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High Potential Startup Grant Awardees

June 7, 2018

Elevate Ventures and Startup South Bend-Elkhart has awarded five companies in North Central Indiana High Potential Startup Grants (HPSG) totaling $105,000. This pre-seed program awards up to $25,000 to high-potential startups in regions where communities have invested in entrepreneurism. Read the full release here. To learn more about the companies that received these grants, please see below.


General Ledger

What does General Ledger do? 

General Ledger is a simple, online cash basis accounting system designed for small to midsize real estate investors and non-employee businesses.


Where did the idea for General Ledger come from? 

The founder, Joel Florek, is a real estate investor by trade. Through his frustrating experience trying to find an accounting solution that fit his needs, the solution became to build one. After reaching out for insight and feedback amongst other investors, the premise for General Ledger was created, a plan drafted, and currently the team is midway through the development of the product.


Sounds like Florek moved into action quickly. Where is General Ledger now, and when can we expect hear more?

Currently we are halfway through the development process with an anticipated launch date of August 2018 for the private beta. There is a team of nine experienced designers and developers who are building out the minimal viable product. General Ledger has 70 investors signed up to test the private beta and a number of influential industry spokespersons who are excited to share the product with their markets this fall.


Why is General Ledger’s work important? How will real estate investors benefit from this? 

Millions of real estate investors are using Excel as their primary accounting tool. It lacks automation, is inefficient, and because of this, most investors don’t regularly track their cashflow until taxes are due. This leads to poor insight into their businesses. Our goal is to help make the process of cash basis accounting simple and easy for the millions of small to midsized investors.


How does General Ledger work? 

Users can connect all their credit and checking accounts to General Ledger for automated transaction uploading of income and expense records. Our flexible structure allows for users to easily categorize transactions by property, business, or personal use. With General Ledger, business owners track their cashflow in real time and with easy CSV exports. All the data needed for tax time is setup in an easy to review format.


Elevate Ventures provides HPSGs to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific measurable milestone. What will General Ledger be able to accomplish with the HPSG funding? 

The HPSG has provided a portion of the costs associated with development of the MVP. This grant was the final step needed to raise the funds necessary for our team to complete the work and get to product launch this summer.


How can someone reach General Ledger for more information? 

Contact General Ledger Founder Joel Florek at or 906.458.8356.




Greenbag BioLine

What does Greenbag BioLine do?

Greenbag BioLine manufactures fully biodegradable and compostable body bags, replacing standard plastic pouches in the death care market.


Where did the idea for Greenbag BioLine come from?

Our first business was in funeral service. What started as an ancillary service and maybe a curiosity, “green burial” was the basis for the invention, resulting in BIOLINE, LLC. There are certain unavoidable practical consequences of death, namely containment. In green burial those issues are exacerbated by time and the absence of embalming or other preservation. We worked for nine years to get the right material and design.


How does Greenbag BioLine hope to make a difference?

For the green funeral market, leakage and odor are problematic, especially using cloth or other natural absorbing materials. In the death care industry at large, disposal of regular plastic is achieved only through burial or incineration, both with environmental hazards. Greenbag BioLine makes biodegradable (water soluble) and compostable (bioactive) plastic body bags or human remains pouches that solve both issues: leakage and odor containment is controlled by the body bag design and sealing component, and the film leaves no residue or harm to the environment in ground burial or under incineration.


What makes Greenbag BioLine stand out?

BioLine is not a “me too” manufacturer of body bags. Our bag is important to the death care industry because of its capacity to biodegrade and compost. Since death care is a delicate market to serve, our products have to be 100% reliable. It may sound trite, but we learned in our funeral business that we don’t get a second chance when it comes to dealing with a deceased body. Too, we have discovered a way to bring environmental consciousness to the forefront of death care. So we would say the tenets of our business are respect for deceased persons and earth care.


Where is Greenbag BioLine now in gaining interest for this product?

Since we are at the manufacturing stage, we have recently been awarded our first two government contracts for $105K, and two local hospital system contracts worth about $30K.


Elevate Ventures provides HPSGs to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific measurable milestone. What will Greenbag Bioline be able to accomplish with the HPSG funding? 

Presenting was an honor, because it was a chance to talk about death care and the environment. Winning the grant was a real boost to our confidence. The funding will be used to purchase materials, recalibrate some existing machinery and marketing activities.


