Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
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OSU-Tulsa News > 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

OSU beats Harvard, MIT teams in international startup competition


Dr. Richard Gajan, Thoma Family Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Entrepreneurship at the Spears School of Business, left, Kevin Keith, OSU mechanical engineering student, Haley Marie Kurtz, OSU business administration graduate student, and Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Varnadow Chair and OSU-Tulsa professor of materials science and engineering, celebrate a second-place finish in the Rice University Business Plan Competition.

Innovative nano-additive product developed at OSU-Tulsa’s Helmerich Research Center

An Oklahoma State University startup company that sells a materials-strengthening additive took second place in the prestigious Rice University Business Plan Competition, overtaking teams from Harvard and Stanford universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MITO Material Solutions, LLC presented its business plan in Houston recently for its nano-additive that can double the toughness and reduce the weight of fiber-reinforced composite materials used in the automotive, aerospace and wind energy industries. The company was awarded $90,000 in investment prizes.

The nano-additive was developed through extensive research by OSU-Tulsa graduate student Muthu Subramanian at the Helmerich Research Center. Subramanian is the recipient of an OSU Graduate Research Excellence Award for his nano-additive project.

Forty-two teams drawn from 1,100 university teams from across the world participated in the competition. MITO previously took second place at a similar competition at Baylor University.

“It is a big deal for OSU to win this award over teams from Harvard, MIT and Stanford as well as many other prestigious universities across the world. MITO’s enthusiasm and dedication is what helped the team reach this level,” said Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Varnadow Chair, OSU-Tulsa professor of materials science and engineering and principal investigator. “This win demonstrates the exceptional education and real-world experience that give OSU students an edge in the marketplace.”

MITO was founded by OSU students from the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and the Spears School of Business, including Haley Marie Kurtz, chief executive officer and OSU business administration graduate student, and Kevin Keith, chief operations officer and OSU mechanical engineering technology student.

Vaidyanathan also is technical adviser for the startup and Dr. Richard Gajan, Thoma Family Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Entrepreneurship at the Spears School of Business, is faculty mentor.

The OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center is the home of the OSU School of Materials Science and Engineering, where students and faculty partner with business and manufacturing to support product development from concept to commercialization.

The approach provides students hands-on experience in research and entrepreneurship while contributing to the local and state economy.

Other research projects underway at the OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center are aimed at developing:

  • A vessel that can withstand high pressure for use in products from paintball guns to rockets that fly to the International Space Station;
  • A composite material that will protect astronauts from radiation on space missions;
  • Lithium-ion batteries that last longer and are safer and lighter weight;
  • And a 3D printer that can create medical prosthetics such as noses and ears.

For more information about the OSU-Tulsa School of Materials Science and Engineering, visit http://mse.okstate.edu.

Watch Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan explain the nano-additive used by MITO Material Solutions in the Rice University Business Plan Competition

Posted by OSU-Tulsa on Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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