Startup Stories

Inspiration comes in many forms. It is an unconscious burst of energy in any endeavor. But not all inspired ideas turn into new companies and not all innovators are entrepreneurs. Below is a sampling of companies formed after graduating from UC’s Venture Lab, ranging from software to biopharmaceuticals.

Amplicore Inc.
Established in 2018, Amplicore Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a new class of regenerative therapeutics for musculoskeletal diseases, such as degenerative joint osteoarthritis, cartilage damage, degenerative disc disease, and acute meniscus tear. The proprietary technology that leads to Amplicore's novel formulation was based on the founder, Dr. Chia-Ying James Lin's breakthrough findings and inventions from a long-term observational study at the Orthopedic Clinics of the University of Michigan Medical School and the University of Cincinnati Health Science Centers. The technology has since driven interest and received various governmental funding supports, including awards from National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. Amplicore plans to conduct clinical trials in observing the efficacy of the drug in treating osteoarthritic knee pain, as well as facilitating acute meniscal tear commonly seen in sports injuries through support by the Department of Defense.

Amplify Sciences

Two former post-doctoral students from UC engineerings’ Novel Device Laboratory are changing the way we manage flu season by creating the first, at-home flu test using just a saliva sample. With earlier access to time-sensitive antiviral treatments and the ability to self-quarantine through cheap and disposable testing, Amplify is providing an innovative solution to limiting the spread of the flu. Developed in a UC lab focused on making wearable sweat-based biosensors, the team’s new technology amplifies the signal of pathogens in biofluid samples. This technology allows them to create easier-to-use tests that provide quick, actionable results. The founders of Amplify Sciences, Inc. are Andrew Jajack, a PhD graduate, Eliot Gomez, a UC alumnus, and Jason Heikenfeld. Entrepreneur-in-Residence is Stuart Schaefer.

DAAP faculty member Claudia Rebola is developing the ANTI-OD product to combat the opioid epidemic. Claudia recently graduated from UC’s Venture Lab, presenting to a packed house in  April 2019. Her presentation garnered interest from all over the local region, leading to strategic partnerships that will ensure the product is accessible to all who need it around the state and beyond.


The MINDCHIPS team is working toward creating a novel brain-inspired computing architecture for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications in energy constrained systems such as drones, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous cars, mobile robots, and other devices. The research has been funded by $1.13 million from the National Science Foundation, IBM, Air Force Research Lab, and the UC Venture Lab. The MINDCHIPS team, consisting of Dr. Rashmi Jha (Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Andrew Rush, and Thomas Schultz, was awarded a Phase I grant from the UC Venture Lab in April 2018. Since graduating from the pre-accelerator, they have fabricated multiple memory circuits and initial performance data are encouraging. The MINDCHIPS team has garnered the attention of a well-respected industry executive to help explore the commercialization opportunities and drive toward the creation of a startup.


Venture Lab recently awarded funding to Peel9, a team of UC faculty and consultants from the School of Criminal Justice who developed a new record management system for law enforcement. The web-based system allows users to drill down into individual incidents to address issues and assess effectiveness, and allows for increased collaboration among law enforcement agencies. Peel9’s product was alpha-tested by 11 police agencies this past winter, and will hit the market by the end of the calendar year. The team’s experience in Venture Lab helped in researching the marketplace, further developing the concept, and achieving a better understanding of the needs the product meets. It also resulted in a partnership with an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Todd Levy, who will serve as the newly incorporated business’s CEO. Team members include Murat Ozer, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Tim Sabransky, Chief Marketing Officer, Dan Gerard, Director of Business Development, M. Said Varlioglu, and Todd Levy, CEO. Each member brings real-world experience in policing and law enforcement to bear, fueling the development of the record management system and the passion to drive it forward

See Words
See Words, a graduate of UC’s Venture Lab, won “Best Software Product” at the Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2019 Innovation & Technology Awards. In the Courier’s words, “See Word Reading has married visual design principles used in building successful brands with cognitive research theory to create a suite of applications that help teachers and parents provide personalized, fun and engaging lessons to improve literacy skills for all children.” Renee Seward, associate professor of communication design within DAAP, and founder of See Words, guest lectured in April 2019 at Yale University about how her work in graphic design led to her startup. Podcast distribution of that lecture resulted in interest from one of the world’s largest publishing houses in partnering on content. To date, Seward has received funding from the Venture Lab commercializing her technology.