Tag Archives: business

Meet Kyle Ludwig…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Planning meals and eating healthy can be challenging for college students. Sometimes finding the time (and money) to go grocery shopping and cooking your own meals can seem like impossible tasks. Yet, studies show that meal planning can lead to healthier eating habits, a more active lifestyle, and a great amount of savings. If there was a mobile app that could recommend healthy meals that you actually want to eat, provide recipes, and generate grocery lists, while tracking your nutrition progress automatically, would you download it? Kyle Ludwig expects you will, and not just students, but also busy, young professionals. He plans to launch his app, Looma on Indiegogo this coming December. Looma didn’t just happen overnight, and really not even in the last year. Looma has been through many iterations, design concepts, ideas, and names since Kyle came to Tech as a transfer student from Traverse City, MI in 2015.

Kyle joined Pavlis Honors College in 2015 as a Custom Pathway student with a focus on entrepreneurship. His Pavlis mentor and advisor, Jim Baker recalled how far Kyle has come, “Kyle has done an amazing job of developing a network of advisors, mentors, and team members to bring his company through a series of transformations and accomplishments on the path from idea to reality.  Entrepreneurship and taking someone’s ideas into the market requires a constructive balance of persistence and agility which Kyle has exemplified and which will serve him substantially throughout his career and life.” Kyle participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program in 2016 with a very different version of Looma, then called TRU. TRU was merely an idea at that time that focused more on personal medical diagnostics than nutrition and wellness. Kyle’s long-term career goal is still to work on blood diagnostics technology for personal health applications, but Looma has taken him on an unexpected, but welcome detour. “The I-Corp Site Program at Michigan Tech helped me realize the direction for my business by introducing me to processes which inspire product development around the customer.”

Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.
Kyle Ludwig and Adam Weber accepting their check for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition.

Since his participation in I-Corps, Kyle has competed in numerous pitch competitions all over the state of Michigan. He won $1000 for Best Technology at the Bob Mark Elevator Pitch in 2016 and competed in the New Venture Competition at Central Michigan University. TRU was also one of 27 semi-finalists out of 70 student company applicants from across Michigan that was selected to compete for up to $20,000 in cash prizes at the 2016 Accelerate Michigan Competition. While TRU did not walk away with a check, the startup’s founder did gain experience and new ideas for how to improve. Now a 2017 semi-finalist, Kyle will have the chance to compete at the Accelerate Michigan competition again, but this time with Looma.

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Ludwig competing at Accelerate Michigan 2016 in Detroit

Kyle was named University Innovation Fellow (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) last October, along with two other Michigan Tech students. This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. The Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship funded the fellow’s six week online training and their travel to the UIF Silicon Valley Meetup last March. Kyle, along with the other Tech UIFs are committed to creating opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

UIF Meetup in Silicon Valley, March 2017
UIF Meetup in Silicon Valley, March 2017

This past summer, Kyle had the opportunity to intern at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, CA. Ford is currently looking to expand into all modes of transportation. Palo Alto focuses on developing technologies that will come in the next 5-10 years, including working closely with self-driving vehicle technology that’s announced for release in 2021. Through his work with Ford, Kyle was able to collaborate with individuals from IDEO at Greenfield Labs, Stanford University, and Argo. While in Palo Alto, he developed mobile apps to improve efficiency for Ford employees. Kyle also conducted a team study to improve Agile workflow and led groups in patent ideation using the design thinking practices he learned from his UIF training.

Kyle is expected to graduate in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. While he always makes time for his school work, Looma has been monopolizing most of his waking hours. When asked about the anticipated upcoming launch, Kyle responded, “We’ll be on Indiegogo in December, just in time for New Year’s resolutions. Looma will launch for iOS after the campaign in 2018.” If you’d like to learn more about Looma or sign up for the limited iOS pre-release, visit https://livelooma.com/.

