Roundup: B-Start, Givelify, Notre Dame Turbomachinery Lab & More

Here’s a look at innovation news from across Indiana:

—Three Indiana University students won the top spots at a recent demo day competition hosted by B-Start, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation‘s accelerator program. Zachary Burr snagged first place ($2,500) for Tydee Laundry, an on-demand laundry service; Christopher Podlaski won second place ($1,500) for Plant Software, an automated scheduling tool; and third place ($500) went to Wes Wagner for Intask, a platform to connect with and manage student interns. Nine startups participated in the four-month B-Start incubation program, and all will receive a $500 stipend to continue growing their businesses.

—Ten students participating in Notre Dame California’s inaugural Silicon Valley Semester have headed West for four months of immersive innovation, the university announced. The SVS students, who are juniors at Notre Dame, combine full-time studies with credit-bearing internships at Bay Area tech companies. Classes will initially meet at Menlo College in Atherton, CA, before moving to Notre Dame’s new Palo Alto facility once construction is finished at the end of the month.

Givelify, an app connecting donors with charities, churches, and religious organizations, is expanding its office in Indianapolis and will create up to 40 new jobs by 2020, according to an Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announcement. The four-year-old company plans to triple the size of its downtown office and grow its sales, marketing, client support, and development operations.

“Religious and nonprofit organizations are starting to realize that the old ways of electronic giving—complicated web forms and text-to-give codes—don’t meet the expectations of the next generations of donors,” said Tayo Ademuyiwa, Givelify’s co-founder, in a statement. “The Givelify app’s signature three-tap giving experience is at the forefront of a whole new era of philanthropy, defined by millennials and micro donations.”

The IEDC offered Givelify up to $90,000 in training grants and up to $410,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. The company is currently hiring for positions across the company; interested applicants can apply here.

—The Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (NDTL) announced it has entered into a 19-month, $2.5 million agreement with South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (DHI) to research and test gas turbines. The testing will happen at the lab’s 10 megawatt compressor test cell, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational by the fall. Once the test cell is completed, the lab will house one of the largest compressor research facilities in the world.

According to a press release, the compressor test will study aerodynamic phenomena that even the most powerful computers can’t simulate. “The opportunity to work with a global leader like DHI is a testament to the unique research and testing capabilities of NDTL and the university as a whole,” said lab director Joshua Cameron. “With the world-class capabilities we are building, our facility will be able to support any manufacturer in research and development for the next generation of turbomachinery products.”

—Indiana University’s six locations—Northwest, East, Kokomo, Indianapolis, South Bend, and Southeast—are now collaborating to offer an online option for students pursuing a degree in informatics, the science of processing data for storage and retrieval. The collaboration allows students to enroll at one campus and follow the full degree requirements there while taking classes based at the other campuses online.

The online program was approved by the state’s Higher Learning Commission last fall after a 2013 Deloitte report found almost no online informatics programs despite high market demand for program graduates. According to the university, those with informatics degrees typically work as systems and database analysts, network administrators, and web developers.

—After being closed for two months, the Hi-Fi in Indianapolis will open its doors for Verge Pitch Night on Feb. 23. The “Shark Tank”-style event will feature local startups Mimir, SpringBuk, and Boosterville pitching their ideas to a panel of investors. Get tickets here.

—Indianapolis-based software development company RocketBuild has named Jason Ward its new president. Ward was promoted from his position as the company’s director of accounts. Before joining RocketBuild, Ward worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

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