Three standout Wayne State University entrepreneurs came away winners in the 2016 Warrior Fund Finals on Dec. 9. The Warrior Fund is a program of Innovation Warriors, Wayne State’s entrepreneurship hub. All businesses competing in the Warrior Fund competition received consulting through Innovation Warriors’ Blackstone LaunchPad program.
The three winners and their businesses are:
Iyinoluwa Omishope | It Comes Naturally LLC
Product: Skin Shield, a natural and organic mosquito repellent for sensitive skin that will be distributed in the United States and donated to African nations to combat the spread of diseases mosquitoes carry, such as the Zika virus.
Prize amount: $5,000
Prize to be used for: $4,000 for efficacy testing and $1,000 for initial marketing and sales, which is contingent upon plan development.
Sean Carroll, Ramy Habib and Gregory Apers | EnBiologics LLC (pictured top right)
Product: HoneyCure, a natural wound care ointment comprised of honey and antibiotics designed for veterinary use. Their first target market will be horse veterinarians and stable owners.
Prize amount: $5,000
Prize to be used for: Marketing and sales as well as inventory for product manufacturing.
Fares Ksebati | MySwimPro
Product: MySwimPro, a mobile app that serves as a virtual coach for swimmers, tracking their performance and metric data. MySwimPro has over 100,000 downloads and was recently named by Apple as the 2016 Apple Watch App of the Year.
Prize amount: $2,000
Prize to be used for: Translating and offering MySwimPro into four languages.
A fourth semifinalist — Julian Bates, founder of C.A.F.E. Clutch — was offered support from Warrior Fund partner Automation Alley to help with proof of concept and become eligible to apply for a grant of $10,000 or more. Automation Alley will also help with building relationships with potential customers. C.A.F.E. Clutch is a patent-pending frictionless one-way clutch used in the first gear of automobile transmissions and also engine start/stop systems.
“Since 2012, the Warrior Fund has been helping kickstart some of the city’s most promising student entrepreneurs,” said Aubrey Agee, acting director of Innovation Warriors. “Innovation Warriors and our partners will continue to work with these businesses, coaching them, connecting them to resources and keeping these great talents here in Detroit, where they will continue to contribute to the region’s economic vitality.”
Past Warrior Fund winners include Pristine Impressions, Pro:Up, Detroit Horse Power, Eli Tea and Dynamic Wealth Solutions.
The Warrior Fund is sponsored by Comerica Bank, which is committed to seeing startups succeed within the city of Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
“As a company committed to the success of Detroit and the small business owners that help drive that success, Comerica and its charitable foundation are proud to support programs such as the Wayne State University Warrior Fund,” said Janice Tessier, Michigan contributions manager for Comerica. “We’re proud that our support of the Warrior Fund over the past four years has helped foster new and innovative entrepreneurs in Detroit and Southeast Michigan and is helping to accelerate the growth of small businesses in our community."
Innovation Warriors is Wayne State’s entrepreneurship hub, encouraging and supporting students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey. Innovation Warriors is a program of WSU’s Office of Economic Development.