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Summer Founders Program awards eight student startups each with $15,000

Eight Penn State student startups have been selected into the 2023 Invent Penn State Summer Founders Program. The Summer Founders Program provides teams with at least one Penn State student founder a $15,000 grant to work on their startup, social good, or nonprofit idea over the summer at Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank.

“We have an incredible group of student startups selected into this year’s program,” said Elizabeth Hay, Jack White Family Director of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “The Summer Founders Program has featured some of Penn State’s best student startups and founders, who have achieved great success in building their companies. We are excited to work with this year’s teams and provide the support to help them grow.”

This year’s teams include student startups from across multiple campuses, four colleges, and The Graduate School at Penn State. For 2023, the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship provided a generous donation in support of the program.

“The Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship is proud to support the transformational Summer Founders Program this year,” said Jeanette K. Miller, associate director of the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship and coordinator for the Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIENT) major in Smeal College of Business. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are important skills utilized across many different disciplines. Our Penn State students incorporate these skills in launching and growing their own startups, and it is an honor to support their entrepreneurial aspirations. Providing funding for the Summer Founders Program will be a catalyst toward success for these young student ventures.”

During the 13-week entrepreneurial boot camp, Happy Valley LaunchBox will provide programming and 24/7 access to its space. Student founders will also receive mentorship and access to a network of more than 70 advisors and multiple other program perks, from server credits to hands-on learning opportunities at Pennsylvania businesses.

Past Summer Founders Program participants include PhospholutionsClove & Sprig, and SLCKR.

Below are teams selected into this year’s program, which will run from mid-May through mid-August:

  • AgMar LLC (Zoils & Pigments), which manufactures soil-based paints using natural, non-toxic, environmentally conscious ingredients and high-grade materials for artists and children. The startup is led by soil sciences Ph.D. candidate Zoelie Rivera-Ocasio and community member Eric Appeldoorn.
  • Basketball Today, a new take on traditional sports media through social media channels that post NBA content Generation Z can trust and consume as its go-to for basketball news and entertainment. The startup is led by Smeal College of Business student Justin Leusner.
  • Bindr, an all-inclusive dating application for bisexual, bi-curious and general LGBTQ+ individuals. The startup is led by Mary Richardson, a Penn State York business student, and community member Brandon Teller.
  • CTFGuide, a powerful data-driven simulation platform built for finding and creating cybersecurity talent in the United States. The startup is led by College of Engineering student Raymond Yan, College of Information Sciences and Technology student Pranav Ramesh and Northeastern University student Srihari Raman.
  •, which automatically grades assignments for music teachers. The startup is led by Cameron Dennis, a musical arts Ph.D. candidate in piano performance.
  • Preventi, a treatment reminder app designed to simplify medication adherence and increase health literacy education for patients. The startup is led by Schreyer Honors College students Noah Wiggins and Nolan Pye.
  • UniTour, which provides virtual tour experiences for students who cannot visit all universities in which they are interested. The startup is led by Smeal College of Business student Eric Olah-Reiken.
  • Wavebreaker Technologies, which makes outdoor activities more accessible for people with physical limitations. The startup is led by graduate student Kevin Harris.

About Summer Founders

The Summer Founders Program is a signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative and is provided in partnership with Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank. Startup funding is made possible through the donations of successful alumni entrepreneurs interested in supporting new student ventures. To learn more about supporting student startups at Penn State through a philanthropic gift, contact Heather Winfield, director of strategic initiatives in University Development, at

This program was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.