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FOUNDER.org Announces $1.1 Million in Startup Grants for Student Entrepreneurs

PARIS, FRANCE--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2014) - FOUNDER.org, the global student entrepreneur investor and company building program, today announced the 10 recipients of $100,000 grants for its incoming second-year Class of 2015. The winners were announced at The World Founder Forum 2014, FOUNDER.org's annual event where the 50 teams selected from the brightest student founders at leading research institutes and universities around the world gather to learn from each other and start the 12 month company building program.

"After reviewing nearly 1,000 applications, attending 600 live presentations and visiting our partner schools 78 times, I'm excited to welcome the members of the Class of 2015," said Michael Baum, CEO of FOUNDER.org. "The quality of the ideas and the enthusiasm this year has been impressive and very inspiring. Our partner schools are nurturing amazing innovations and entrepreneurs. This year's ideas include 3D body scanning, air cleaning biowalls, aquaculture, biofuels from coffee waste, calorie burning athletic gear, counterfeit drug protection, digital health, drone data analytics, indexed meetings, optical mechanical sensors, smarter parking, standing wheelchairs, tinnitus protection and wearable keyboards -- lots and lots of cool stuff."

FOUNDER.org is a global non-profit started in 2012 by serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist Michael Baum, the founding CEO of Splunk, a pioneer in big data. FOUNDER.org works with leading colleges, universities and research institutes throughout North America and Europe to advance student entrepreneurship. Its goal is to significantly increase the number of student entrepreneurs by backing the brightest student founders and biggest ideas. Its 8D Company Building Program improves the odds that more young companies not only survive, but thrive and positively transform the world.

"We provide startups with support, training, and information regarding the basics of building a viable business. We look to FOUNDER.org to add a customized and super-charged path for our best teams to gain the best chance of creating a great company with significant impact on the world," said Jeff Burton, a member of the founding team at Electronic Arts and Executive Director of SkyDeck | Berkeley, a joint venture among UC Berkeley's College of Engineering, Haas School of Business, and the Vice Chancellor for Research Office.

The first-year Class of 2014 10 student teams includes seven who received additional investments ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million. Vinay Mahadik, CEO and co-founder of Securly, whose security cloud helps protect students, schools and households, is a recent Wharton MBA graduate and FOUNDER.org Class of 2014 participant whose company has raised an additional $1.8 million and now keeps more than 200,000 student devices safe from malicious Web content and cyber-bullying.

"After two years of MBA studies at a top university and graduating from two prominent accelerators, I thought I had seen it all," Mahadik said. "But, within a short period of time at FOUNDER.org, we gained immense value and knowledge not picked up anywhere else. Michael and his team helped us understand we were limiting our vision of the value we can bring to market."

Unu, an electric vehicle upstart in Munich was FOUNDER.org's first investment in Europe. The team from the Center for Digital Technology Management in Munich has launched the first mass market two wheeled vehicle for fun, urban transportation. In addition to FOUNDER.org, the company is backed by the German Government Exist program for new startup ventures in Germany.

Verdigris Technologies from Stanford University has developed an energy intelligence solution that is able to monitor, alert and manage energy consumption down to the individual device level in large commercial buildings. The company has already raised $3.8M in additional financing.

Smart Vision Labs from New York University won $1M in the Verizon Power Answers Challenge award for best Healthcare solution early this year. The company's cloud-based ophthalmology lab allow eye glass and contact lens prescriptions to be delivered right from a smartphone.

The Class of 2015 $100,000 winners are:

  • Bearing Analytics - wireless sensors for industrial equipment monitoring, Purdue University

  • bio-bean Ltd. - advanced biofuels from coffee waste, University College London

  • Cryoocyte - cryopreservation of fish eggs, Harvard Business School

  • EdenWorks - aquaponics farming on urban rooftops, New York University

  • KONUX - optomechanical sensors for Industry 4.0, Center for Digital Technology Management

  • Neoreach - influencer marketing network, Stanford University

  • PlushCare - doctor on your smartphone, University of California at Berkeley

  • RapidSOS - modernizing emergency services infrastructure, Harvard Business School

  • ReMeeting - indexing and recall of meeting content, University of California at Berkeley

  • Volumental - 3D body scanning, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

The additional 40 teams in the second-year class will each have a chance to win a share of $130,000 in prizes for delivering the best presentations during World Founder Forum 2014 being held June 18, 2014 at partner school ESCP Europe. Established in 1819, ESCP Europe is the oldest business school in the world, founded by a group of economic scholars and businessmen including the economist Jean-Baptiste Say who is widely credited with coining the word "entrepreneur."

The World Founder Forum 2014, an invitation only event for the Class of 2014 and Class of 2015 is an interactive weekly gathering focusing on 8D, the core curriculum of the FOUNDER.org program -- eight dimensions and the associated challenges of company building. Attending the forum will be early-stage venture investors from the U.S. and Europe, press, as well as VIPs from FOUNDER.org's 24 partner universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, Center for Digital Technology Management, Drexel Univeristy, Ecole Polytechnique, EDHEC, ESCP Europe, Harvard Business School, Imperial College London, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Purdue University, Stanford University, Technische Universität Berlin, Technische Universität München, The University of Edinburgh, University College London, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego, University of California at San Francisco, University of Cambridge, University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas at Austin.

About FOUNDER.org
FOUNDER.org is an investor and company building program for student entrepreneurs at leading universities around the world. Its intense 8D© Company Building Program fast tracks teams through the challenges of building a high impact company. The hands-on transformative experience is designed to increase the odds of survival and to help young entrepreneurs grow their companies faster and take them further, creating truly impactful ventures. FOUNDER.org provides the funding teams need to get started, investing directly in student startups from partner schools in seven different countries. FOUNDER.org was founded by a team of serial Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have built billion dollar companies and are now working with the next generation of creative, audacious student founders to positively transform the world around us. Learn more at www.founder.org.