Sam Peterson and Jeff Haugland bounced around the offices of Zivaro Holdings, making small chat and waiting.
The pair of U.S. Army veterans had been waiting for something like this since they first devised their business idea for The Invictus Project. As they signed an initial 90-day contract during the opening night of the Magis Factory business accelerator, the dream that started as a Regis University undergraduate capstone project took one step closer to becoming a full-fledged, functioning business.
“It’s just a tremendous opportunity to have, in a space like this,” said Peterson, who graduated this year from Regis’ Anderson College of Business (ACB) with his Master of Business Administration. “When we were developing this, we wanted it to be impact driven and make a difference. That’s what we want and that’s who we are.”
In celebrating the opening night of the Magis Factory, a groundbreaking partnership that continues to push ACB as a hub for entrepreneurs and innovators, the accelerator welcomed four additional Regis businesses into the fold.
In addition to ACB, Zivaro Holdings, a management consulting firm, and Glamping Hub, an online booking platform for unique outdoor accommodations, came together to develop the business accelerator.
It will house Regis student and alumni businesses that are past the incubation stage. Businesses will have access to work space, technology and industry expertise for up to 30 months.
Businesses like The Invictus Project, a mental-health treatment protocol that targets the root causes of traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorders and depression. Peterson and Haugland both suffered from PTSD when they returned from war. They were prescribed a plethora of medications and told to soldier on. Eventually, each realized they needed to get to the root cause of the problems. Out of this The Invictus Project was born.
It uses imaging to create a 3D image of a brain’s blood flow. This helps doctors detect abnormalities in the brain and prescribe a treatment plan that doesn’t necessarily include prescription medication.
“I don’t know of anything like this. It’s going to be a great differentiator for the University,” said Ruben Martinez, who attended Regis for his undergraduate degree and an MBA. “I think with this, if students know they want to start a business, they go to Regis. They know if they want to be an entrepreneur, they go to Regis.”
Martinez, who started Glamping Hub, co-taught the Innovation and Entrepreneurship class with ACB Innovation Center Director Ken Sagendorf. He approached Sagendorf earlier this year with his entrepreneurial training idea. Having a company like Zivaro onboard made the accelerator all the more intriguing.
The accelerator includes the following Regis businesses:
- MyHomeFix, an augmented reality application for home repair
- Sneaky Fox Spirits, a craft vodka and bottling business
- ECHO Stethoscope, a retractable stethoscope
- CampCrate, a backpacking company that provides gear for adventures
Each business signs a 90-day contract and, if they live up to the contract, can remain for up to 30 months. It’s the next phase for ACB and Sagendorf. After launching Regis’ Innovation Challenge, which pits startup companies against each other for seed money, this is the next step.
Especially for businesses like The Invictus Project. On opening night, Peterson and Haugland walked away with a $16,000 business investment from an angel investor.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work, Sagendorf said.
“We want the person who wants to start a business to change the world and make money. It’s not one or the other, it’s a both/and for us,” Sagendorf said. “For the person who wants to do that, we have such a clear pathway to that now. This helps increase your odds of being successful.”