 


Michigan Tech Students Win $30,000 at CMU New Venture Competition

By Amy Karagiannakis

Five student teams from Michigan Tech recently traveled to Central Michigan University to compete in the New Venture Competition. The seventh annual New Venture Competition took place on Friday, March 24th and was co-sponsored by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) within the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech. A total of 29 student teams competed: 24 from Central Michigan University, four from Michigan Technological University and one team with members from both universities. Students pitched their businesses to panels of experienced entrepreneurs through three consecutive rounds.

Multi-Dimensional Manufacturing led by Nick Dubeil (Mechanical Engineering) and Morgan Crocker (Scientific and Technical Communication) along with their product, The Metaloid, won Best Overall Venture which comes with $30,000 and a year of mentoring support from Blue Water Angels in Midland.  Dubiel and Crocker were invited to pitch their business for investment to Blue Water Angels at a pitch night the following week as well. Jim Baker, Executive Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement at Michigan Tech, served as Dubiel’s mentor for his participation in the competition. “Nick and Morgan’s success is a great example of the hands-on nature of the Michigan Tech experience and the resourcefulness of students who choose to come here. Their path to winning began when Nick got his hands dirty and built a 3D printer to demonstrate the specific advantages of his ideas over alternatives. They followed their technical validation by leveraging resources within the Pavlis Honors College and the Entrepreneurs Club to develop a compelling, and winning, business model and pitch,” shared Baker.

Photo courtesy of Central Michigan University.
Photo courtesy of Central Michigan University.

The core themes of CMU’s New Venture is the hands-on approach to proving that your product works and providing a business model that demonstrates an understanding of concepts that will attract investors and buyers. Dubiel and Crocker covered both criteria, enabling their win and attracting interested investors in the process. Ron Beebe, principal owner of Euclid Industries and founding member of the Blue Water Angels said, “I think the passion that (Dubiel) has for his product was probably the most significant factor. I invest in people. I think (Dubiel) is very smart, and he’s incredibly passionate about what he’s doing, plus it’s a good product.”

Dubiel developed his own 3D printer when he became frustrated with the inefficiencies of current 3D printing technology. By improving on the nozzle-based material delivery hardware and using temperature-sensing technology, Dubiel says The Metaloid can print eight times faster than conventional 3D printers currently on the market. “I was not expecting to do as well as I did in this (competition),” Dubiel said. “I have a lot of new decisions to make, but it will be fun, because I didn’t anticipate any of this.” He plans to begin selling his product at a price of $3,300.

Dubiel and Crocker participated in Michigan Tech’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Site Program in January. Directed by Mary Raber, Assistant Dean of the Pavlis Honors College, I-Corps is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the proven tools of Customer Discovery and the Business Model Canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies. Michigan Tech will be holding the next I-Corps Site workshop in August.

This is the 7th year of the New Venture competition and the 6th year of Michigan Tech’s partnership with CMU. Last year, Michigan Tech had two category winners and a pitch competition win totaling $21,500 in prizes. Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) within the Pavlis Honors College continues to be an excellent resource for students looking to start their own business or bring new ideas or concepts to the next stage of development. The mission of the Center is to harness the potential of the Michigan Tech campus community to innovate, develop, and implement ideas and inventions by building and maintaining a strong and integrated ecosystem with a cohesive set of entrepreneurial and innovation resources to enable success. Students interested in harnessing their potential to innovate, develop, and implement their ideas and inventions are encouraged to stop in the Pavlis Honors College (M&M 722) to learn more about ICE and all of the resources available to them. A schedule of upcoming student innovator and entrepreneur competitions can be found here.


Silicon Valley to Michigan

GLRCBy Office of Advancement

There will be an open roundtable at noon Wednesday (Oct.26) in GLRC 202. The topic of the roundtable is “Silicon Valley to Michigan—Does the Model Translate?”

This will be an open discussion on business, technology, government and the links between Michigan and California. Automotive, start-ups, app-development – who is taking cues from whom? This roundtable is part of the 14 Floors series.

14 Floors is a series of events and activities designed to build momentum and enable culture change on Michigan Tech’s campus. Core are initiatives focused on fostering entrepreneurism and high-tech innovation—both within the context of a global culture and economy. These activities are cross-disciplinary on and off campus, led by staff and faculty, focused on students and largely enabled by Michigan Tech alumni.