Alumnus Who Aimed to Solve Major Problem Raises $25 Million
“This all started with a drive to improve humanity,” former Executive Director for Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Kent State University Julie Messing explained. For the problem that Andrew Konya was trying to solve - this was very true.
Konya, '10, graduated from Kent State with a degree in physics and started chiseling away at what is now his company, Remesh, in 2013. Remesh, has gone on to receive $25 million in Series A-2 funding to continue expanding and creating solutions.
The creation of Remesh was inspired by a vision to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with software.
“At the time, I had friends who were on either side of that conflict,” Konya said. “Through a conversation with them, it became clear that one of the reasons this conflict was so hard to solve was because the citizens on the ground didn’t have a well-established or clear voice at the negotiating table or with the world at large in terms of what they needed.”
Konya met Messing, Kate Harmon and Zach Mikrut through LaunchNET (then known as Blackstone LaunchPad), a resource providing guidance for students with entrepreneurial ideas.
“Andrew was one of our very early clients,” Messing said. “He really participated in all three areas of Blackstone LaunchPad: one-on-one advising, student challenges, and networking opportunities.”
During this time, Konya worked with Harmon, current director of cross-campus engagement at the University of Oregon and previous program manager at Kent State for Blackstone LaunchPad.
“He had, at the time, no interest in business whatsoever,” Harmon said. “When he developed Remesh, he was trying to solve a major problem. He got into business because he saw that the business was the way to help him scale and bring this solution to the masses that he wanted.”
In the spring of 2013, Konya attended the annual Kent State University HacKSU Hackathon and the Blackstone LaunchPad’s Innov8athon, which provided him a platform to get his ideas and work seen. There, he met several entrepreneurs and mentors including Charles Stack, CEO of the Cleveland-based startup accelerator Flashstarts.
“I was a mentor, so I walked around and got to meet all the students,” Stack said. “Andrew and his partners were working on a separate idea that was too simple. But I was really impressed by the way Andrew approached it.”
Stack told Konya to keep him updated if he created a new, bigger idea. Konya worked with Blackstone LaunchPad to flesh out his concept, and together they contacted Stack about Konya’s idea for Remesh. Later, Remesh was a participant in the Flashstarts incubator.
“Charles Stack ended up being probably one of the most pivotal individuals of getting our company off the ground,” Konya said.
Throughout his years at Kent State and beyond, Konya’s company went on to earn funding and investments (upwards of $450,000), awards and a spot with the New York City-based business accelerator, Techstars.
Remesh now works with the United Nations on peacekeeping. The organization allows companies to have conversations with their audiences online, using large-scale artificial intelligence software. The audience’s responses to open-ended questions are analyzed in real-time. In the end, companies learn faster using the new approach to gather information similar to focus-groups and surveys.
“It was exciting. The concept that you could have a group of an infinite number of people on one side and then have an infinite number of people on the other side of this conversation and actually have meaningful discourse - I’d never heard of that idea before,” Stack said.
Konya’s success, combined with Kent State’s desire to create collaborative and innovative ventures, has not gone unnoticed.
"I recruit from schools in northeastern Ohio,” Stack said. “I’d say Kent State University is the best out of these schools at bringing people together to come up with innovative ideas."
Everyone who’s had the privilege of seeing Konya and Remesh grow with Kent State’s help is beyond proud, Messing explained.
“He grew in so many aspects,” Messing said. “He was innovative, coachable and passionate. This is Kent State pride.”
To learn more about Remesh and their accomplishments, visit https://remesh.ai.
From left to right, Gary Ellis - Remesh president/COO & cofounder, Peanut Butter - Remesh VP of K9 Relations, named by Remesh employees using Remesh platform, Andrew Konya - Remesh CEO & cofounder, Noah Workman - Remesh advisor & director of political engagement.
The Remesh team in its office during a presidential primary debate in 2020, running a Remesh with a population of Americans to understand what they were thinking live as the debate unfolded. The team was live streaming and talking about what they were learning in real time.