Aegis Digital Health

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Aegis Digital Health?

Aegis’ first product, SweetSpot, addresses the problem of ineffective, inconsistent standard of care for diabetes patients. These patients visit the provider’s office at most 4x/year, when they are tested for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), with little to no engagement between visits or insight into how their medications or lifestyle affect blood sugar on a daily basis. This leads to “clinical inertia” and poor clinical outcomes for the 34M Americans with diabetes. Underserved populations – rural, low socioeconomic status, and certain ethnic groups – are particularly hard hit. As few as 20% of diabetics achieve the target HbA1c level of <7%, and they incur $9,600 annually in excess health care expenses compared to the average, including 12M ER visits and hospitalizations every year, and an annual cost to the health care system of >$240B. Advances in technology – continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and insulin pumps and other delivery devices – provide significantly far more detailed data than HbA1c, and studies have shown this can lead to more effective and less expensive care. However, device complexity, difficult data retrieval, confusing reimbursement codes and lack of clinical resources often prevent the provider (the target customer) from effectively using these devices and the data available to improve patient care.

SweetSpot is a software platform and clinical support service that supports end-to-end remote patient monitoring for all diabetes devices. The service solves all the problems described above by: 1) managing device setup and patient onboarding, 2) automatically retrieving data from each device manufacturer’s portal, 3) analyzing and triaging the data, 4) providing a common dashboard that enables clinicians to quickly see which patients need attention without having to manually retrieve and sort through hundreds of pages of device data, 5) supporting clinician data review with recommendations for changes to patient management, 6) automatically capturing billable events and applying the appropriate reimbursement codes, 7) presenting claims-ready reports to the billing staff, and 8) integrating with the patient’s EHR. SweetSpot also offers clinical support for practices that do not have the internal resources to support this new workflow. By transitioning the standard of care from HbA1c to Time in Range (TIR – the percentage of time glucose levels are within prescribed boundaries), SweetSpot has the potential to reduce comorbidity risk by 40% and ER visits by 50%.

Company Leadership

STEPHEN VON RUMP

CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Stephen Von Rump, MS, is a 5-time CEO and 3-time founder with 3 exits. He has extensive healthcare sales and operational experience, and has developed, launched and managed a dozen products in the healthcare technology space.

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RALPH OIKNINE, MD

Co-founder & CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

Ralph Oiknine, MD, is an endocrinologist with over 20 years of clinical experience, and is nationally known among diabetes clinicians and industry leaders. He is the inventor of the SweetSpot concept, born out of years of frustration with the existing standard of care for diabetes patients.

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AMIAD FREDMAN, MD

Co-founder & chief product officer

Amiad Fredman, MD, is nationally known digital health thought leader with experience driving product development. His focus is on maximizing user engagement, and he brings both clinical and design expertise to the task.

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abby cohen

Co-founder & CoO

Abby Cohen, BME, was the founder and CEO of Sparo, which had an exit in 2022. She has extensive product development and operations experience, FDA regulatory and quality experience, early partner development and revenue generation experience.

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KAY BROSCHAT, PhD

Co-founder & PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOr

Kay Bouschat is a seasoned project management professional with a substantial 30-year track record that spans academia, startups, and pharmaceutical companies. She has demonstrated a robust ability to secure funding for research and development through diverse channels including NIH grants, venture capital, pharmaceutical partnerships, and strategic alliances. Specializing in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostic translational medicine, Kay has been pivotal in recruiting and fostering the adoption of new medical practices among Key Opinion Leaders. Her strategic insight into in-licensing and alliance structures has proven invaluable for therapeutics and technology transfer, underscoring her role as a dynamic force in the advancement of medical innovation and enterprise.

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Chippin

Origin: Arlington, VA | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Chippin?

Chippin is pioneering the shift to high quality, low “eco pawprint” pet foods powered by drooly-worthy, healthy and planet-saving ingredients. The company taps into ingredients such as invasive species, insects and algae to craft nutrient-rich foods.

