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Innovation & Startups

Meet the new Thrill Mill companies


Big data tools that identify the college courses you need to land your first job. A better dual-laptop. An online music site that wants to be the Craigslist of music.
 
These are among the 13 new startups that moved in to Thrill Mill’s accelerator space this month, full of promise and big entrepreneurial ideas.

Thrill Mill CEO Bobby Zappala couldn’t be more excited about the new group.
 
“The idea is for this to be a growing community, not one that turns over,” says Zappala. “Eventually we want to create an alumni hall so anyone can pop your head in anytime. It keeps the energy going in the space.”
Meet the teams:
 
Because is a third party commenting system for online media sites that encourages civil and on-topic conversations. Two Pittsburgh brothers, Nick and TJ Santillo, are behind the idea.
 
BricoMama wants to be the place where property owners and contractors find labor that meets the parameters of any job. The platform is geared toward both the contractor and consumers, allowing both to input what each are looking for and locate the best person for the job.
 
Campusbuck.com is a web and mobile-based promotional marketing solution for small business owners in college towns, like ours, in helping them to connect with and offer vouchers to the student community. Two MBA grads from IUP are behind the startup, which has already begun to generate revenue.
 
CCChampions is a nonprofit that gives children with cancer an opportunity to meet and develop friendships with professional athletes. The platform, developed by Sidney Kushar, was launched nationally in Pittsburgh in 2013 through the Steelers and the Pirates. So far it has served more than 300 kids.
 
Fittsburgh wants to make Pittsburgh a healthy place to live. Brothers Joe and Anthony Vennare have created a sustainable model that allows people to take care of themselves, from box lunches to corporations.
 
Kreide, founded by Stephanie Kunkel and Katie Imler, provides NCAA member institutions with educational compliance materials. The idea is to navigate the complexities of the system to help athletic staff and athletes in navigating the rules and preventing infractions.
 
LUV Water is creating a self-sustainable, sophisticated water purification device that uses UV LEDs to clean the water.
 
Smart tools from MedZen want to make the electronic compliance system for primary care physicians more user-friendly. The idea is to reduce the burden of documentation while ensuring compliance, reducing overhead, improving efficiency and enhancing the quality of doctor-patient interaction.
 
MeshNet is designing a big data platform that will optimize the interaction between students, educators, and employers and help people (especially students) use software to navigate and make better life decisions such as what courses to take to land a job.
 
Conceived by a group of Pitt grads, it won the Pitt Big Idea Competition and was the grand-prize winner in the most recent Business Bout.
 
MIX is developing a specialty salad restaurant concept for the East Liberty area. The idea is to create a creative dining experience focused on providing access to fast and health-conscious meal options.
 
PittsburghBeats.com wants to be the craigslist of music. Developed by Solomon Ilochi, a Duquesne freshman, it’s an online music distribution company that specializes in the promotion of local talent. Users may sign up, upload, share, and eventually sell their works. Users will also be able to create custom merchandise and sell tickets to their shows.
 
Portal offers premier hardware solutions through the creation of a dual laptop, an attachable mobile workstation that provides additional USB ports, extending battery life and adds an equally sized secondary screen that can be conveniently hidden while not in use.
 
TameraOnline, being developed by Tamera Szijarto, a native of the Philippines who is attending Katz Business School, is looking to build a scalable model to bring cosmetic products to the international marketplace.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Bobby Zappala, Thrill Mill
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