Tech startups celebrate big wins and focus on big goals

Tech startups celebrate big wins and focus on big goals

For three of Bounce Innovation Hub’s technology clients, 2023 is proving to be quite a year. Auxilium Health, LEAF and Notus Labs have all raised funds and reached major milestones on their journey to success. Learn more about each of these exciting startups, below.

Auxilium Health

For Bounce Technology Incubator company Auxilium Health co-founders Isaiah Kaiser, Ph.D., and Aparna Agrawal, Ph.D., May 17 was a really good day. Each made separate and successful startup pitches to receive funds awarded to local entrepreneurs.

Auxilium-Health-founders-CEO-Dr.Isaiah Kaiser-and-CTO-Dr. Aparna Agrawal.
Auxilium Health’s founders CEO Dr. Isaiah Kaiser and CTO Dr. Aparna Agrawal.

Kaiser pitched to Stark Tank, a Stark County program modeled after Shark Tank, while Agrawal pitched to the StartUp Akron Pitch Competition at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, in downtown Akron. Together they took home $28,000 to invest in their medical technology startup, where they are developing a unique wound dressing that detects infection. The technology was developed based on Agrawal’s polymer research at The University of Akron.

“Our dressing is meant to provide the best environment for wounds to heal,” said Kaiser. “It actively heals the wound, while preventing and monitoring for infection. If infection is detected, the dressing changes color, so the dressing can be left alone unless necessary. This is important because once you remove the dressing, you expose the wound to bacteria, which can disrupt the healing process.”

Kaiser and Agrawal founded Auxilium Health in 2021, first participating in The University of Akron Research Foundation Innovation Corps program, which helped them determine market validation, i.e., the need for technology like theirs. They also participated in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program for further validation.

Through Bounce Innovation Hub, they’ve made connections with a mentor and resources that have helped them with everything from legal documents to branding and marketing. Bounce also facilitated connections with Cleveland-based Project Medtech.

Auxilium Health’s novel biomaterial for wound healing.

“You have to surround yourself with the right people to fill gaps in your expertise, and Bounce has been invaluable to me and Auxilium Health. Local resources are available here that are critical for your success,” said Kaiser.

He advises his fellow entrepreneurs to move with urgency but strategically.

“If you move fast without clear objectives, you can burn through cash without reaching key milestones. It’s also not about being perfect. Keep pushing forward and seek progress, not perfection,” Kaiser said.

The next step for Auxilium Health is raising pre-seed capital as they continue to do testing and engage more with the FDA to determine what data is needed prior to clearance and commercialization.

“This is the first time this material has been used in an application like this,” he said. “Although the wound care market is saturated, a superior product is lacking. Learning about all the problems in wound care, we feel an obligation to bring this to market because it can really help people. It would be a disservice if we didn’t.”

Logically Engineering Automation Features (LEAF)

As an electrical engineer, Evan Haug, founder of LEAF, developed a platform to automate the mundane task of creating the electrical designs used to string solar panels together.

“Over the last two years, I focused on the development and coding of the app, which gave me little contact with customers,” he said. “Now that I’m out speaking to electrical engineers and conducting product demos, seeing the relief on their faces is rewarding. This will eliminate the tedious, repetitive work of drawing these lines in AutoCAD.”

LEAF is a Bounce Software Accelerator client, where Haug has worked with Austin Kettner, startup advisor and entrepreneur.

“The biggest benefit of the software accelerator is the focus on entrepreneurs from the software perspective. The advice and knowledge from Austin has been invaluable,” he said, noting that he continues to lean on Bounce to facilitate connections.

Last September, Haug used funds from Case Western Reserve University’s Morganthaler-Pavey Startup competition to attend the Solar Power International conference. There he was introduced to the American-Made program, which is funded by the Department of Energy and the administration of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to promote innovations in clean energy. LEAF has been one of a select group of finalists, first winning $50,000, then $100,000. The company is now in the final stage where two winners will receive $500,000.

LEAF CEO Evan Haugh and Co-CTO Jake Prusky table at an event.

Since founding LEAF three years ago, Haug has either juggled his final year of college or a full-time job as an electrical engineer. He’s now at the point where he has been able to leave his full-time job. The next step is to bring on four remote contractors, all peers while he was at Case Western Reserve University, as full-time employees.

While still in beta stage, the LEAF app had a preliminary release to eight users but will soon be released to 160 customers. Haug continues to seek funding as he prepares to bring his app to market.

“I knew I eventually wanted to have my own business, but this opportunity presented itself, so I took a leap,” he said.

He recently added solar advisors to his team and now meets with them for guidance.

“It’s not easy to be both an industry expert and an innovator. The more experts an entrepreneur can surround themselves with, the more energy they can devote to innovation,” Haug said.

Notus Labs

Evan Davies, founder of Notus Labs, a Bounce Technology Incubator company, is also preparing to take his product to market. He and co-founder Tim Walker have developed the Notus One, a wearable sensor that tracks athletes’ activities and how the body responds, which is streamed in real-time to athletic trainers and coaches.

A top down view of the device with a quarter for scale.

“This flags players who should be removed from the game,” said Davies. “Another big differentiator is that the Notus One monitors core temperature, which helps predict heat illness. The current way to prevent heat illness is to watch for symptoms, but by then, it’s too late.”

Since founding Notus Labs in 2019, Davies and Walker have received guidance in customer discovery through Bounce while making connections that have helped them on their entrepreneurial journey.

“Starting on the engineering side, we didn’t really have business connections, so Bounce has helped with that,” Davies said. “Bounce has also helped us access resources at Project Medtech.”

The idea for their sensor came when they were doing academic research in a lab at Case Western Reserve University on athletes and establishing a healthy baseline.

“It was a cumbersome process because we needed multiple wearables to get all the necessary data and then create algorithms. We decided we could make a better sensor,” Davies said.

Initial grant funding helped them buy equipment, make a prototype, create algorithms and develop the first iteration of software. The sensor is the size of a quarter and worn on the chest with a replaceable adhesive that ensures it stays in place.

“We just closed a pre-seed round of funding, overhauled the dashboard and are now determining with the manufacturer how to scale. The transition has been fun,” Davies said.

From left to right: Dr. Jacob Calcei, Notus Labs advisor; Evan Davies, CEO and co-founder; Michael Clark, Notus Labs head of device development; and Dr. James Voos, Notus Labs advisor.

“We’ve been working closely with the Cleveland Browns medical team and some UFC fighters as part of the pilot, which has been exciting and helpful,” he added.

Notus Labs pre-sells the sensor to local high schools and colleges and targets professional sports teams. In addition to Davies and Walker, the team includes five employees, five advisors and three software contractors.

“We have a fantastic team. Finding the right people is critical,” said Davies, noting that although he wanted to be an entrepreneur, he didn’t know what he wanted to do until Walker tossed around the idea for a wearable.

“Now, there is nothing else I would rather do,” he said. “It takes a ton of work, but you have to keep pushing through for the reward.. You also have to be open to change. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference, even as your core stays the same.”

To learn more about Bounce’s Software Accelerator, please visit

To learn more about Bounce Technology Incubator, please visit

About the author:
Jill Wodtley, APR, is a freelance writer and Fine Point Public Relations and Advertising owner. An accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, she develops and implements marketing communications, public relations and advertising initiatives for a variety of clients, ranging from health care and social service agencies to industrial/manufacturing firms.