RAIN @ UO Spring 2017 Update

RAIN @ UO updates are provided by Andrew Nelson, Associate VP for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Oregon.

Entrepreneurs with ties to the University of Oregon have spent the spring working very hard toward their startup goals. Here are some of their highlights:

  • In April, we hosted the 26th Annual New Venture Championship in Portland, one of the world’s premier venture competitions. Whittled down from dozens of submissions, 16 semi-finalist graduate student teams competed over three days. Intelligent Flying Machines, a startup from Northwestern University, ultimately won first place.
  • This year, we also introduced a statewide undergraduate track and a YEBW (high school) track, each of which engaged new populations of students and proved very popular.
  • Our MBA startups continue to garner national attention. Notably, Skyward IO announced its acquisition by Verizon, while ROAM Fitness was featured on Jimmy Fallon and the NBC Nightly News.
  • MBA startup Tougher, which makes work gear for women, launched its garden gloves in February and continues to beta test its work pants offering.
  • Wildwood Towers and Sypht (both undergraduate-led startups) each competed in Portland’s TechFest NW event. Sypht also was selected for the Western Regionals of Princeton University’s TigerLaunch competition in Seattle, where it won the Audience Favorite award.
  • UO’s Hacktown team took first place at the NYC Media Lab and MLBAM corporate hackathon for Best Sports Fan Engagement.
  • We awarded 12 SparkGrants to undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of majors and programs across campus. These grants provide limited funds for students to quickly test their value proposition and to refine it accordingly. Proposed ideas range from a technology platform and curriculum for student/alumni networking to an eSports hardware company.


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