Startup Pipeline Continues at Capstone
As his startup prepares to launch its second product, Partha Unnava turned to Georgia Tech students to help develop an improved medical walking boot.
His company, Better Walk, sponsored a team at Thursday’s Capstone Design Expo, which showcases senior projects that aim to solve industry problems, develop innovative research tools, or launch entrepreneurial ideas.
“I decided to sponsor a Capstone team because Georgia Tech students are the brightest,” he said. “They are focused and hardworking.”
Unnava should know. Until recently he was a Georgia Tech student.
He withdrew from school to focus on launching Better Walk, which redesigned crutches to minimize underarm pain. The crutches are scheduled to be out in February. The second product – the redesigned walking cast – should be available in the next 12 to 18 months, he said
While many of the more than 100 Capstone projects reflect work to help industry leaders solve problems or find new ideas, this year’s event includes a couple of teams sponsored by young startups with strong Georgia Tech ties. This work continues the startup ecosystem Georgia Tech is creating so students graduate with a strong background in innovation and entrepreneurism.
The company created a “robotic bartender” that allows people to order custom drinks — from a selection of some 300 popular cocktails — at the swipe of a screen. Their Capstone team was charged with optimizing the expected profit of the menus according to forecasted demand and creating an inventory policy to minimize associated costs.
Gimme Vending, which was part of the inaugural class of Georgia Tech’s Startup Summer program in 2014, sponsored a Capstone team to work on a keyless entry to vending machines. It is designed to retrofit existing vending machines and replace the existing mechanical cylinder lock, said Cory Hewett, the company’s CEO.
The company introduced hardware and an app to make vending machine operations more efficient for owners. Gimme Vending won this year’s annual TAG Business Launch Competition, which is sponsored in part by the Technology Association of Georgia.
Hewett studied electrical engineering at Tech and attended class with some members of the Capstone team. He was already familiar with their strong work ethic and problem-solving skills
“It’s been great working with them, not just for me, but for our whole team,” Hewett said. “Because of our size, it is very important that our core team focuses singularly on our current product offering. The Capstone team is a huge help because they can work independently to help Gimme build brand new technology without any split on our focus.”