The student entrepreneurs featured here were selected from a pool of more than 40 applicants from across campus to be in the first round of businesses served by the USF Student Innovation Incubator (SII). These students are from the Colleges of Engineering, Business and Arts and Sciences, Morsani College of Medicine and Patel College of Global Sustainability.
Steve Solomon is currently a freshman at the University of South Florida. Steve is originally from Miami FL, and he came to USF to pursue a double major in International Business and Finance. Steve has always been business minded and strived to be a successful entrepreneur, and in April of 2013, he decided to start his own website, Collegebom.com. Steve wanted to create a website that would change every single college and university for the better. He wanted to create a way to make college more affordable, and supplies such as textbooks easily accessible for college students. He also wanted to create a website that would not only make money, but also help small businesses by advertising their products, services, and promotions to the tens of thousands of college students nearby. That is why he decided to pursue Collegebom.
Steve has done much work, and taken on a great business partner, Daniel King, who he has known for over 10 years now. Steve and Daniel hope to one day see Collegebom.com incorporated into every single college and university across the United States.
Daniel King is a freshman at Hillsborough Community College. Daniel is originally from North Lauderdale FL, and he moved to Tampa in August to pursue his dreams of becoming a computer engineer. In late August Collegebom.com was presented to Daniel by Steve Solomon, who is "a geat asscoiate that I've known for 10 years now, and I could not turn down the opportunity to be a part of it." Collegebom.com is a website that will make a student's life much easer, and will also help small businesses thrive across the nation. The main goal is to get Collegebom.com in the position where they are helping millions of college students across the nation on a daily basis.
Collegebom.com is an interactive website where college students can buy, sell, and trade school supplies, electronics, and many other items with other students right at their college or university at an often discounted or significantly reduced price. Collegebom.com is unique in the aspect that it automatically pairs buyers and sellers who prove beneficial to each other, alleviating the tedious online bidding and shopping, the high commission cost of selling online, as well as timely shipping and handling waits while also allowing college students a way to both make as well as save money.
Matthew Jerry, Managing Member, CEO is graduated with a degree in Pre-Medicine; Psychology from Michigan State University. With a background in Entrepreneurial Business in Applied Technology, he is scheduled to graduate with an MS at the University of South Florida in December, 2013. Furthering his education immediately following with a MS in Management Information Systems (MIS) in the fall. At INOVA, he works as lead marketing specialist and Chief Operations Officer. Primarily operating out of the University of South Florida, Tampa area, event coordination and follow up, operational logistics; project follow-up and evaluations. Working on strategy, participating in product development, managing the anticipated growth of the company and interfacing with investors, customers and suppliers.
INOVA (www.inovamarketing.co) is a digital marketing company in Tampa that focuses on social marketing, search marketing, digital video, creative concepts, analytics, email marketing, and mobile marketing.
INOVA marketing encompasses inbound marketing techniques by creating an information-rich website, search engine optimization to ensure that your website is easily found, blog posting to position your company as an expert, downloadable content, social media marketing and email marketing. Inbound marketing refers to marketing strategies in which consumers choose to learn more about you by conducting a keyword search online, subscribing to your RSS feed, downloading your case studies, opting into your email newsletter, watching your videos, listening to your podcasts, increasing fan following and visiting your social network or commenting on your blog. In order to grow smarter and faster than the competition, organizations must maintain powerful and informative websites, participate in social media and continually publish great content through blogs, podcasts, videos, optimized press releases, case studies, white papers, eBooks and articles.
Whether your company is looking to build your online presence from the ground up or expand on what you already have, we offer affordable and innovative media solutions that deliver real, bottom-line results. Tapping into our expertise in HD video production, online marketing, Search Engine Optimization, web development, and graphic design, your project will sail far beyond the rest.
INOVA "will serve as your one stop shop for everything digital. We individualize strategic digital strategies, so your company will feel like you have an entire online marketing team at your disposal. Allow INOVA to be an extension of your team with flexible plans to accommodate to your ever changing needs!"