Company Leadership

HALEY RUSSELL

FOUNDER & CEO

Haley Russell is Founder & CEO of Chippin, a sustainable pet nutrition company. Haley is an experienced food and beverage operator who worked for Boston Consulting Group as a Consultant and started her career as a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs. In the years before launching Chippin, she led projects in the human food and beverage industry–including scaling a juice startup, launching bike delivery with UberEATS, and working with coffee cooperatives in East Africa.

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Constituent Connection

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Constituent Connection?

The vast majority of money in politics is spent on fundraising activities, not on educating voters. As a result, personal wealth, celebrity, and clickbait ads are more influential in winning elections than ideas, platform, values, or credentials. Constituent Connection is a socially minded for-profit entity that believes that if it is cost effective for the best quality, often least funded candidates to win elections, those officials will better serve their constituents and the world will be a better place. By driving down the cost to campaign, we free candidates to put their focus where it should be: engaging with their constituents.

Company Leadership

SPENCER TODER

Co-Founder & CEO

Spencer is no stranger to entrepreneurship or to politics. He’s spent his career supporting innovative companies throughout the region. The concept for Constituent Connection was developed during as he ran and finished third in the Democratic primary in a bid to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate. He’s passionate about finding ways to make the world a better place for future generations and is appreciative of his tremendously supportive wife, Courtney and their family!

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Chris SHIPLEY

Co-founder & CEO

Chris has been a pillar of the entrepreneurship ecosystem since the dotcom era. Named “One of the Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley” Chris has had a tremendous impact on STL startups as well, as a mentor of Pipeline Entrepreneurs, where she and Spencer formed a friendship that would lead to her acting as Senior Advisor to his campaign. When Chris isn’t disrupting an industry, she’s writing an award-winning business strategy book, or traveling the country with her wonderful wife Nancy and dog Koa.

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Golden Gems

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Golden Gems?

Golden Gems is a lifestyle brand that designs and sells accessories, apparel, stationary goods, and home decor. All of their products exude their mission of inspiring and empowering you to live unapologetically, take up space and live life on your own terms.

Sisters Susan Logsdon and Amanda Helman started Golden Gems in 2016 headquartered out of Amanda’s living room. What started with lots of long nights and just 8 products, the Golden Gems gals quickly gained a local following through Etsy and opened up their first brick and mortar in a small shop on Cherokee Street in South St. Louis City in 2018. Over the next few years, Golden Gems experienced such rapid growth that Susan and Amanda tripled their product line, grew their team with 18 new employees, and quickly outgrew that little 1200 sq ft shop on Cherokee.

In October 2021, Golden Gems moved into our current 5600 sq ft flagship store & warehouse space on Locust Street in Midtown St. Louis. The new space houses a bigger retail store in the front, with headquarters in the back for shipping, housing their ever growing product line, offices, event space, photography studio and more.

Additionally, they opened a holiday pop-up shop in 2021 at the City Foundry, which quickly proved that St. Louis wanted more Golden Gems and the sister duo signed a permanent lease in 2022. Earlier this year they opened their third location at West County Center and it has been a huge success.

In addition to their brick and mortar and online shops, Golden Gems has a thriving wholesale business and their products can be found in over 800 stores across the country, including Urban Outfitters and Paper Source. Helman and Logsdon are excited to grow their brand locally, and are confident that St. Louis expansion will lead to even more recognition by shoppers and the brand can continue to expand nationally as the years go on.

Company Leadership

AMANDA HELMAN

Co-Founder & COO

Michelle spent the first part of her career as a top ranked on-air television news reporter, culminating at Fox 2 News, St. Louis. She is an expert at product marketing and go-to-market strategy derived from her strong analytical and communication skills. She also founded and led a public relations and marketing firm where she gained experience with businesses ranging from startups to 100M+ non-profit where she was the senior executive responsible for all aspects of marketing, communications and campaign strategy.

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SUSAN LOGSDON

Co-founder & CCO

Susan is a self taught graphic designer with over 12 years of experience in the field. Susan is a lover of the creative process and enjoys writing and playing music, baking, designing, and naturally enjoys designing new Golden Gems products.

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Pana Mina

Origin: Jaipur, India |

Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Pana Mina?

“”We Make Clothing Personal”
Pana Mina is a made-to-order clothing startup at the intersection of sustainability and size-inclusivity. Pana Mina uses natural, eco-friendly fabrics to make custom-sized garments, encouraging customers to embrace their individuality and use their unique body measurements, rather than restrictive standard sizes, to purchase clothing online.

Company Leadership

ELEANOR SWANSTROM

Co-Founder

Eleanore was first exposed to the fashion industry when she modeled for St. Louis Fashion Week as a teenager. She later graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Marketing degree, and then worked for a marketing agency in Minneapolis serving apparel brands like Calvin Klein and Lane Bryant. In 2019, Eleanore traveled through India and met her partner and fellow Co-Founder, Jay. She then spent 3 years living in Jay’s vibrant hometown: Jaipur, India. Eleanore’s apparel marketing expertise and international experience prepared her to co-found Pana Mina, and bring sustainable, size-inclusive clothing to a global audience.

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dhananjay sharma

Co-founder

Dhananjay grew up in Jaipur, India, an international hub for apparel production. His local connections, combined with his efficient and detail-oriented work style, allow him to vet production facilities, evaluate fabric options, and ensure products meet the highest quality standards.

Dhananjay’s motto, “Sab Kuch Milega” – meaning “Everything is Possible” in Hindi – reflects his can-do attitude and optimism that any manufacturing or logistics challenge can be solved through the right local partners and processes. He helps Pana Mina navigate the complexities of apparel production in India, and realize the vision of sustainable clothing for all.

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Shades of Color

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Shades of Color?

Shades of Color provides a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible global platform using artificial intelligence and augmented reality to empower beauty brands and consumers with personalized solutions to buy and sell products for their unique needs, cultures, and lifestyles.

Their interactive personalized beauty marketplace enhances the shopping experience by connecting beauty brands and beauty shoppers with unique skin tones, skin conditions, and allergies.

Company Leadership

TASHARA EARL

FOUNDER & CEO

Tashara Earl is a multifaceted entrepreneur, artist & licensed cosmetologist. Growing up in the Baden Neighborhood of North St. Louis led her to embark on the beauty, entertainment, and entrepreneurship journey. Like millions of others, Tashara struggled to find products that worked for her unique needs. With her experience, Tashara passionately founded Shades of Color to address an unmet beauty industry need and empower economic growth in our communities.

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TASHA EARL

Co-founder & CTO

Tasha Earl is the CTO of Shades of Color and a driven senior advisor in the Missouri Air National Guard. Her expertise is enhancing organizational effectiveness, fostering cultural diversity and inclusion, and adapting to evolving operational and technological demands. Tasha earned her B.S. in Information Technology from Lindenwood University. Over the past nine years, Tasha has honed her skills through a series of roles: Systems and Database Manager, Cyber Security Liaison, and IT Specialist.

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michelle storey

co-founder

Michelle Storey is a licensed cosmetologist with 30 years of experience and over 14 years of commercial insurance experience. As a Business Developer, Michelle’s affectionate personality ensures an exceptional client experience.

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The Girls Company

Origin: Salt Lake City, UT |

Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is The Girls Company?

One fateful day in an entrepreneurship class at Brigham Young University, Abby Warner, Taimi Kennerley and Zoia Ali were placed together at random in a group. They became fast-friends, and were coined “The Girls.” Little did they know that this class would lead them to eventually found The Girls Company, and launch their signature product: The Band (the world’s thinnest heated band, no electrical cords or outlets required).
Their mission? To make period cramps suck less. Because life shouldn’t stop when your period starts. Period.
In order to bring their vision to life and get the necessary funding, The Girls entered a variety of business competitions. They stood out at every event they attended, and went on to become the first all-female team to win first place at the International Business Model Competition.
Their journey has not always been easy. The Girls are often up against rooms filled with men, who do not understand the need for their products. The Girls keep persevering, educating and captivating their audiences. They have done the heavy lifting, the research, the interviews, the case-studies, the prototypes, and many, many tests.
How exactly does their signature product work? The Band comes with three pockets in the front, and three in the back. The user takes their thin, disposable warmers, and inserts them in the desired pockets. The warmers provide all-day heat (eight to ten hours). Once finished, the warmers can be disposed of. The ingredients are environmentally safe, and the band is machine-washable. This extremely discrete band can be worn under clothes during a variety of daily activities, without being noticed.
The Girls are continually working to destigmatize period talk, and are developing more products for this underserved market. Not only does The Girls Company create unique period solutions, they have built a safe community for women to have those open and important conversations.

