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INKUBATOR Selects the 2019 Startup Class

INKUBATOR students

June 13, 2019— Northern Kentucky University announces The INKUBATOR Class of 2019. Eight new startups will spend the summer in an elite, university business accelerator program. In this year’s class, 63 percent of start-ups are led by female founders, with 75 percent of them led by female or minority founders. 

The INKUBATOR, housed in the Haile/US Bank College of Business, is an internationally ranked 12-week business accelerator open to all current NKU students and alumni. Created in 2012, The INKUBATOR takes on a class of startups each summer. Once applicants are accepted, The INKUBATOR staff and mentors provide guidance, team building, access to capital, connections, resources and a flexible office space to support the startups in the program.

New this year, The INKUBATOR’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program brings in three experienced entrepreneurs to mentor the teams. Emily Geiger, Mavis Linnemann-Clark and Gary Darna are serving as the inaugural EIRs.

"The Entrepreneur in Residence program pairs the expertise of established entrepreneurs with the award-winning programming of The INKUBATOR. This combination gives our business creation teams a powerful, proven resource to guide them through the startup process," said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, interim dean of the Haile/US Bank College of Business.

This year’s class has a record number of startups and includes diverse businesses such as a shoe restoration/customization service and a wearable device that alerts the hearing impaired of home emergencies.

“Creating opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs is critical to the economic growth of our region.  NKU’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is a model for what can be accomplished when we intentionally engage in strategies for inclusion,” said Dr. Kathleen Roberts, senior advisor to the president for Inclusive Excellence.

The INKUBATOR 2019 teams are listed below: 

  • PBJ | A service that shows parents how to bring out the kid in them and to enjoy playing with their children in practical ways.
  • Safe Wave | A company that created a wearable device targeted at individuals suffering from hearing impairment.
  • Smoove Customs | A restoration and customization-based service for shoes of all caliber.
  • Thread Finds | An app that helps women who struggle to find clothes and knowing what to buy and where to buy it.
  • Twinning | A clothing subscription box that provides matching or coordinating outfits for twins.
  • Voyager EDU | Seeking to increase access to and the quality of education for all Kentuckians by providing intentional and inclusive programming, resources to improve success and retention and community-funded scholarships.
  • Wandering Caffeine | A subscription box would contain three to four samples of a week’s worth of coffee, each from a different roaster from the city that is being featured.
  • Yellowshot | A company dedicated to providing a high-quality collagen supplement in the form of an organic fruit and vegetable juice.

To date, The INKUBATOR graduates have raised more than $6.9 million dollars in outside funding and launched 23 businesses. For the list of this year’s teams, visit its website

About the Haile/US Bank College of Business: With more than 2,000 students, the Haile/US Bank College of Business’ goal is to educate and connect with the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati business community by delivering globally relevant, innovative and sustainable programs and practices. The college offers 12 undergraduate degrees and three masters level programs. 

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit