LaunchNET Kent State Client’s Startup Raises $10 Million
Through a series of company-building steps, programs and funding, Remesh, what started as the idea of a Kent State University student, has become a star in the Northeast Ohio tech-startup world. The company recently raised $10 million from a Series A funding round led by General Catalyst with participation from seed-round lead investor LionBird Ventures.
Andrew Konya, co-founder of Remesh and Kent State alumnus, who received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 2010, began his entrepreneurial journey as a Kent State graduate student in 2013 by developing algorithms to facilitate conversations between large groups of people, inspired by the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. He then spent time at Kent State hackathons building a prototype and working with advisors from LaunchNET Kent State (then named Blackstone LaunchPad) during the winter and spring of 2014.
Remesh is now at the forefront of the next frontier of market research by using artificial intelligence to quickly collect and easily distribute opinions and insights from a large number of constituents, customers or clients, for organizations to get efficient and effective information on which to base business decisions.
“In a world where truth has become an opinion, the ability to authentically understand people has never been more important,” Mr. Konya says. “That is why we believe solving Representative Intelligence — intelligence capable of engaging, understanding and authentically representing scalable groups of people — is one of the most important problems of the next decade.”
The road from hackathon prototype to Series A funding included a $25,000 investment from the Innovation Fund Northeast Ohio, participation in the FlashStarts accelerator program and additional funding from the Innovation Fund at the B-level, as well as matches from outside funders.
This road led the team to the Barclay’s Accelerator TechStars NYC program in the summer of 2016, where the commercial potential of a B2B product was realized, and Remesh pivoted from a social media app to serving the enterprise market research sector. After some more successful fundraising and beta testing, the company raised a $2.25 million seed round last April.
“We are extremely proud of the work that Andrew and his partners have done with developing Remesh into a dynamic business from the seed of an idea here at Kent State,” says Julie Messing, executive director for entrepreneurship initiatives at LaunchNET Kent State. “The company and its accomplishments show how leveraging both the on-campus resources, as well as the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem, can invigorate and accelerate a startup’s growth and success.”
Mr. Konya continues to give credit to Kent State for supporting and helping to grow his business idea.
“What started out as a side project to make the world a better place, with the help and encouragement of so many excellent mentors, advisors and investors, has blossomed into a company that is changing the way organizations from Fortune 500 companies to governments are understanding people,” Mr. Konya says. “I’m extremely grateful for the support of Kent State organizations, such as LaunchNET, hacKSU and the Liquid Crystal Institute, all throughout this journey.”
Remesh also has a number of team members who are Kent State alumni, including Paul Dilyard (engineer lead), Nicholas Tietz-Sokolsky (senior engineer) and Michael Varga (data engineer).