Michael Schmidt and Ryan Schmidt are co-founders of Kinetic Concepts, LLC and are currently working on developing apps for Android and iPhone including their newest release FindMyClass. Michael has a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science and Ryan is currently finishing his Bachelors in Computer Science. They both have been involved in website development as well as graphic design for Kinetic Concepts and have just recently started expanding the company into the booming phone app market.
Kinetic Concepts' product is an Android and iPhone app called FindMyClass. College students, especially freshman, have trouble finding their classrooms on campus.
FindMyClass allows them to quickly and easily be guided around their college to the location of their choice, rather than looking around campus for some maps and then manually searching through them. With these maps, all of the buildings and locations on campus are easily searchable, and the search bar will even give you suggestions as you are typing. While there are some apps out there that help users navigate around campuses, FindMyClass uses a unique method of showing what direction the building is in rather than turn-by-turn sidewalk directions. This allows users to take the shortest path to a building which may be cutting through a parking garage rather then by following the sidewalks. This app also has several schools in one app, unlike their competitors, so the user can use the same app if they are visiting another school or if they attend multiple schools. "We have set up the structure of the app so we can quickly and easily add schools frequently. Our business venture also has the added benefit of not only knowing who our target market is, but also knowing exactly where they will be. We believe FindMyClass is by far the best campus navigating app out there and we hope to expand it so college students everywhere will never be lost again."
Dez Williams is the founder of AquaMelon Water, LLC, a watermelon consumer goods company. Prior to founding AquaMelon Water Dez held management roles with Philip Morris USA, a consumer goods company, and Arcadis US, an international engineering firm. While at Philip Morris USA Dez implemented marketing programs, executed new product launches, and managed market share in Tampa, FL retail channels.
As an environmental scientist at Arcadis US, Dez consulted Lockheed Martin, the US. Coast Guard, Marathon Pipeline, and many others on environmental remediation and monitoring, risk and impact assessment, public relations, and emergency response priorities.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri Dez attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy prior to earning his bachelors degree in environmental science at Florida A&M university, and is currently enrolled in the MS in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies program at the University of South Florida.
Dez will graduate spring semester 2014.
AquaMelon Water is an authentic, naturally light and hydrating, bottled watermelon juice product line and is the company's flagship consumable product.
Stand with nature. Shop indigenous.
Karina Becerra grew up in Colombia, a country with over a hundred indigenous tribes and the highest rate of species by area unit. Being surrounded by this wealth of cultural and biological diversity sensitized her from an early age to beautiful things. "It was only natural to pursue a Bachelor's degree from Florida International University in Environmental Studies, which offered endless opportunities to poke around the Everglades and tropical Caribbean ecosystems. The years post graduation were some of the most rewarding as I delivered hands-on nature workshops to thousands of children, first in low-income Los Angeles and later in suburban Miami."
More recently Karina had her own two little boys and became an aspiring mompreneur, spending many late nights developing the concept of Fly Tribes, a marketplace that features indigenous goods from around the world. Occasionally she would throw the kids in the baby slings and head on down to South America to visit their partner tribes, buy products, and meet with the local Foundation director. "I felt this was important because we lose a native culture every two weeks, and at the same time knew that 80 percent of the world's biodiversity lies within indigenous territories. In most instances, losing native communities translates to losing nature, and vice versa. The idea of making consumerism a solution to, rather than the cause of, environmental and cultural degradation seemed like synergistic endeavour. "
One day, as she was struggling with the process of Fair Trade certification, and the idea of supply chains and inventory, she had her aha! moment. "I had heard my indigenous friends talk about their right to have access to communications, to link up with the world. Perfect! I thought. I'll provide them with the technology, build the online platform, and focus on connecting local communities, native tribes, and related social entrepreneurs directly with global markets ... and with you!" Karina didn't need to worry about inventory or supply chains because products are sustainably produced on site and shipped directly from her partners to her customers anywhere in the world. As a Graduate Student at the Patel College of Global Sustainability and a new participant in the USF Student Incubator, Karina gets to build the Fly Tribes online marketplace and give the world a chance to stand with nature and shop indigenous.
