Race to Revenue ("R2R"), led by John Henry, the IDEA Center's director of student startups, is Notre Dame’s summer startup accelerator where aspiring student entrepreneurs and founders have the opportunity to work full-time on their business ideas as a fully-funded internship. John Henry remarks, “One of the reasons we built it was to provide students with a focused time and space to work exclusively on their project. The funding of the internship gives them credibility, and turns what is a non-traditional career path into something a lot more traditional.”
The Race to Revenue internship itself is entirely unique. “We make it easier for them to take a risk, and when they take a risk they tend to perform really well,” says Henry.
For Race to Revenue Summer ‘21, there were five teams accepted into Round 1. These selected students (called “Racers”) have typically demonstrated significant traction, commitment, and "coachability" when working with the IDEA Center during the academic year. During the summer, they will be fully immersed in building their businesses and reaching a range of milestones.
The following teams that were accepted into Round 1 are:
Emmanuel Acheampong | ROBO-BootCamp
ROBO-BootCamp is an AI platform solution that combines the scalability, time efficiency and affordability of online courses with the structure and professional services of traditional bootcamps to help people upskill and reskill in any area of their choosing.
Emmanuel is excited for R2R, noting that he is “hoping to become more involved in the startup ecosystem, learn, and grow our ROBO-BootCamp venture.” He also remarks that “these experiences in addition to others helped equip me as a founder and prepare me to engage even with investors.”
Renee Yaseen | FriendOver
FriendOver is the new virtual social space designed just for kids, grades K-6. It’s a WebRTC app that combines features of traditional video-conferencing software with a bundle of physically active and collaborative multiplayer games that kids can play with their friends in real-time.
Renee is particularly looking forward to meeting more awesome staff and students in the IDEA Center, working with her team in person (hopefully!), and ensuring they have a strategy for efficient future growth by the end of Race to Revenue. She notes, “FriendOver will be one year old come summer, and it will be nice to evaluate our progress at that point.” Regarding the IDEA Center, Renee remarks that it has “provided our team with so much support. They've connected us with several stellar mentors who are truly invested in our success.”
Richard McManus | Mound Power
Mound Power is a revolutionary device which provides coaches with a portable means of capturing and displaying quantitative lower body force measurements in real-time. The device is designed to record measurements with the greatest correlations to pitch velocity and injury reduction.
Richard shares, “The IDEA Center helped give me the tools to turn my high school project into a feasible company with the aspirations of one day generating revenue. Before getting involved with the IDEA Center, I had no knowledge of business or entrepreneurship. Now, I have completed the IDEA Center’s pre-accelerator, pitched to investors, and gained the attention of several well known baseball influencers both locally and nationwide.”
Anthony Esplin | Sleep Easy Pillow
The Sleep Easy Oxygen Pillow offers an alternative method for treating patients that refuse care or have new upper respiratory diseases. The pillow is a blow-by system that directs the oxygen concentrated air into a patient's face without them even realizing that they are receiving treatment.
Anthony says that the IDEA Center has afforded him the opportunity to receive several mentors that have served as wonderful coaches. Overall, the IDEA Center atmosphere is great for Anthony, where he spends a lot of time in the IDEA Center's Innovation Lab, where he is always at work with something, especially 3D Printing.
Edward Davis | Anytime Sports
Anytime Sports is an on-demand sports platform that allows athletes to train, play, and network. Edward shares, “I am very excited to have the opportunity to focus solely on my startup and find mentorship that will help me maximize future opportunities! For Edward, the IDEA Center has helped him cultivate several concepts into a business. Learning idea validation, receiving mentorship, and fostering entrepreneurial connections have all been crucial for his venture -- and he graciously thanks the IDEA Center for this experience!
With the goal of instilling a life-long love of entrepreneurship, Race to Revenue strives to help students realize what they are capable of accomplishing as they pursue a passion they might not otherwise have without the IDEA Center’s resources. John Henry emphasizes that “the student entrepreneurship mission is to ‘change students’ lives through the discipline of entrepreneurship.' Racers will have increased their practice, and therefore increased their confidence, and make it more likely that they are able to actually become entrepreneurs.”
Editor's note: This article references information originally published in: Understanding Race to Revenue: ND's Summer Startup Accelerator // IDEA Center // University of Notre Dame