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Embry-Riddle Worldwide student and founder of Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc., Reamonn Soto won first place in the 2017 Launch Your Venture competition held April 18 at the Research Park's MicaPlex. Also pictured are Dr. Stephanie Miller, Embry-Riddle Director of Technology Transfer/Research Park Initiatives and Dr. Michael Bowers, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach Campus.​

Worldwide Student Wins Launch Your Venture Competition

Embry-Riddle Worldwide student and technology startup business founder Reamonn Soto’s Sensatek Propulsion Technology Inc. earned the first-place nod and a check for $10,000 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Launch Your Venture competition held April 18 at the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex (MicaPlex) in the university’s Research Park.

Sensatek licenses patented technology to manufacture ceramic sensors that wirelessly measures the health of gas turbines, predicting failure before it happens and letting operators know that maintenance should be done. Owners of gas turbines will see lower costs, resulting in savings that may be measured in the millions of dollars. Dr. Mark Ricklick, Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, serves as an advisor to the company.

Soto, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and candidate for an M.S. in Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Worldwide, competed in the third annual TREP Expo hosted by the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship. As part of TREP Expo, 15 teams of student-led ventures qualified for the semi-final round, presenting their ventures to the public and a panel of judges.  From the semi-finals, four student-led teams advanced to Launch Your Venture based on the judging criteria of market viability, innovativeness and wow factor.

“We’re incredibly grateful to represent Embry-Riddle at the 2017 Florida Venture Forum Collegiate Business Plan Competition,” said Soto, who as the winner also received the sponsorship as one of the in-kind services provided by the Center for Entrepreneurship and MicaPlex partners. “We’re also very grateful to our alumni in providing real-world insight that has made a world of difference in our perspective in revolutionizing the gas turbine industry.” 

The four teams were given more than $18,000 in prize money sponsored by the university President’s Office and in-kind prizes such as hour-long consultations on IT support, early-stage venture funding, accounting, intellectual property, marketing and more provided by MicaPlex partners and Embry-Riddle professionals.

The top companies were:

  • Second place ($5,000) –  Embedded Control Designs LLC, founded by Daytona Beach Campus graduate and now master’s student Michael Campobasso and Shane Stebler, a Daytona Beach Campus graduate, produces drones equipped with a unique communication architecture – swarm technology — that empowers farmers who need reliable and efficient crop monitoring solutions by providing an operationally fault-tolerant data collection platform that eliminates the need for multiple certified drone pilots.
  • Third place ($3,000) – Weintraus LLC created by Daytona Beach Campus Commercial Space Operations graduate Scott H. Weintraub, provides satellite servicing, asteroid mining, debris mitigation and in-orbit refueling services. Its current project is the Hercules Space Tug, which will have the ability to fly in space and move small spacecraft from one location to another.
  • Fourth place ($500 from Kpartnerz Foundation) – Parking Active Solutions LLC, led by three Daytona Beach Campus undergraduate students – Abdiel Alexander Santos-Galindo, Cameron Monk and Paul McKenna – aims to provide a solution to a common problem – easing the stress of finding a parking spot. They have created a device that uses range-finding sensors at a set height to determine the presence of vehicles with an indicator that will notify the availability of open parking spots. Key targets of this technology are commercial and private parking lots, shopping malls, movie theaters, stadiums and convention centers.

“This competition not only puts a spotlight on, and much-needed monetary support into, these student-led startups, it also gives them face-to-face opportunities to network with judges who have proven experience in investing and building successful businesses,” said Dr. Michael Bowers, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

Judges for this year’s competition were Mosley Ventures partner John Vecchio, Executive Director of FireSpring Fund (MicaPlex partner) Donna Mackenzie, and Chief Operating Officer of venVELO (MicaPlex partner) Allen Kupetz. 

“These incredible Embry-Riddle students and graduates are incorporating their education, experience and ideas into exciting real-world solutions,” added Dr. Stephanie Miller, Embry-Riddle Director of Technology Transfer and Research Park Initiatives.


About The John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex (MicaPlex)

Known as the MicaPlex, this cornerstone building of the Research Park at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will house collaborative workspaces, a wide range of laboratories and business support services collocated to ensure that technology-focused startups will have every advantage for success. The first building phase also includes a large wind tunnel and test facility with cutting-edge instrumentation. Named for U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Florida) in honor of his key role in supporting the university’s educational and research endeavors, it is strategically located in Central Florida’s “Convergence Zone” of innovation and discovery. This collaborative atmosphere is designed for incubating new technologies across 10,000 square feet of flex lease space to meet tenants’ needs, and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2017. For more information, go to erau.edu/micaplex. For information about partnership opportunities, call (386) 226-4928 or email micaplex@erau.edu

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.