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Four businesses start at Innovation Park

Laura Knauf | Thursday, February 4, 2010

Four promising new businesses have recently been established at Innovation Park, the facility just south of Notre Dame’s campus, David Brenner, the park’s president and CEO, said.

Current Notre Dame faculty and students helped found two of these businesses — Emu Solutions and Unlimited Juice, LLC.

Jay Brockman, associate dean of engineering and co-founder of Emu Solutions, said he and co-founders Peter Kogge and Ed Upchurch settled at Notre Dame because being part of the University’s research efforts was important to their business plan.

“Being so close to campus enables us to consider projects that take our core designs and extend them into new application areas, where the expertise of other university faculty can be beneficial,” Kogge, a computer science and engineering professor, said.

Emu, which stands for Enhanced Memory Utilization, is a company that develops computer technology to help “bridge the gap between memory and logic capabilities in computer systems,” according to a Jan. 26 press release.

Brockman said Emu Solutions benefits from skilled students, faculty and alumni from Notre Dame, who aid in their research and marketing endeavors.

“Aside from the three founders, we’ve hired a number of consultants, of which more than half have Notre Dame connections,” Brockman said.

Unlimited Juice is an upstart business also based in Innovation Park.

“When choosing an MBA program, it was essential that I find a place conducive to the launch and continued growth of my business,” Landon Spitalnik, founder and MBA candidate at Notre Dame, said. “The resources offered through Innovation Park at Notre Dame afford me just such an opportunity.”

Unlimited Juice, which is housed in the greenhouse space at Innovation Park, develops technology that will use environmentally friendly methods to extend the battery life of consumer electronic devices.

“The easy version is to imagine a case for your iPhone that is solar powered,” Spitalnik said, referring to the first product that he hopes to market.

Innovation Park assists Spitalnik and its other clients with the stops of forming a successful business — from manufacturing to warehousing, from customer service to back-office operations, said Spitalnik.

“As we launch the business, I hope to serve as an example of how a successful partnership with Innovation Park can help commercialize a new product and develop a new business,” he said.

“What the community wants to hear is what is going to be the job impact,” said Brockman.
Both Spitalnik and Brockman said they hope their ventures will someday enrich the South Bend community by providing jobs.

“I truly envision a number of ways small and large that our products and our company can engender positive change in the community and the world,” Spitalnik said.

The purpose and mission of the 55,000 square-foot Innovation Park, which opened late last fall, is “to facilitate the transformation of innovations into viable marketplace ventures.”

“The Park is designed to serve a variety of businesses in various stages of development,” Brenner said. “This includes ventures with expected commercial applications from core Notre Dame research areas as well as ventures that can benefit from access to expertise and resources available through the Park.”

In addition to the many networking benefits provided by the Park’s proximity to Notre Dame, it also offers “an environment conducive to innovative thinking, collaboration and business growth,” Brenner said.

Brenner also said the Park’s commercial setting will be an advantage for University students and faculty.

“Innovation Park is designed to support real-world, commercial entities that want to focus on solving real problems, not textbook issues,” he said.

Students will also be able to participate in research and business with Innovation Park’s clients.

“We expect that students will be a vital resource for client companies here in the Park,” Brenner said. “Our hope is that the companies located in the Park will consider engaging students as interns during the school year and summer whenever possible.”