VCU da Vinci Center 2018-19 At-a-Glance

A collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts and Business and the Colleges of Engineering and Humanities and Sciences, the VCU da Vinci Center is a unique collegiate model that advances innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration. The da Vinci Center recognizes access, equity, and inclusion as core to its mission and vision.

Student Highlights

“The VCU MPI Program has been instrumental to Kilo’s success thus far. I have applied a variety of entrepreneurship principles ranging from product development and startup operations to leadership management and raising capital. We wouldn’t be at our current stage without VCU College of Engineering and the da Vinci Center’s continued support.”  - Joshna Seelam, Chief Executive Officer + Co-FounderTurning Ideas Into Action

Kilo Medical Solutions was chosen as one of 10 finalists for New York State’s Luminate Accelerator. Each finalist receives an initial investment of $100,000 and a chance to receive $2 million in follow-on funding. This is the largest amount awarded to any enrolled MPI students at the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation to date. Kilo joins Luminate’s third cohort, which is designed to help companies speed up commercialization of their technologies and business. Their final Demo Day will take place in June 2020.

Kilo Medical Solutions is a R&D medical device startup company, with its focus being mainly in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Co-Founders of the startup are Joshna Seelam, Chief Executive Officer, Aniket Kulkarni, Chief Technology Officer, and Kashyap Venuthurupalli, Chief Business Officer. Brise-Sollette, the device developed in their senior capstone project, is a system that allows medical providers to control light stimuli to improve health outcomes of premature infants in the NICU. The Kilo team is comprised of three VCU College of Engineering Alumni and current da Vinci Master of Product Innovation students. They began their journey into the startup world through a capstone project with the VCU College of Engineering in 2018. During their final semester they took their idea through VCU’s Pre-Accelerator program, sponsored by the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation, and later all three applied and were accepted to VCU’s Master of Product Innovation Program.

The da Vinci Center is accepting applications to the MPI program until February 15, 2020, apply now.

“I couldn’t have done without da Vinci because participating in the Pre-X program last spring helped me improve my business model and how I approached entrepreneurship as a whole.” - Nanda Nana, VCU Pre-X participantActivating a New Network

In 2019, the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation and the LEAD Living Learning Program sent two students to the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit, Michigan. Forbes’ flagship summit is a dynamic multi-day event including a private music festival, A-list speakers, investor speed-pitching, and over 24 content tracks for participants.

Jon Mirador (BS-Mechanical Engineering, Certificates in Product Innovation and Venture Creation) and Nanda Nana (BS- Biology), both in their second year here at VCU, attended the summit in order to gain inspiration for their personal ventures. Jon Mirador is heavily involved with first generation students at VCU and seeks to improve resources and opportunities for these students. Nanda Nana has created a digital platform that promotes the mental well-being of college students through the ability to share and discuss a wide variety of issues anonymously. Both students benefited from the experience to make connections with like-minded peers.

Nanda and Jon have an interest in continuing their projects through the VCU Pre-X program as well as classes in Venture Creation and Product Innovation with the da Vinci Center. These experiences allow both students to fulfill their passion projects not only in the classroom but through co-curricular opportunities as well.

VCU’s 2020 Pre-X Program kicks off next spring semester and applications will be accepted through January 2020. Any student with an early stage product or business idea is encouraged to apply

“My education from da Vinci has been instrumental to my success in this creative startup. If you like being able to do anything, then da Vinci is everything.”  - Alan Ireland, Master in Product Innovation    Class of 2019Launching Big Ideas

Alan Ireland graduated from the VCU da Vinci Master of Product Innovation program in August 2019. Alan's background in theater has led him to place a strong emphasis on storytelling, journey mapping, and customer empathy. Through the MPI program, Alan gained skills that have prepared him for his current role as a User Experience Designer at It Helps to Play where he focuses on interviewing and usability testing to create real products. The latest is a book and pillow combo called The Tooth Brigade.

The Tooth Brigade is about Ollie, Blue, and Potato, three unlikely heroes who set out on a fun-filled adventure. They trudged through the Sticky Swamp, bravely crossed Crocodile Creek and finally climbed to the tippy top of Tippy Top Mountain. All to help their new friend, the Tooth Fairy.

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