How can someone reach Greenbag BioLine for more information?  

Media can reach out to R Harreld at or 864-275-0000.




Mindful Projects

What does Mindful Projects do? 

Mindful Projects is a startup company in the healthcare sector that develops innovative products and services related to smart devices (phones and watches).


What innovative products and services has Mindful Projects developed? 

Our first product is called “Breathe,” which is a precise weight control program. The primary aim of the product is to demystify the process of weight loss so that customers can live a healthy life. Specifically, we develop custom dietary solutions. Rather than counting calories, which has been shown time and again not to work in the long-run, we use the laws of physics and chemistry to learn how our users body actually responds to diet and exercise.


Why is the work of Mindful Projects important?

Mindful Projects actually does scientific research to develop its products. Our work addresses the obesity epidemic that is threatening the financial stability of the American health care system.


Where did the idea for Mindful Projects come from? 

Our company was co-founded in 2017 by Amy Slozat-Crepp (CEO) and Justin R. Crepp. Having studied diet and nutrition from a physics perspective, and knowing that existing solutions to the obesity epidemic simply were not working, we decided to take action. For example, one key aspect of the “Breathe” product is its ability to track all forms of exercise by monitoring how much CO2 a person exhales over time. Prior to founding the company, we too were surprised to learn that CO2 exhalation is the dominant mechanism of mass loss — this served as our initial motivation to look more deeply into the problem of obesity.


Where is Mindful Projects now on the development of innovative products and services?

We currently have 10 people working on Breathe, which is now under-going what we call “Phase B testing.” The software is hosted on the cloud and will soon be ready to serve a large number of users. So far 100% of testing group members are losing weight! All one needs is a smart watch and phone to get started.


Elevate Ventures provides HPSGs to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific measurable milestone. What will Mindful Projects be able to accomplish with the HPSG funding? 

We will develop and refine our website and phone app so that both are as user friendly as possible.


How can someone reach Mindful Projects for more information?  

Contact Justin Crepp at or 814-883-1998





What does Impowerus do?

Impowerus connects juvenile immigrants with pro bono legal services.


How does Impowerus work?

Impowerus is an online platform connecting young immigrants with pro bono legal aid. Our primary goal is to help young immigrants successfully navigate the complicated immigration and naturalization process while assisting lawyers to maximize efficiency. Impowerus provides a solution by streamlining pro bono efforts. Without ever leaving their office, attorneys can connect with juveniles through our video chat platform, allowing them to help clients more effectively and with greater ease. Participating firms will pay a subscription fee, but save money on overall expenditures.


Where did the idea for Impowerus come from? 

Impowerus started as an idea by our founder who used to work with immigrant children. Our founder wanted to find a way to connect immigrant youth with badly needed pro bono legal services. There are no government appointed attorneys in the immigration court system, and these proceedings are much too difficult for a minor to understand. Immigration cases are similar in complexity as handling death penalty cases in a quick and messy traffic court setting. Here is where our founder saw an opportunity. If the system cannot change, then the way of providing pro bono representation could be changed.

Impowerus originated at the University of Notre Dame Law School when our founder partnered with fellow undergraduate, business, and law students to bring this idea to fruition. Our team won the Idea Challenge Crowd Favorite Award, second place in the Schurz Competition, and the FISH Social Venture R&D Award from the McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Our second year, the Impowerus team was chosen as one of the top eight student tech startups in the nation by Inc. Magazine. The team was invited to present at South by Southwest, and has won awards for being a female founded company, as well as a company focused on community and social causes.

Impowerus wants to change our current system and provide immigrant youth a fighting chance.


Why is the work of Impowerus important?

Impowerus lowers the cost of pro bono work and minimizes the amount of time needed to acquire pro bono clients. While firms typically spend around $8,500 per attorney per year on pro bono work, Impowerus offers firms a cheaper, more efficient alternative. Additionally, Impowerus also benefits young immigrants who are in the system. Receiving representation in immigration court increases an immigrant’s chances of avoiding deportation or receiving a successful outcome in their case.


As a startup, getting off the ground can tough. How has Impowerus moved forward and where does the company need help?

Impowerus is still in the early stage development, but our model and idea has generated interest. In the Notre Dame McCloskey business competition, Impowerus was the company that won the most money in startup grants. Impowerus is currently looking for community support and attorney participants for our beta-testing stage.