Mr. Robert Quinlisk (Bob) is co-founder and V.P. of Operations at MedAlign, LLC. Bob is a twenty year Supply Chain professional who has worked for four fortune 500 companies over his career. Over the past six years, Bob was the Director, Supply Chain for one of the largest medical device and equipment manufacturing companies in the world providing him with extensive knowledge of supply chain needs in healthcare. Bob is Six Sigma Green Belt, ISO 9000:2001 Lead Auditor and ISO 13485 Internal Auditor certified. Bob has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University and is currently enrolled in the Executive MBA Program at the University of South Florida.
Mr. Abdoulie Jammeh (AJ) is cofounder and V.P. of Sales and Marketing at MedAlign, LLC. He has extensive background in the U.S. Department of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Environmental Management Service (EMS). Mr. Jammeh is a Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional (CHESP), and a Certified Public Manager (CPM). Mr. Jammeh has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and is currently enrolled in the Executive MBA Program at the University of South Florida - Tampa.
MedAlign's Mission: Improve lives, lower the environmental impact and reduce waste by aligning excess medical supplies with medical needs around the globe.
The medical industry is the 2nd largest contributor to landfills in the U.S. which is having a negative impact on the eco system. Every day, companies, distributors, and hospitals dispose of excess, but usable, medical supplies that contribute to the medical waste stream. MedAlign was created by identifying the need for these usable medical supplies and being able to connect these with demand around the globe to improve a healthier lifestyle while creating a positive impact on the environment.
A student in the College of Engineering, Dain McGlashion is the current president of the USF chapter of NAACP. He was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he had the opportunity to attend William T. Dwyer High School for the Academy of Finance. With encouragement from his parents, peers and mentors, the once introverted Dain took on an optimistic attitude towards speaking and literature. Through adherence to his writing, this young man would soon become a published author to the book Golden Thoughts: Spoken. Nowhere near the pinnacle of his success, he strives to break the boundaries that society has set forth proving that any challenge faced is an opportunity for accomplishment and growth.
TC Venchur provides a medium for the sale of event tickets online, graphic designing services for tickets and photography for events.
Roy Wilber is currently employed at Tampa Port Authority as a senior professional engineer. His education includes the following: Swarthmore College (BSCE), University of Pennsylvania (MSCE), and University of South Florida (MSEM). Roy is enrolled in the MSEAT program at USF. Roy is married with 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
Initially this business will provide two products:
Architectural scale study models produced from CAD drawings. And 3D digital renderings of civil infrastructure and building structures.
The company will concentrate on the human interface of engineering software for civil infrastructure and building structures. Both of these products use a digital workflow to produce the products.
This digital workflow can be used to produce other products and services for unique engineering products. This business will be owned by Roy's wife, Yolanda Wilber. They expect to be certified as Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).
Travis Tyson is a senior at the University of South Florida. He is currently an economics student with a minor in public health. Travis is the co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Swap Shop Mobile. Swap Shop Mobile was created when Travis realized a feature from an application that he previously created had the potential to stand alone as an independent mobile application. Ever since then he and his partners have dedicated many hours to help produce a great product that will allow college students and graduates to buy and sell college textbooks through a mobile device.
Tite Jean-Philippe is a senior currently enrolled at the University of South Florida. He is a computer science and computer engineering student with an additional degree in French and a minor in philosophy. Tite is one of the co-founders and the Senior Vice President in charge of designs at Swap Shop Mobile. He fell in love with the idea of Swap Shop Mobile as soon as he heard the pitch from the CEO. "I remember thinking then, why didn't I have this when I first got to college. Ever since then, we all have been working really hard with limited resources to make this project a reality."
Swap Shop Mobile, We Shop For You.
Swap Shop Mobile (swapshopmobile.com) was created by college students for college students with the purpose of minimizing the cost of textbooks. Swap Shop has developed a unique way to minimize the cost of textbooks that avoids the wait time and shipping charges associated with online textbook shopping. Swap Shop users create profiles to add books via ISBN, title, author or barcode scanner to one of two categories, Want List or Have List. The app then uses its GPS system to generate a map with location markers highlighting all of the users who are currently buying, selling or trading the desired books. These interactive markers provide access to the instant messaging feature, which can be used to negotiate prices and arrange a meeting time and location.