Company Leadership

ABBY WARNER

CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Abby Warner graduated from BYU with a degree in entrepreneurship and a minor in international development. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, she manages all of the bookkeeping, finances and accounting, for The Girls Co., along partner relations and maintaining a long-term vision for the company.

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TAIMI KNNERLEY

Co-founder & CMO

Taimi Kennerley moved from Lynfield, New Zealand, to the U.S. when she was ten years old. Taimi is half-samoan and her name means “time.” She received an entrepreneurship degree from BYU, and handles brand building, digital and physical assets, socials and customer experience for The Girls Co.

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Zoia Ali

CO-FOUNDER & COO

Zoia Ali grew up in a Pakistani household in the Dallas, Texas area. Inspired by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit, she went on to graduate from BYU with a degree in entrepreneurship. She focuses on operations, product development, SEO, digital and outbound marketing for The Girls Co. and likes to problem solve.

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Top Tutors For Us

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is Top Tutors For Us?

By Black tutors, for Black students, Top Tutor for Us designs educational programs and curriculums for predominately Black public schools. These curricula work hand-in-hand with the company’s supplementary private tutoring services to provide the younger generation equal opportunity to succeed in the college admission process. Top Tutors has also developed a custom suite of resources including prep books, online videos, and practice problems so that students have access to everything they need to succeed. As an outside source, Top Tutors has the benefit of connecting students with a mentor who has had similar experiences, creating a network. This specialized connection is something many other generic tutoring services are unable to offer. We keep our students in the system so that after they graduate, they can become a Top Tutor, creating a community and cycle of teaching each other.

Company Leadership

ANGELICA HARRIS

FOUNDER & CEO

Angelica Harris earned her third WashU degree, a Masters in Computer Science. Before college, she received $1.5M+ in scholarships, gaining entry to top universities. Starting with a 16 ACT score, she self-improved to 32. Now, for 7 years, she aids students in similar journeys. Noticing low Black student numbers in prestigious institutions during undergrad, she founded a business guiding Black students to boost their university prospects.

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We Hear You

Origin: Peoria, IL |

Grant Awarded: 2023 | Status: Active

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What is We Hear You?

We Hear You® is a startup company that creates accessible technology for those who are often not placed at the forefront of innovation. We Hear You® is currently working on two inventions that are focused on inclusivity and accessibility. The first is a two-way sign language translation software that is able to translate ASL through hand recognition and then translate speech to ASL. The second invention, Push™ , is a revolutionary solution for transforming ADA doors into automatic doors. With a simple press of a personal button, individuals with mobility exceptionalities can easily access public spaces, improving their independence and ease of mobility. This device is versatile; it can be worn as a wristband, attached to a wheelchair, or clipped to a keychain. The low-cost assistive devices empower businesses to accommodate their customers, ensuring a more accessible and inclusive environment. By prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion as the foundation of innovation, We Hear You® strives to create a world where everyone can navigate their everyday lives with ease and dignity.

Company Leadership

Pierre Paul

FOUNDER & CEO

Pierre Paul was born in Brazil, grew up shortly in Guyana, and then landed in Ohio. At a young age, he faced extreme poverty, xenophobia and racism for simply being different. Armed with these experiences, he grew up with an unwavering determination to ensure that others who fell outside the “status quo” did not feel unwelcome in the world. Motivated by a vision for change and a burning desire to address the concerns of individuals whose voices often go unheard, Pierre embarked on a mission to establish We Hear You®.

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BETHANY COURI

Co-founder

Bethany is a young, driven Ed.D. student and professional. She works at Bradley University overseeing campus Residential Living. In addition, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer for We Hear You, LLC to ensure that we as a society are proactive with inclusivity and accessibility instead of being reactive to others’ needs.

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