26 Founders Graduate from UofU's Master of Business Creation Program
Twenty-six founders graduated in the class of 2023 from the University of Utah's Master of Business Creation (MBC) Full-Time program at the David Eccles School of Business after finishing the 2022-23 academic year in May. This is the fourth group to graduate from this unique program designed specifically for entrepreneurs.
The graduating MBC founders are leading 21 startups ranging from cardiac imaging and trucking software to vintage sneakers and pickleball gear.
The MBC program is an academic offering provided by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Both are part of the Eccles School, which is ranked among the top 10 schools for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report.
“The Master of Business Creation is a very unique program that we designed to provide early-stage entrepreneurs with exactly what they need to grow their businesses and be successful,” said Paul Brown, a co-director of the MBC program and a professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “Founders learn the skills they need today, and they immediately apply the lessons to their businesses. We invite anyone interested to learn more about enrolling in the program in-person or online.”
Founders in the MBC program receive mentorship and resources to grow and scale their companies. The full-time participants all received full scholarships that covered the tuition for the program. All benefit from Eccles School courses, applied curriculum workshops, practicum labs and the intense learning-by-doing that occurs when lessons are applied to their own businesses.
The MBC program is one of the latest additions to the Eccles School, which celebrates entrepreneurship as a core value and fosters it throughout its undergraduate and graduate programs. The MBC program was recognized by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) in the 2020 Innovations That Inspire member challenge.
The MBC program was created to blend the best attributes of a business curriculum with a startup accelerator. The founders develop their startups while taking classes from leading experts and receiving extensive resources and mentorship to help them address their immediate business needs.
Morgan Williams is one of the founders who graduated from the program this spring. She is the CEO of Blendyd Studios, a company focused on bringing high-tech, mobile-first, automated solutions to truck-driver recruitment. In 2021 Blendyd Studios rebranded (from Everwoke), as covered by TechBuzz.
Blendyd Studios automates manual tasks in recruitment processes, leveraging automated and customized text messaging to make the candidate experience more seamless, and integrating with a company’s existing email and scheduling tech stack to make the process more efficient for candidates and recruiters.
Williams is grateful for the help she received from the MBC program. “For the support I received from every mentor and champion, I just want to say thank you,” she said. “I will continue to grow Blendyd into the organization we all imagine it can become.”
STOHZ co-founders and husband-and-wife-team Dolly and Phil Casper also completed the MBC program this year. Their company offers a small, lightweight, AirPod holder that people can attach to themselves, like a magnetic nametag.
“The Master of Business Creation program lit a fire underneath us and gave us the courage needed to put forth the time and money necessary to get our company launched,” Dolly said. “The network and culture the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute has created is invaluable to learn from others who have been where we are and who are experts at what we need to do.”
Another graduate, Chase Stoner, enrolled in the Master of Business Creation program to grow his business, Outkits, an online marketplace for vintage sneakers.
“The MBC program has helped take Outkits to the next level and professionalized my business, whether that be our website, finances, legalities or marketing, our structure has changed entirely,” Stoner said. He also described the benefits of having a diverse cohort of founders. “Working together has been a valuable experience,” he said. “It has been priceless.”
Here are the 2022-23 MBC Full-Time startups and the founders expected to graduate (in alphabetical order by company):
- Big Dill Pickleball Co. (Katy Luxem) – Big Dill Pickleball Co. makes unique pickleball paddles and gear focusing on the inclusive and fun elements that make pickleball the fastest growing sport in the country. They sell on Amazon, their website and on the Walmart website.
- Blade Ops (Trevor Darby) – Blade Ops is a leading seller of high-quality and collectable knives. They carry the top brands and offer rapid, free shipment. In addition to a large online business, Blade Ops has a retail store in West Jordan, Utah.
- CardiaSpace (Dr. Mark Ibrahim) – CardiaSpace is a tech-enabled, telehealth company specialized in delivering advanced cardiac-imaging diagnostics and developing intuitive cardiac radiology software. The founder is Dr. Mark Ibrahim, a board-certified cardiologist with expertise in advanced cardiac imaging and medical informatics. He is passionate about leveraging technology in healthcare to expand the delivery of sophisticated cardiac exams, increase patients’ access to care and maintain physicians’ well-being.
- COAD (Rose Engler, Roshannah Gaur, Loan Anh Tran (pictured)) – COAD, short for “community adherence,” is a behavior-based digital healthcare platform comprised of an innovative smart pillbox integrated with a user-friendly mobile app that work together to significantly boost medication adherence, facilitate caregiving and improve health outcomes. They remind patients to take their medicine, notify their loved ones when they forget and generate verifiable adherence reports to optimize patient care. (Participated in partnership with Brown University.)
- De Novo Foodlabs (Jean Louwrens) –De Novo Foodlabs is creating the next generation of nutritional solutions to elevate human health. Their proprietary precision fermentation technology allows them to create valuable compounds and nutrients that are naturally difficult to obtain through traditional means. They produce what the body needs, from rare proteins to isolated peptides and they can do it anywhere without the need for animal agriculture. Their mission is to sustainably nutrify the planet. (Participated in partnership with Generation Africa.)
- Everwoke (Morgan Williams) – Launched in 2018, Everwoke entered the market as an automation solution providing greater efficiency and data insights to trucking and logistics companies. As they continued to iterate the product with clients, they recognized the level of customization needed company to company was unsustainable. It is a codeless, full-stack software application that allows clients to customize data platforms at unprecedented speed, without the need for a tech team or skillset.
