OSU student team scores again, receives $11,000
at Oregon New Venture Championship

by Ariel West 
(April 19, 2017 at 11:12 am)

MITO Material Solutions’ Haley Kurtz and Kevin Keith pose with Richard Gajan (right).

For the second week in a row – and the third time in the last three months – Oklahoma State University student startup team MITO Material Solutions was among the top winners at a collegiate pitch competition. This time, MITO placed second at the Oregon New Venture Championship hosted by the University of Oregon.

MITO is composed of MBA student Haley Kurtz, chief executive officer, and mechanical engineering technology student Kevin Keith, chief operating officer, and are coached by assistant professor of Entrepreneurship Richard Gajan in the Spears School of Business and professor Ranji Vaidyanathan of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

MITO received $10,000 in investment prizing for placing second and $1,000 for winning the Palo Alto Software Best One Page Pitch.

“We are ecstatic to have placed second in the nation’s longest running business plan competition, it really is an honor,” Keith said. “We’re a little sad that our days on the business plan circuit are over, but are very much excited as we move forward with our first distributions of samples.”

MITO’s product is an adhesive epoxy additive which allows manufacturers to double the durability or significantly decreases the weight of composite materials utilized in the aerospace, recreation and automotive industries. It is based on technology developed at the Helmerich Research Center in Tulsa.

Previously, MITO placed second earlier in April at the Rice Business Plan Competition and received more than $90,000 in investment prizing and placed second at the Baylor Business New Venture Competition in February and took home $35,000 in investment prizing. The team also placed first in the 2016 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup, hosted by i2E in Oklahoma City, in the High Growth Graduate Division and was awarded $20,000.

“I’m thrilled with the team’s success,” Gajan said. “And while the money is important to launch the business, the feedback has really been invaluable. Each of the competitions had excellent mentors and judges that would critique the plan, challenge the team, and provide advice. We all learned a lot in the process. “

MITO Material Solutions is a part of accelerateOSU, the institute for new venture creation in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU’s Spears School of Business. The program provides entrepreneurial startups a platform that allows exploration of business ideas and resources. Gajan is the director of the program.

“accelerateOSU has replaced the Student Startup Central that we used to have and has moved to a location in downtown Stillwater,” Gajan said. “It will serve as a platform for startups in all stages of development and offers resources and guidance. The institute will also be open to the community as well as OSU students, as we hope to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in the city of Stillwater.”

To learn more about MITO Material Solutions, visit http://www.mitomaterials.com/.

To learn more about accelerateOSU, visit https://riata.okstate.edu/startup/.

For more information about the Oregon New Venture Championship, visit https://nvc.uoregon.edu/.