Student startup among best at SXSW Interactive competition

Penn State health policy and administration major and Schreyer Scholar Matthew Roda pitched his concussion-screening device to judges at a national student startup competition in Austin, Texas. His company, Reflexion Interactive Technologies, received third place. Credit: Student Startup MadnessAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A company co-founded by a Penn State student to develop a more affordable concussion-monitoring device took third place at the Student Startup Madness (SSM) 2016-17 National Championship Finals on March 13 in Austin, Texas.

Schreyer Honors Scholar and sophomore health policy and administration major Matthew Roda is the CMO of Reflexion Interactive Technologies, which is developing a portable device called the Edge that screens for concussions by measuring reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and other responses and converting those responses into data.

“We worked for months ahead of time preparing and refining our pitch, so to see that pay off was extremely rewarding,” Roda said. “It was also nice to find out we are among the top startup companies in the nation for students.”

Eight teams of students from universities around the country participated in the competition as part of the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin. They pitched their ventures to a four-person panel of judges.

As part of the award, Reflexion received subscriptions to Mattermark, Yesware and FounderSuite, as well as cloud hosting services from Rackspace, a total value of approximately $2,000-$3,000, plus an additional $2,000 award from a donor.

Reflexion is currently involved in a clinical study with researchers from Penn State headed by Dr. Semyon Slobounov, professor of kinesiology and neurosurgery and the director of the University’s Center for Sport Concussion Research and Service.

“Our next step is to launch a research beta, which will in turn generate revenue to launch a large-scale high school beta,” Roda said. “With the Edge in our target market, we can gather very valuable data on how it's implemented, user issues, and more.”

Penn State has many resources available to student entrepreneurs, including the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP). Tanna Pugh, director for PennTAP, said Roda began working with her team when he entered the Penn State Inc. U student entrepreneur competition.

“Matt worked with Tim Kerchinski, our Innovation team lead, to make connections with researchers who specialize in concussions and could help him to validate his technology platform. He also worked with Tim to prepare his pitch in preparation for the Inc. U competition,” Pugh said. “We are thrilled about Reflexion Interactive Technology’s success and look forward to continue working with Matt and other student entrepreneurs across the university.”

Last Updated September 04, 2020