- FRND Coffee (Karyn Jacobsen) – FRND Coffee is not your average online coffee retailer. Their mission is to curate a coffee experience like no other, connecting you with roasters who share their values and passion for perfection. Through their subscription-based service, they bring you the freshest, most exquisite small-batch coffees from around the world. Their rigorous selection process ensures that they partner with roasters who share our unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainability. Every batch of coffee they offer is meticulously crafted, representing the dedication and expertise of the roasters.
- Golden8 (Jason Hall) – Golden8 designed and developed the Emio hair tie, an innovative way of putting your hair up quickly, easily and securely with an easy release. The Emio hair tie is a patent-pending, figure-eight design handmade in the U.S. from quality materials. No more slipping, sliding, loose, too tight, low quality, hair pulling or breaking hair ties because Emio hair ties will simply slide on and “Cinch, Wrap and Secure!”
- Haven Home Cancer Services (Dr. Charles Hall, Ross Wamsley) – Haven Home Cancer Services provides residential chemo- and oncology-infusion services. They work to provide holistic cancer services and medications to at-risk cancer patients. They deliver and administer chemo treatments through oncology trained nurses and pharmacists as prescribed by the patient’s oncologist.
- Includesign (Diana Kamada, pictured) – Includesign is a product-design company focused on the needs of people with disabilities. Their flagship product, the LapSnap, is a patent-pending, collapsible carryall designed with and for wheelchair users, which helps to increase independence by enabling them to carry their belongings hands-free and do more tasks by themselves. (Participated in partnership with Brown University.)
- James Street Co. (Jessica Reese) – James Street Co. provides obtainable luxury women’s clothing, made in small batches with respect to the environment.
- Meramec Solutions (Jake Peters) – Meramec Solutions offers driver-recruiting support for small and medium-sized trucking companies to grow fleets. Meramec Solutions builds a digital presence and digital marketing campaigns that helps carriers hire drivers more efficiently. Their services help carriers keep their trucks on the road and become more profitable.
- Ocore (Scott Carlson) – Ocore is paving the way for a future of streamlined operations for critical infrastructure facilities and organizations such as public utilities. Their software solution provides facility staff the flexible digital tools they need for comprehensive operations management in a single, easy-to-use platform. Ocore helps save facilities from avoidable costs due to inefficient operation, and gives management more complete insight into daily operations and processes of their facilities and staff. The goal of Ocore is to make it easier for public utility facilities to meet the growing demands of urbanization, industrial growth and technological advancement.
- Opencontour (Maria Echavarria Eikhof) – Opencontour is intuitive cloud-based application software that helps open-pit mining companies develop and optimize the design of their mines. Opencontour believes that mining software should not be complicated nor a barrier for mine planners and engineers to execute timely changes and iterations. They create value by reducing the amount of time spent on integrating data, running iterations, training employees and ultimately providing mine planners, engineers and metallurgists with tools that allow them to test their scenarios and make timely strategic decisions for the newest mine projects.
- Outkits (Chase Stoner) – Outkits sources and sells rare and collectable sneakers for passionate sneakerheads. The company has a large social media following and offers vintage sneakers via periodic “drops” to their enthusiastic fan base.
- Pledged (Anthony Koltenuk) – Pledged is a CRM for higher education. By focusing on the unique needs of universities, they are able to skip many of the headaches that come with implementing a traditional CRM into a higher-ed environment.
- Sesi Technologies (Isaac Sesi) – Sesi Technologies develops affordable technologies to help African farmers and agribusinesses increase productivity and reduce losses. For smallholder grain farmers, it bundles proven post-harvest management technologies and other value-added services and makes them available to farmers in a way they can afford through its innovative FarmerPack model. Located in Kumasi, in the middle of Ghana, Sesi Technologies is made up of young people from diverse fields, working together to fulfill a big purpose – to create and live in a world where poverty and hunger does not exist. (Participated in partnership with Generation Africa.)
- STOHZ (Dolly Casper, Phil Casper) – STOHZ stows your sound by providing a unique wearable charging accessory that enables faster and easier access to wireless earbuds.
- The Turn Golf Club (Ryan Cannon) – The Turn Golf Club is a luxury indoor golf facility in Draper, Utah, where members have 24/7 private access. At the Turn Golf Club, you can expect a comfortable and luxurious setting, access to industry leading shot analysis powered by Trackman Golf, tournaments, games for all ages and skill levels and, last but not least, an expanding library of over 170 different golf courses from around the world. They have memberships available for individuals and corporations.
- Valhalla Cell Health (Isaiah Tate, pictured) – Valhalla Cell Health is a pioneer in the health and wellness space. They use smart light cell therapies to treat injury, illness, anxiety/depression, traumatic brain injury, PTSD and improve athlete’s performance. With two physical locations in Draper and Heber City, plus a mobile unit, they see all types of clients either struggling with health conditions or looking to push their game to the next level.
- Webewell (Alexander Becraft, Mitchell Wulfman) – Webewell delivers proven skill lessons and interventions from positive and clinical psychology that facilitate well-being, human flourishing and happiness and that reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Their program combines app and web technology and virtual support groups to support youth and college students and address mental health issues at their inception.