Innovation Happens

Corey Riley always brought his laptop to class to take notes.

“But I kept forgetting the mouse,” he says. “And I don’t like touchpads. They just don’t function as well as a computer mouse.”

One day in class he had an idea: What if he could design an app that would turn his cell phone into a sliding computer mouse that connected to his computer? That would solve his problem.

Riley did some research. He found apps that could turn a phone into a touch pad, but no one had developed the technology to turn a cell phone into a mouse that could move easily on a flat surface.

“I had no idea how to go about developing an app or starting a business,” he says. “But then I saw a poster for a start-up workshop. And I thought, why not?”

The 3 Day Startup (3DS) program was sponsored by the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship. “Everyone pitched their ideas and teams were formed to work on developing the top five ideas,” he says. “And mine was one of them.”

A 3DS facilitator led Riley and his fellow participants through brainstorming, business model generation, execution and pitching. The would-be entrepreneurs also got input from alumni, patent lawyers and start-up owners who attended the weekend workshop.

Afterwards, Riley met with Matt Draper, executive director of The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson. Through the Center he received some initial funding and also found a mentor, Lee Grainger, owner and CEO
of Radium Technologies.

Today, Riley is the CEO of Käse and is hard at work developing the technology for his app. The mechanical engineering major has also brought two students on board: Emily Campbell (computer engineering) and David Levey, (Engineering & Management). “They have strengths in coding and marketing that complement my engineering skills,” he says.

The team is currently building a prototype.

“I have friends at other schools who tell me they want to start a business, too,” he says. “I tell them ‘go to your Shipley Center or Reh Center.’ But they don’t have these resources.”

“At Clarkson, students turn good ideas into real businesses. You just can’t find that anywhere else.”