Hedgemon wins $15,000 in inaugural CWRU startup competition


Hedgemon, the company co-founded by Drs. Emily Kennedy and Bill Hsiung, UA’s first two graduates with Ph.D.-level biomimicry training, continues to gain funding for its hedgehog-inspired helmet lining designed to prevent concussions and other brain injuries to football players. 

Hedgemon came in second place in the inaugural Morgenthaler-Pavey Startup Competition that took place at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) on March 19, winning $15,000.

2016 U.S. Paralympic National Soccer Team

Nathan Swift, left, with Hedgemon co-founders Dr. Bill Hsiung and Dr. Emily Kennedy.

The money will be used toward creating a full helmet — designs of the quill-like liner have been fine-tuned over the last two to three years — from which they need data “in order to tell us how it compares to what’s on the market now, and to give us standardized numbers we can pass along to possible partners and other funders,” explained Nathan Swift, Hedgemon’s COO and a CWRU grad, on 90.3 WCPN. 

The new competition is designed to find and support high-potential startup companies coming out of CWRU, while simultaneously training students to evaluate and ultimately invest in these types of ventures. Founding teams with at least one current or recent CWRU alumni (graduates within the last five years) can apply for the chance to be one of six finalists who will compete for up to $25,000 in funding and valuable entrepreneurial assistance from JumpStart Inc. to help grow their venture.

The competition honors the memory of David Morgenthaler, a titan of the American venture capital industry who was president, chairman, or director of more than 30 companies and was among the earliest venture capitalists to back legendary tech startups such as Apple and Nextel.


Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or lmc91@uakron.edu.