IllinoisVENTURES is pleased to welcome Mesh++, Inc. as its newest portfolio company as the winner of the Dr. Paul Magelli Innovation Prize for 2017.
Mesh++ (www.meshplusplus.com), led by Daniel Gardner, a 2016 graduate in Electrical Engineering, was a finalist in UIUC’s Cozad New Venture Competition this spring. The company has developed a solar-powered outdoor mesh network to provide high-speed internet connectivity for parks and public spaces, outdoor events, construction sites and in rural or remote areas that lack infrastructure. The Mesh++ network is based on solar-powered nodes that can cover an area of 600 to 800 feet in every direction, communicating via Wi-Fi with each other and with personal devices. The network is easily scalable, as individual nodes automatically form a mesh network with each other, so that users automatically have access to data stored on any node in the network. By surveying users, these networks offer valuable data to venue operators. Mesh++ has secured a partnership with the City of Chicago to provide internet access in several parks this summer, including the historic, 173-acre Douglas Park on the city’s west side.
For the past two years, IllinoisVENTURES has offered a $10,000 investment as a prize to one of the finalists in UIUC’s Cozad competition. In addition to doing well in the competition, award winners must be able to demonstrate that they have the potential to become strong candidates for venture capital investment. Last year’s winner was Amber Agriculture, which is developing moisture, temperature and VOC sensors for use in grain bins, so that growers can better manage their crops in storage. Amber Agriculture was named the top startup at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show by Engadget Magazine.
The IllinoisVENTURES prize was re-named this year to honor the late Dr. Paul Magelli, the long-time professor at UIUC and champion for students and alumni who have pursued entrepreneurship as a career. We were pleased to have Karolyn Magelli, Dr. Magelli’s widow, on hand for the award presentation.
IllinoisVENTURES (www.illinoisventures.com) is a premier university-related venture capital fund, helping to launch technology-based startups affiliated with both UIUC and UIC. IllinoisVENTURES has invested in over 80 startup companies since 2002 and these companies have gone on to raise more than a billion dollars in co-investments, follow-on investments, public stock offerings and federal grant funding.