sufferers in an elegant manner."

The ear buds have been developed through DiGiovanni's and Rizzo's company Sanuthera. DiGiovanni is understandably vague on the types of sounds developed, but says it's an improvement on traditional music or other generated sounds. They were created with the specific knowledge of the human auditory system to maximize the therapeutic effect The sounds can be customized to individuals, and downloaded through an audiologist to a user's personal MP3 device.

This spring the company received a boost with $337,000 in VC funds from TechGROWTH Ohio, an entrepreneur service provider and investor organization created through Ohio Third Frontier.

The funds will allow Sanuthera to speed up its prototype manufacturing, which is in process now. The company will soon under FDA testing and hopes to have the product to market by the second quarter of 2012.

Source: Jeffery DiGiovanni, Sanuthera
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites http://www.twitter.com/feoshiawrites


WIN's fledgling wellness app designed to help folks follow a healthy diet

Andrea Trgovcich puts her stomach where her business is. Sort of.

The principal and founder of the Youngstown-based Wellness Integrated Network (WIN) even lost weight while testing her Web and mobile-based application; whether or not she lost sleep is unknown.

"My daughter and I are 'soft' testing this new system. We've both lost weight on it because of the pre-diabetic style of eating, which is six times per day. It's working for both of us and we're not pre-diabetic," says Trgovcich.

The WIN application tracks patients' or consumers' dietary consumption and recommends meals and activities based on medical history, lifestyle, cooking ability, available time and preferences. WIN organizes nutritional data, creates family meals (short of cooking, that is), and collects research data. Trgovcich says the three-year-old startup will target the medical field, but the applications are broader than that.

"It (WIN) has the capability to deal with any kind of nutritional aspect. It could be for an athlete training for a marathon or someone who needs to eliminate certain things from their diet. Or it could be a lifestyle choice," says Trgovcich. "Follow-on phases include grocery store and restaurant integration . . . We're tracking by a simple green, yellow and red light system: if you did it, if you substituted, or you skipped altogether."

"We got some interest right away from people who wanted to invest and thought it was a great idea. We applied to be a YBI portfolio (Youngstown Business Incubator) company right after that." Trgovcich is also getting help from JumpStart in Cleveland for advice on selecting a CEO, a search that is ongoing.

WIN is currently recruiting 40 to 50 patients ages 11-15 for a pilot in partnership with Humility of Mary Health Partners and Ohio University Osteopathic Medical School.

"We want the results published in an official, peer-reviewed journal. We're not just doing a 'proof of technology' at this point."

We are recruiting currently 40-50 patients (children ages 11-15Source: Andrea Trgovcich, Wellness Integrated Network
Writer: Patrick G. Mahoney


Interthyr targets tough-to-treat diseases from Athens headquarters

Approaching retirement after 36 years at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Leonard Kohn decided he wasn't quite finished with his goal to improve life for people suffering from tough-to-treat diseases.

That's why he founded Interthyr Corporation in Athens to develop tests and medicines for endocrine diseases, autoimmune-inflammatory diseases and cancer. The company got its start with a $900,000 Ohio Technology Action Fund grant. He moved from Maryland to Athens, Ohio to set up a research laboratory at Ohio University. There he continued the work he'd started at a nonprofit research foundation he helped start in Maryland.

"I had reached the possibility of retirement at NIH, and wanted to do something useful in terms of development of a product for translational medicine," or turning research into something that could make a difference in patient's lives, Kohn said. "I decided the Edison Biotechnology Institute and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine afforded me an opportunity to pursue those goals."

Interthyr Corporation specializes in research related to dozens of endocrine and autoimmune-inflammatory diseases including diabetes, Graves' Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as cancer. The company is also conducting research in certain equine diseases.

In 2008, the nine-person company moved to the Ohio University Innovation Center.

Interthyr Corporation, along with Athens-based Diagnostic Hybrids, recently developed Thyretian, which detects the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism directly linked to Graves' disease.

"(Thyretian) is a gold standard, and is commercialized within the United States and now moving abroad," Kohn said.

