Aravind Seshadri, founder and CEO of Roll-2-Roll Technologies, came to Oklahoma from India to earn his master's degree in mechanical engineering at Oklahoma State University. He liked Oklahoma and OSU so well that he applied to earn his Ph.D.
Out of curiosity, Seshadri signed up for an entrepreneurship class at OSU for scientists and engineers. There he heard about the Governor's Cup and joined with some MBA students to compete in the 2012 Business Plan Competition.
The team didn't win, but the experience started Seshadri thinking that starting a company just might be possible.
This spring, he formed a second Governor's Cup team. For their concept, they talked to many companies including Proctor and Gamble and 3M. The result was the business plan for Roll-2-Roll Technologies, a company that makes an improved lateral guide for reducing waste in manufacturing processes that use raw material that comes in rolls — like diapers, newsprint and other consumer products that are made from plastic, metal, paper, film or foam.
Roll-2-Roll's product is based on patented fiber optic sensing technology and control algorithms that Seshadri helped develop as part of his master's thesis at OSU. It saves companies money through waste reduction, improved equipment set up and utilization, and process efficiency.
The Roll-2-Roll team placed second in the Governor's Cup and first in the Tri-State Competition in Las Vegas, earning $40,000. They also won the OSU Riata Business Plan Competition. Seshadri received his Ph.D. in May, and OSU is funding a postdoctoral fellowship for him to continue to develop and commercialize the technology.
DID YOU KNOW?
A recent survey by the Kauffman Foundation suggests that it may be possible to increase entrepreneurship by exposing more people to existing entrepreneurs, especially peers or contemporaries.