A St. Louis company founded by Missouri University of Science and Technology graduates while they were still students is expanding to Rolla.
Lumate, a St. Louis-based startup focused on the mobile ad industry, will open a second office at Missouri S&T’s Innovation Park later this month and plans to hire 10 Missouri S&T students part-time, says Quentin Ortega, vice president of the company.
Lumate was founded at S&T in 2008 as Interdisciplinary Design Collaborative LLC by Missouri S&T students Michael Orlando and R.J. Miller. In 2010, the students won the University of Missouri System’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the company.
Ortega says Lumate will hire 10 Missouri S&T students in part-time jobs to help develop Lumate’s two mobile ad products. He says he hopes the satellite office serves as a “farm system” of sorts that will ultimately form a pipeline for talent between St. Louis and Rolla.
“(The office) will be a very good opportunity for us and for the students looking to start a relationship with companies,” Ortega says.
Ortega anticipates scaling up in the coming year to meet customer demand. The company has 12 employees in its office in downtown St. Louis at the T-REX technology incubator.
The company was part of the first class of Arch Grants winners and was accepted into the Capital Innovators accelerator program in September 2012. Each of those programs awarded the company $50,000.
“Lumate is a fantastic success story and a testament to the type of innovation Missouri S&T tries hard to instill in our students,” says Keith Strassner, director of technology transfer and economic development at Missouri S&T. “We’ve been very pleased to be working with these young entrepreneurs, and it has been wonderful to follow their success. They’ll be a great addition to our Technology Innovation Center.”
Strassner notes that Lumate will be the 11th business to locate in Innovation Park’s Technology Development Center. The company will join existing enterprises Garmin International, IST Rolla, ETS, The Ravens Group, Phenix Solutions, Frontier, I2S, Missouri Edge, the Rolla Regional Economic Commission and Missouri Enterprise. In addition, the TDC houses four student-led startups in its student incubator: Dual Case, Off Kilter Studios, Tenneca AM and Bayridge Software.
In recent years, Lumate had focused on creating games for iOS and Android devices. But through its popular Memory Match game, which had some 1.5 million downloads, the startup found that mobile advertising was not as effective as it could be. IDC posted $100,000 in revenue last year on mobile ads.
Lumate’s founders are Missouri S&T graduates. Orlando holds bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary engineering and electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management, and Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary engineering. Ortega, the vice president of Lumate, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Missouri S&T and is pursuing his MBA through S&T’s online program.