OSU student-led business is growing
Roll-2-Roll Technologies, an Oklahoma State University student-led business founded in 2013, is growing thanks to raising a considerable amount of capital this summer.
Roll-2-Roll (R2R) Technologies was founded and is operated by a team of OSU faculty and students. The project originated as a master’s thesis by Aravind Seshadri, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, under the supervision of Prabhakar Pagilla, the centennial professor of engineering in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at OSU. The team includes Caro Branca, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, and Pedro Velasco, a doctoral student in leisure studies
Seshadri and Branca graduated in May 2013, and Velasco is currently finishing his PhD.
R2R is commercializing an advanced lateral guide for the roll-to-roll manufacturing industry that utilizes fiber optics to minimize the need for manual adjustment during the product changeover. The R2R product will lead to a reduction in labor costs, downtime costs, and product waste for manufacturers.
Once the basic technology was developed, the R2R team received considerable assistance from OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship and the Technology Development Center in helping shape the technology into a business.
The team worked extensively with Richard Gajan, a clinical professor in the School of Entrepreneurship, and Steve Price, the director of the Technology Development Center. The OSU personnel involved, however, are quick to give credit to Seshadri and his team. “Aravind and his team worked exceptionally hard to make R2R a reality,” Gajan said.
In July 2014, R2R raised a total of $520,000 in convertible note securities, equity funding and contributions from the founders. Participants in the funding included Cowboy Technologies, an organization that works to commercialize promising products coming out of OSU, i2E, a not-for-profit corporation focused on funding promising Oklahoma-based technology firms, and a group of angel investors.
Seshadri and his team are appreciative of the support they’ve received from OSU.
“The OSU entrepreneurial ecosystem, comprising of the School of Entrepreneurship, the Technology Development Center, Cowboy Technologies and others is unique and highly beneficial to assist students and faculty in forming and launching businesses,” Seshadri said. “R2R would not have become a reality without their assistance.”