OSU startup to be recognized at national showcase
Friday, March 29, 2019
Oklahoma State University affiliated startup Roll-2-Roll Technologies LLC has been selected to participate in the 2019 University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase in Washington, D.C. on April 10, according to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities. Roll-2-Roll will be one of 20 startups featured in the showcase.
“Roll-2-Roll is fortunate to have the support system at OSU and in Oklahoma,” said Aravind Seshadri, co-founder of Roll-2-Roll. “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 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.”
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. Seshadri joined Pagilla’s research group as a master’s student in mechanical engineering. Pagilla and Seshadri 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, reducing the need for manual realignment that wastes time, material and money. Their patented optical sensor and control algorithm detects the position of the web and automatically controls material alignment.
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 serves as Roll-2-Roll’s chairman of its board of directors, offering business advice.
“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 grant to continue its technology development. The company has raised a total of $1 million to scale up operations, hire additional personnel and continue its market penetration to reach its target customers.
Featured congressional and agency speakers at the I&E showcase will include:
- Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, ranking member, House Science, Space and Technology Committee;
- Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee;
- Andrei Iancu, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and
- Dr. Phillip Singerman, associate director for innovation and industry services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Story by: Kylie Moulton