If the desired book is without current activity, the push notification system will alert the user once the book is added by another student. Swap Shop is also equipped with a price comparison tool in order to promote fair pricing. Swap Shop Mobile provides students with a hassle-free way to buy and sell their textbooks at an affordable price from the convenience of their mobile device.
Nathan Preseault graduated from the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida with degrees in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and a minor in Biomedical Physics. Following his graduation he began applying his study of biological and technological systems by creating automated micro-farms, allowing him to produce an abundant supply of organic food without physical interaction. Nathan is currently employed by Impulse Point, a technology company specializing in network access control, where he has played a crucial role in developing scalable software to manage remote systems.
Eric Biel graduated with distinction from the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences at the University of South Florida. He was selected by the university as a Student Success profile to highlight his academic accomplishments, leadership, research, and community engagement. Eric is currently pursuing a Master's in Business Administration at the University of South Florida. He has seven years of professional experience serving as the state's fiscal coordinator of a non-profit program at the University of South Florida. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Hillsborough County's Center of Excellence where he is the Public Relations Chair.
One Global Farm will create a global network of sustainable micro-farms for the purpose of providing people and communities around the world with fresh healthy food.
Chitra Kanagaraj started PikMyKid in May 2013 while waiting in a car line 100 cars deep in the mid-summer Florida heat, and yet her kid was nowhere close to be picked up.
PikMyKid is a technology company founded to solve the current student dismissal conundrum in schools across the nation.
The PikMyKid secured app-based student dispersal tool is a mobile app-based solution for parents with a dispatcher module, and provides school admin/principal real-time reports.
The benefits to the parents are that PikMyKid leverages technology to reduce waiting time for parents, provides an easy and secured method of picking up their children, automatic identification and sequencing of parent's arrival using the latest technology, automatic lookup and grouping of students as per their car pooling schedules, provide a real-time update on the departure status of their children via school bus, and provides a streamlined and secured system to release the students from the walker's dispersal area.
The benefits to the school administration are that it provides a handheld server-based application tool which automatically sequences and displays student data to the dispatch coordinator at the car rider point and provides a real-time handheld updating tool to confirm status of students getting onboard the school bus to parents.
Andrea Little, founder of 1 Apple Grocery, has an intrinsic flair for innovation and creative problem solving. She is a self-learned expert in sales models with vast knowledge of government contracting, program eligibility, and the idiosyncrasies of the food retail industry. Andrea has had outstanding success in building and maintaining relationships and establishing strategic partnerships to increase channel revenue.
Andrea is currently a medical student at the USF Morsani College of Medicine. After obtaining a Bachelor's in Food Science & Human Nutrition, Andrea gained work experience as a nutrition educator for the Women, Infants, & Children program. As co-president of the Advanced Medical Practices in Telemedicine she helped educate K-12 students on the importance of math, science, engineering and technology at the USF Engineering EXPO last spring.
As Sustainability Co-chair of Project World Health, Andrea travelled to Dominican Republic where she helped provide medical care to underprivileged individuals and improve cultural and language competencies among her colleagues. Andrea is a member of the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Business in Medicine Scholarly Concentration. She won the 1st Annual USF Healthcare Innovation/Venture Student Competition and took second place in the 2013 Fintech Business Plan Competition.
When Andrea isn't directing management, taking care of patients, or scrubbing in on surgeries, she enjoys martial arts, is an avid athlete, and a natural explorer.
Hector Angus is operations and sales manager of 1 Apple Grocery. Hector's extensive background in retail, sales, operations, and compliance with government contracts have been instrumental contributions to the success of 1 Apple Grocery. Hector's unrelenting work ethic, ability to establish and meet deadlines, and commitment to see completion of projects are vital assets to sustaining a business like 1 Apple Grocery. Hector offers tested and trusted expertise to cultivate sustainable business practices for families, communities, and profit. Experienced in both web and mobile technologies to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals, Hector has increased sales by over 200 percent since joining the 1 Apple Grocery team.
Hector is an undergraduate student who will receive his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the USF College of Engineering in the Spring of 2014.
He then plans to further his education in the USF Master of Business and Entrepreneurship program.
