OSU startup recognized at national showcase
Monday, April 29, 2019
Oklahoma State University affiliated startup Roll-2-Roll Technologies LLC participated in the 2019 University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase in Washington, D.C., as one of 20 startups featured.
The OSU-patented technology that’s licensed and commercialized by Roll-2-Roll began
with research by Dr. Prabhakar Pagilla, an OSU mechanical and aerospace engineering
professor. Aravind Seshadri joined Pagilla’s research group as a master’s student
in mechanical engineering. The two developed improved sensor and control technology
for web machine lateral guides used in roll-to-roll machines, the devices that keep
materials in line during the high-speed manufacturing process. Their technology reduced
the need for manual realignment that wastes time, material and money. The patented
optical sensor and control algorithm detects the position of the web and automatically
controls material alignment.
“Roll-2-Roll is fortunate to have the support system at OSU and in Oklahoma,” said Seshadri. “This ecosystem has provided a tremendous amount of support from technology conception, business development and all the way up to raising capital. This recognition at APLU (Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities) is a testament to the ecosystem at OSU that is helping entrepreneurial students and faculty to spin off technology companies in Stillwater. We are fortunate to have this ecosystem.”
Seshadri put together a team with Pagilla and fellow OSU graduate students Pedro Velasco and Carlo Branca, to develop a business plan. That team became the founders of Roll-2-Roll.
Roll-2-Roll raised more than $520,000 of seed round investment from Cowboy Technologies LLC, i2E and a group of angel investors. Daniel Will, executive director of Cowboy Technologies, is Roll-2-Roll’s board chairman, providing ongoing business advisory services to its portfolio company.
“We have and are continuing to build a stronger ecosystem of technology-based commercialization and entrepreneurship at OSU,” Will said. “Many funding and assistance resources are available to OSU faculty and students. Those resources coupled with inventive, entrepreneurially minded, persistent individuals can turn ideas into commercial realities. Roll-2-Roll Technologies and its co-founders are an excellent example of leveraging all those resources and what a successful spinout startup company from OSU can look like.”
Roll-2-Roll later won a two-year, $300,000 OCAST OARS (Oklahoma Center for the Advancement
of Science & Technology’s Oklahoma Applied Research Support) grant to continue its
technology development. The company has raised an additional $1 million from angel
investors to scale up operations and continue its market penetration.
At the early April event in Washington, Seshadri and Will were able to hear from such speakers as Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, ranking member, House Science, Space and Technology Committee; Andrei Iancu, undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Dr. Phillip Singerman, associate director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“It was great being a first hand witness to the support of federal legislators including Congressman Frank Lucas, and senior leaders of prominent federal agencies supporting university research that leads to commercial opportunity and economic development through entrepreneurship,” Will said. “The national recognition Roll-2-Roll Technologies received at the event is validation of the great researchers and innovation underway at Oklahoma State University, in combination with the ecosystem of technology commercialization that Cowboy Technologies and others are facilitating at OSU.”
“The entrepreneurship showcase was a great recognition for Roll-2-Roll Technologies. We were honored to be featured among promising startup from other prestigious land grant universities,” he said. “The event also provided us an opportunity to network with program directors from federal agencies; that was really beneficial for us.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Kylie Moulton | College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology | 405-744-2745 | firstname.lastname@example.org