The company's work has drawn a $2.6 million grant to develop a new drug that could treat pancreatic cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Source: Leonard Kohn, Interthyr Corp.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites

OVALS conference nears

Cincinnati will be hosting some of the area's leading experts in life science research and entrepreneurship next month, with an eye toward boosting the Ohio Valley's profile in the field.

The ninth annual OVALS (Ohio Valley Affiliates of Life Sciences) conference will bring scientists and research executives from universities of Cincinnati, Kentucky and Louisville, Ohio University and Marshall University together with entrepreneurs and investors to highlight regional initiatives, its success stories and up-and-coming start-ups.

The two-day conference begins April 14 at Cincinnati's Kingsgate Mariott Hotel.

"The conference is a great opportunity to bring together the right mix of scientists and investors," says Dorothy Air, an OVALS chair, associate vice president for entrepreneurial affairs at the University of Cincinnati and vice president of operations with CincyTech. "Networking is a big part of it, but so is just conversation. Scientists and universities don't always know what's going on elsewhere, and how their work relates to others' work."

Speakers include a keynote address from University of Kentucky President Lee F. Todd Jr., a former engineering professor and entrepreneur, along with experts in regulatory issue, clinical trial issues and ushering ideas from the drawing board to the market.

Some of the group's success stories will also be highlighted. David Scholl, president and CEO of Athens-based Diagnostic Hybrids, will talk about those successes as a blueprint for others to follow.

The conference, OVALS' signature event, is expected to draw more than 100 attendees. Since the first conference  was held in 2002, the group has grown from a small network of research and medical universities to include the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, CincyTech, the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership and Cleveland Clinic's Global Cardiovascular Innovation group. Affiliates work together, sharing information and resources and drawing more than $650 million annually in basic and applied research funding to the Ohio Valley.

Source: Dorothy Air, OVALS
Writer: Dave Malaska

OU professor’s anti-cancer compound could revolutionize treatments

Rathindra Bose has been looking for a better anti-cancer drug for nearly 30 years. Now, his discovery of a compound that beats back ovarian cancer in mice without the toxicity, weight loss and hair loss of other drugs has been snapped up by a New York biomedical company for possible commercialization.

Bose, professor of biomedical sciences at Ohio University in Athens, as well as VP of research and dean of the graduate college, says continued testing on the new class of anti-cancer compounds will continue for at least a year before clinical testing in humans can take place. But he's excited by the prospects of a new treatment for cancer patients whose options are currently limited.

Bose's new compounds, called phosphaplatins, are a combination of phosphate and platinum. The three most widely used anti-cancer drugs also contain platinum, but can have devastating side effects, including liver disease, he says. Consequently, doses typically must be kept low, he says.

Most platinum-based drugs work by killing cancer cells directly by binding with the DNA inside a cell's nucleus, he says. But, they also react with vital enzymes, causing toxic side effects.

Phosphaplatins are designed to promote tumor suppression genes within the body rather than to kill cancer cells directly. Because they do not bind with a cell's DNA, they do not appear to carry the toxic effects of most platinum-based drugs, he says.

"With mice, there has been no hair loss that we have seen," Bose says." They're as playful as normally we see for the control group. And, they don't lose their appetite as compared to other platinum drugs."

Ohio University has licensed Bose's new class of compounds to Phosplatin Therapeutics, which is paying $600,000 for further experiments leading, all hope, to eventual commercialization.

While Bose says the new compounds may have applications for other forms of cancer, his team has focused on ovarian cancer because later stages of that disease are so difficult to treat with current drugs.

Source: Rathindra Bose, Ohio University
Writer: Gene Monteith

Athens image-sharing startup boosted by world events

From an office at a business incubator in southeastern Ohio, Alan Schaaf's barely two-year-old tech company is involved in the people-vs.-president drama unfolding in Egypt -- albeit passively.

Schaaf is founder and the only fulltime employee of Imgur (pronounced like "imager"), a site to share pictures across social networks, blogs, and online communities for free. The recent OU graduate and a part-timer work from the Ohio University Innovation Center in Athens.

Every day over 100,000 people use Imgur to upload innocuous things like snapshots of dogs, clever cartoons and graphics of all sorts. They make their visuals accessible via Imgur's gallery as well as Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and Google.