Elevate Ventures provides HPSGs to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific measurable milestone. What will Impowerus be able to accomplish with the HPSG funding? 

Receiving the HPSG means the ability of taking a step closer to completion. It means the ability to generate more partnerships. With these funds, we plan on moving quicker onto the market and move our launch date forward.


How can someone reach Impowerus for more information?  

Katelyn Ringrose, , 530-598-0865





What does SIMBA Chain do? 

SIMBA Chain Inc. is a cloud based Blockchain as a Service platform, enabling users across a variety of skill sets to implement decentralized applications that connect users and providers directly without third parties in both government and enterprise networks using Blockchain technology.


What makes SIMBA Chain stand out?

SIMBA Chain enables the government or enterprise user control over their data and they can bring their business logic the platform will auto-generate a custom API for them, we call it, BYOL, “Bring Your Own Logic”. We secure transaction payloads, so all information is encrypted across every part of the communication pipeline. And we provide the performance scalability to allow applications to become decentralized and distributed.


How does SIMBA Chain remain focused? 

SIMBA Chain’s Four Pillars of Technology:

  • Custom Business APIs: SIMBA models customer business applications and generates Blockchain applications and business networks the way they want: user groups, users, events, assets and interactions (transactions) are converted into a customer API for Blockchain access, along with a HTML5 Web app for further customization.
  • Simba API: Behind the scenes, the custom business APIs are wired to a common SIMBA API, configured using the specified Blockchain and data store. Currently we support Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric Blockchains, and the IPFS datastore, with more Distributed Database datastores to come.
  • Data Bundles: Assets can represent many things e.g. a physical entity, a document, or a dataset containing a number of text, binary and media elements. SIMBA Data Bundles wrap data for an asset into an Asset Manifest, which specifies data relationships using links to hashes that represent off-chain data on IPFS, or other distributed data stores e.g. Storj, etc.
  • SIMBA Pub/Sub: SIMBA captures events from different Blockchains using a common API. Users or groups can subscribe to events using the SIMBA platform or setup Web hooks for notification of certain events in their own systems.


Where did the idea for SIMBA Chain come from? 

SIMBA Chain Inc. was formed in 2017 from a grant awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) and the Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame in order to develop a secure, unhackable messaging and transaction platform for the U.S. military. SIMBA API is a robust and efficient decentralized distributed technology originally implemented for Defense Department communications. Its uses included communication between ground troops and their headquarters or between intelligence officers and the Pentagon.


Developing a secure, unhackable messaging and transaction platform must make SIMBA Chain very appealing to certain audiences. Where has SIMBA Chain been able to form stronger bonds? 

HealthSpace Data Systems signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate with SIMBA Chain to expand HealthSpace’s ability to develop blockchain technology into its existing platform. SIMBA Chain will use its expertise and experience in blockchain to help develop and guide the initial prototype HealthSpace will produce. SIMBA Chain also assisted in the development of a white-paper for how HealthSpace to leverage blockchain into both the public and private sectors for auditing purposes. HealthSpace intends to use the initial version developed with SIMBA Chain (“SIMBA”) to provide a proof of concept in order to demonstrate how audits and other regulatory checklists can be stored efficiently and cohesively in the blockchain. By doing so, HealthSpace can further integrate its existing iPad and Android apps to go beyond just government inspections and into private audits. Combining audit control software with the power of the blockchain will create a comprehensive toolset for furthering transparency between multiple parties who need concurrent access to the same chain of data, but have different rules for how or when that data is entered.

SIMBA Chain has also signed an agreement with Microsoft to use their Government Azure cloud platform, together Microsoft and SIMBA Chain will co-market their technology solutions to government and enterprise customers.

Most recently, SIMBA Chain was awarded a contract by Dow Chemical to integrate its SIMBA API with the company’s SAP ERP system for the use of Blockchain in tracking and logistics.


Elevate Ventures provides HPSGs to help entrepreneurs overcome hurdles to attain a specific measurable milestone. What will Mindful Projects be able to accomplish with the HPSG funding?  

SIMBA Chain plans to further market engagements to understand customer needs and perfect our go-to-market strategy. We also want to develop new features to our platform and highlight customer use cases.


How can someone reach SIMBA Chain for more information?  

Visit and contact Joel Neidig, CEO at or 574-935-6918