On a personal level, Hector is a martial artist, loves reading, and the outdoors. His passion for helping others is evident on a day-to-day basis. A native of Ecuador, Hector speaks three languages and has travelled throughout South America and the United States.
1 Apple Grocery is a neighborhood grocery store that specializes in providing access to nutritious foods to underserved areas of Tampa Bay. 1 Apple Grocery is a profitable company in the food retail industry that provides a compassionate and respectful shopping atmosphere to participants of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. The WIC program is a federally and state-funded program that provides supplemental nutritional assistance to families in need.
1 Apple Grocery is contracted to work in collaboration with WIC to provide quality, variety of products, and consistency in services to pre-qualified clients. Situated in a convenient location within walking distance to the Sulphur Springs Department of Health WIC Clinic, 1 Apple Grocery is designed to provide a greater sense of community and allow families to shop with dignity in a safe and friendly environment.
Artricia James-Heard (Administration) is a retired military veteran with over 25 years in administration, operations, human resources, and business development; personal and professional development, training and technical writing, mid-level finance, personnel management, and a Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship from USF.
Michael Heard (Technical Artist and Modeler) is a retired military veteran with over 30 years of experience as an AR video gamer, multi-discipline artist; a Master's Degree in Video game production and development from UCF. Expertise: Art Concept, art production, personnel management, conflict resolution, training and security.
Draeh Studios creates simple, fun, affordable online video games to entertain their customers. They work within their limits, have a strong vision and defend it by staying focused by allowing ideas to emerge into fun, creative games that entertain.
Janice Bader is an international student from London, England, double majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and International Business. Janice is currently a sophomore at the University of South Florida and aspires to build Speech Therapy practices across Africa after graduation. As co-founder and CEO of the company Vascher, Janice works closely with her friend and co-founder Mitcheld.The idea for the student laundry service, Vascher, came after Janice and Mitcheld noticed how crowded the dorm laundry room was and how time-consuming doing laundry became. The two friends wanted to create a fast, effortless way of doing laundry that was affordable for all students.
Mitcheld Gustama is currently an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in Biomedical Studies. Mitcheld is originally from Orlando, Florida and chose the University of South Florida for its renowned medical programs, in hopes of ultimately becoming a psychiatrist. Mitcheld is a co-founder and CFO of the company.
Vascher is a pick-up and delivery laundry service catered to students who live on campus and in nearby student housing. Customers will be provided with two laundry bags (one for darks and one for brights) which they will collect once a week and return within 24 hours.
The customer can use their smartphone app and/or the website to specify the date, time, and location of the laundry pick-up. Vascher's services include washing, drying, folding, ironing, and spot removals. Students do not have to drop off or pick up any laundry, as the service is focused on delivery. In the busy life of a college student, Vascher understands the importance of time and how helpful laundry on-the-go can be.
Nicole Barnett Reynolds is an Assistant Vice President at a major financial institution. She received her undergraduate degree from New York University. She is scheduled to graduate with the Class of 2015, from the Executive MBA Program.
Nicole grew up on the beautiful island of Jamaica, where the culture is based on a natural way of living. Her Dad has always been a firm believer in natural remedies. He would create natural products from plants that grew abundantly in their home garden for hair and skin care. When Nicole relocated to the United States she began to experience extreme hair breakage and severe dry scalp due to the chemicals in products used in the Hair Salons.
Nicole decided to maintain her hair without the use of harsh salon chemicals. Feeling compelled to develop a solution to keep her hair looking healthy and beautiful, she was led to the create the “Queen of Nature” product line.
Queen of Nature was created to increase moisture absorption and retention for severely dry hair and dry scalp, promote hair growth, and reduce breakage due to brittle and over processed hair. Queen of Nature is an all natural, 100% organic hair care product line developed for women that maintain the natural texture of their hair without the aid of commercial hair processing chemicals.
3802 Spectrum Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33612-9220
30338 USF Holly Dr.
SII Contact Email:
Dez Williams, Co-Founder of
USF Student Innovation Incubator
Telephone: (813) 728-8541
Keosha Poole, Co-Founder of
USF Student Innovation Incubator
Telephone: (863) 651-1461