But sometimes, as has happened lately, there's a reminder why there's a "world" in www.

Schaaf says Imgur usually has about 3,000 visits per week from people in Egypt. Recently, despite riots and interruption of Internet and related network services, that number dipped to 500.

Uploads related to the unrest have included things like screen captures of Al Jazeera's coverage of damage at the Egyptian National Museum, pictures of Egyptians holding tear gas canisters, posters that say "Mubarak Must Go" and related sentiments, and a typewritten letter, purportedly from inside Egypt, protesting the communications blackouts and urging freedom of speech.

Even before this, Time magazine's "Newsfeed" service spotlighted Imgur's top 10 images of 2010 in a story, and called Imgur "repository of all things meme-y and click-y."

Schaaf declined to discuss his company's revenue, but said "it's profitable enough to hire a full time employee or two in the coming months. The plan is to grow the company and expand its online reach as a social entertainment site."

Source: Alan Schaaf, Imgur
Writer: Gabriella Jacobs

Athens-based Sunpower shoots for the stars with super-efficient engine technology

Athens-based Sunpower soon could see its super-efficient engine technology blast into the heavens though a partnership with NASA.

Sunpower founder William Beale, a former Ohio University professor, developed Sunpower's signature Stirling engine – a free-piston Stirling engine that will run for 100,000 hours without stopping – that's been the basis for the company's cryo-coolers, engines and compressors. Beale developed the technology in the 1970s, but it's been refined over decades.

Sunpower's cryocoolers have long cooled down highly sensitive sensors, including medical devices, nuclear material detection devices and their engines have been developed for solar, biomass, diesel, and natural gas generators. But recently the company has set its sights higher, into space to be exact, through a partnership with NASA that will launch Sunpower technology into deep space.

"When we started, this technology had just been invented, now we have commercial cryocoolers products and engines designed for space applications," company CEO and president Mark Schweizer said. "Our engineering services today are all around NASA. Going forward we're developing engines for terrestrial applications (solar power generation and critical remote power) for commercial customers."

Under the joint sponsorship of NASA and the Department of Energy, Sunpower is helping developed a high-efficiency Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator (or ASRG) for future NASA Space Science and Exploration missions.

Sunpower is developing two Advanced Stirling Convertors (ASCs), operating at a hot-end temperature of 650 degrees Celsius for the ASRG. It's a joint project, along with Lockheed Martin and the NASA Glenn Research Center  of Cleveland.

The company's work with NASA has fueled expansion. Sunpower has grown 32 percent in the last two years, and now employs 71. Many of the employees are engineers and technicians, many who have been recruited from Ohio University and nearby Hocking College respectively.

Source: Mark Schweizer, Sunpower
Writer: Feoshia Henderson


State's first university-business incubator making a difference 26 years later

Ohio's first university-business incubator is going strong, 26 years after becoming one of only 20 in the country.

While Ohio University's Innovation Center has evolved, its basic mission remains the same: To make an impact on local jobs and economic growth. So far, so good.

At a time when unemployment remains at troubling levels, three start-ups at the Innovation Center created 378 jobs and 16.9 million in income in 2008. Workers contributed $1.5 million in local tax revenue.

Among those start ups is Got Game Media, a tech firm that markets athletic recruiting software for coaches and sports teams.

"In this economy, people are becoming more innovative and entrepreneurial. They're creating jobs rather than seeking them. The university and the community are working hard to offer them support," says Jennifer Simon, Innovation Center director.

Launched in 1983, the Innovation Center was the state's first university-based small business incubator, and the nation's 20th. It currently has an 11-company portfolio, and operates out of a modern, 36,000 sq. ft. office and lab facility that opened in 2003.

Start-ups also have the support of the university's bioscience and alternative energy research, and the University's Technology Transfer Office that moves inventions from the research lab into the market.

The center hired its first Executive in Residence this year to give clients one-on-one attention, thanks to a recent Ohio Department of Development grant. And a city, county, university partnership, The Athens County Economic Council, launched Business Remixed to attract entrepreneurs.

Source: Ohio University Director of Research Communications Andrea Gibson
Writer: Feoshia Henderson







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