JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurship awards $60,000

Six companies were each awarded $10,000 on Friday through the JumpStart Kansas Entrepreneurship competition.

The competition, overseen by WSU Ventures and funded by the Kansas Department of Commerce, was developed to increase entrepreneurship throughout Kansas, according to the WSU Ventures website.

“It’s really designed to give financial assistance and find really good technologies out there and award them funding so we can help advance those technologies,” Mark Torline, director of WSU Ventures and the Center for Entrepreneurship, said.

“They can be in any particular stage of development, but we’re looking for technologies where there’s validation to their technology,” Torline said. “We’re looking for ways to help them get that technology into the marketplace, into the stream of commerce.”

He said there were 20 applicants for the competition. They were then narrowed to nine companies based on development, market validation, and other development criteria.

The remaining companies then presented to a group of individuals from the university and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

“They were given six minutes to pitch and then 14 minutes for questions after that,” Torline said. “From that, the winners were determined.”

The winners of the competition included Vytal, Lawn Buddy, Professors of Peace, Elevated Health Services, Mobile Health Link, and Eck Fabrication.


Vytal – Jared Goering and Spencer Steinert

What it is: “Vytal is an adhesive biometric feedback monitor focused on training the next generation of athletes,” Steinert said. “So it’s a fitness monitor that you’d wear on your chest to provide greater accuracy and more comfort than what you could wear as a strap or on your wrist.”

Plans for the $10,000: “$10,000 is a lot of money and we’re really fortunate to have it, but it’ll go fast,” Goering said. “We have an engineering team in Chicago, six Ph.Ds, and basically all this money is going to go to the cost of engineering. We’re an estimated nine months out from manufacturing, so things are really ramping up with that.

Something interesting: Goering and Steinert are WSU freshman at enrolled in the Master’s in Innovation Design (MID) program and have known each other for 12 years.

Lawn Buddy – Steven Werner

What it is: “Lawn Buddy is a mobile web and app based platform for lawn care and snow removal,” Werner said. “We have software that automatically calculates the square footage of your lawn and driveway, so you don’t have to wait for a provider to get out there to give you a bid.”

Plans for the $10,000: “The $10,000 is going directly into launching this spring,” Werner said. “Whether it be marketing or buttoning up stuff with the app to make sure everything’s refined; just dump it in there for the launch.”

Something Interesting: The Chung Report is featuring Lawn Buddy as part of a ten-week behind-the-scenes look.

Professors of Peace – Johnna Crawford

What it is: “Professors of Peace is my company that is working on different ways to incorporate creative education, such as expressive art therapy and using writing, to help students and mental health patients,” Crawford said.

Plans for the $10,000: “We are going to finish copyrighting and trademarking a bunch of our stuff,” Crawford said. “Then work on some new marketing items, but any funds we get go mainly toward our software and being able to adapt it to each little environment.”

Something Interesting: Crawford will be the first person to move into an office in the GoCreate building on the Innovation Campus.

ESP-Dlux, Elevated Health Services – Ann DuPuis

What it is: “ESP-Dlux optimizes the germicidal power of UVC light,” DuPuis said. “What we’ve done is paired industrial UVC light with multiple sensors for the detection of human occupancy, for humans or animals, and also paired it to a computerized controller.”

Plans for the $10,000: “We’re going to be adding some improved circuitry to this unit,” DuPuis said. “Some of the circuitry will just be some features that are going to make it more resistant to power surges.

Something Interesting: DuPuis said her company has secured five patents for the ESP-Dlux.

Mobile Health Link – Chris Deck

What it is: “Mobile Health Link is an organization that seeks to keep people out of the hospital, and out of the nursing home, by using health surveys that [patients will] take on a regular basis,” Deck said. “It’s run through an app that we’re renting. … These are standardized surveys that are most often peer-reviewed.”

Plans for the $10,000: “We’re going to be using it for product testing, in terms of buying phones and getting them in the hands of people to see what their experience is like,” Deck said. “We’re also going to be testing various apps and maybe even be doing some product development of our own.”

Something Interesting: Deck noted they were able to reduce a patient’s hospitalization from 38 days in a 12-month period to 21 days using similar technology.

Chem-Blade, Eck Fabrication – Ethan Eck

What it is: “Chem-Blade is a system that originated on the farm,” Eck said. “It is a knife system for opening, emptying and cleaning chemical containers for agricultural sprayer operators.”

Plans for the $10,000:The funding will be specifically for fixtures for the welding and assembly of the tank and its various components,” Eck said.

Something Interesting: Eck said they have been selling the Chem-Blade across the country and now extend from Florida to Washington.