U of A Student Startup Teams Capture $2,000 In Seed Funding

U of A Student Startup Teams Capture $2,000 In Seed Funding
Brandon Howard

Two U of A student startup teams secured $2,000 in seed funding Wednesday to put toward their innovations. 

CiphrX Biotechnologies and Horizon Health Solutions won the money in a pitch competition at Adohi Hall. The event was hosted by the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the McMillon Innovation Studio

The winning teams included a mix of undergraduate and graduate students who had conducted prior customer discovery or market research to advance their businesses and innovations. 

"I really enjoyed the experience, especially the support and feedback that I received from the judges," said Landon Burcham, CiphrX's chief technology officer and presenter.  

"Our team is always learning how best to communicate a technically complex idea or innovation to an audience, and the three-minute pitch was a great way to practice and grow in this area." 

Rodrigo Salas, one of three local judges and executive director at Entrepreneurship for All Northwest Arkansas, urged all the competitors to pounce on the opportunity to advance their ideas. 

"Don't wait. If you have this dream, keep going," he said. 


  • $2,000: Horizon Health Solutions — Amy Hopper, master's student, business administration 
    • Horizon Health Solutions empowers independent pharmacies to compete against resource-rich industry giants through proprietary, innovative SaaS solutions. 
  • $2,000: CiphrX Biotechnologies — Landon Burcham, master's student, biomedical engineering 
    • CiphrX is a biotechnology company that advances brain cancer diagnostics while keeping patient well-being as its primary focus. The company, which includes students pursuing New Venture Development, has developed a patent-pending test kit that enables same-day genetic sequencing to be performed within the hospital. 
  • $1,000: Kopi Koffee Company — Mitch Harris, master's student, business administration 
    • Kopi Coffee's vision is to make home coffee roasting a part of the daily life of every coffee drinker by providing easy access to high-quality and responsibly sourced coffee beans, and offering a user-friendly at-home coffee roaster. The team includes students pursuing New Venture Development. 
  • $1,000: AutoWillow — Quinn Childress, senior, computing engineering 
    • Working out of OEI's Startup Village, AutoWillow is designing an all-in-one lawn care robot that will halt labor turnover and lower fees for equipment damages.  
  • $500: GammaVet — Shana Owens, postdoctoral researcher, virology 
    • Gamma Vet is a graduate New Venture Development team working on a clinical test for Felis catus gamma herpesvirus, a novel feline herpesvirus affecting more than 32 percent of cats worldwide. They're developing a prototype for a commercial diagnostic device. 
  • $500: Loveself Essentials LLC — Neriah Carter, junior, management
    • To love one another we must first love ourselves. Loveself is designed to create and provide products for your self-love experience. The company aims to create an environment where you feel loved. The team plans to use its funding toward purchasing equipment to increase production and expand its product line. 


About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new. 


Brandon Howard,
Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
479-418-4803, bjhoward@uark.edu


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