Harrisburg University President Eric Darr had a big idea.
Granted, it wasn’t the first time for him, as he led HU from woes to prosperity, but it was important.
Economic development and corporate support have always been part of Hokkaido University’s mission. But he wanted to institutionalize that mission and focus on underrepresented communities.
In less than three years, CIE has moved to its new, easily accessible location in Strawberry Square, home to the nine founders of the Business Incubator Program. We also offer founders (entrepreneurs invited to our incubator) up to 18 months of living space, financial assistance, coaching and student internships.
That support has paid off. Several companies have raised a combined investment of $3.6 million. One is his NAQI LOGIX, a thought-controlled earphone tech company headed by Dave Segal, which recently hit his $100 million valuation.
It took more than a mission statement and Darr’s vision to get to this point. he needed to find the right person. Founder and Harrisburg He is someone who has connections outside the area and can work in the heart of Pennsylvania. He found it all in Jay Jayamohan, from Washington DC who persuaded him to become the CIE’s founding executive and his director.
A native of India, Jayamohan has a “typical immigration story,” he said. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering before George earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Mason University. Then he worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers before he “walked into the startup world by chance.”
The end result hardly stumbled. Jayamohan has used his $22 million venture capital to launch his three startups. One company failed, but the other (both software companies) prospered and he sold them both. He also attended his Center for Startups at George He Mason University and Georgetown University.
why teach? “Because when he goes out and starts a company, 50% of what he learns is completely useless,” he said. “It’s a completely different trip.”
That’s where his experience helps the founder of HU CIE.
In just 30 months, HU’s CIE program has received more than 250 applications, which Jayamohan said “shows great demand in the field.”
“I’m thrilled to have Jay here,” said Dahl. “Structured CIE like a business within the University of Harrisburg was done in all sorts of ways. We’ve empowered them to build a program to work together.”
The CIE at HU welcomes applicants from the Harrisburg community and beyond. Of his nine founders currently in the program, he is the only one associated with the university.
“We hope that their coming here will create new businesses and jobs in the region,” said Jayamohan.
Jayamohan and his network guide the founders of the Incubator. They help them form businesses and connect them with funding sources. They help find pro bono attorneys for their intellectual property. They help bring ideas to life. They provide support staff. They connect them with technology and software development partners. they network
Meanwhile, founders who graduate from the incubator remain available to mentor new founders.
“This center is for people with ideas,” said Jayamohan. “Anyone who has a concept but doesn’t know where to start?”
ideas are born
Sharina Johnson was a military kid who moved many times before her family landed in New Cumberland. After she graduated from her technical school in Dauphin County, she moved to Baltimore. While she was in high school she enlisted in the Army Reserves. In 2004 she started her activities and she was sent to Iraq for a year.
Coming home was hard. She didn’t realize she had PTSD. A highly functional addict, she graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in telecommunications. She became even more addicted. Finally, in 2018, she entered therapy. The idea was born from that journey, but it was boosted by her multicultural business event featuring her CIE presentation in 2021.
Today, Johnson is part of an incubator that has secured $100,000 from four investors for an application called “Arcana Recovery” that connects veterans with local resources. The web platform offers recovery assistance services, client management systems, and data presentation. Allows you to track your mood. It also includes health assessments, which she hopes will be able to predict relapse and identify people at risk of substance abuse.
Johnson hopes to launch the full product in June. Until then, we will continue to streamline the product within CIE.
i was at home
NAQI founder Segal, like the CIE, arrived with “a big idea and a few patents.” He said his company wouldn’t be where it is without the help of CIE’s public relations, exposure and referrals to other big companies and investors.
These referrals led him to a New York venture group and now to Mark Godsy, co-founder and CEO of NAQI and one of Canada’s largest biotech entrepreneurs.
“I basically said, ‘I’ll give you the car keys,'” Segal said of meeting Gossy.
Together, they created an invisible, thought-controlled operating system that manipulated earbuds and head muscle contractions to allow users to control computers, wheelchairs, and more.
“NAQI provides silent, discreet, invisible, multi-way communication and navigation for everything,” said Segal. “Nobody knows what you’re doing.”
Segal’s “Ahaha!” moment came in 2013 when I read about a soldier returning from Iraq with a thought-controlled prosthetic arm. That led him to his Google “thought control computing”. He started drawing patterns in an attempt to understand the thought control OS. He got his first patent.
He had a concept and a patent, but his motivation came from a local man who was being treated at the Pennsylvania State Health Spine Program. This man, now a close friend, is paraplegic and helps NAQI development and executives attend his meetings and inform them about their work.
“Meeting him changed the way I looked at all of this,” Segal said. “It happened for a purpose – he was my purpose.”
Segal hopes to finalize the new design and produce small quantities for user testing by the end of the first quarter of this year. His long-term goal is to complete an application programming interface that will allow other companies to integrate his OS into their products.
“Erik [Darr] It has brought together the region’s top innovative minds and opened the door for other start-ups. It’s like the Statue of Liberty. “The moment I met the team at Hokkaido University, I knew I was home.”
The Harrisburg University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center is located in Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg. For more information, see: www.cie.harrisburgu.edu.
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