University of Akron Research Foundation

University of Akron Research Foundation

UARFUARF’s vision is to transform and expand the region’s innovation economy through entrepreneurship education, technology commercialization, application of University of Akron research, and creation of new entrepreneurial ventures. UARF provides services to both innovative UA teams and startups from across Northeast Ohio. Its initiatives include:

  • I-Corps: Through which entrepreneurs can discover the potential of their business idea through direct customer interactions in a 7-week program that provides training, mentorship and accountability
  • Senior Fellows: Former industry executives who mentor and advise entrepreneurs and startups
  • ARCHAngels: Akron’s first investment network, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and the community for quarterly events
  • NEOSVF: A student-run fund that conducts due diligence and invests up to $25,000 per company in Northeast Ohio tech-based startups (startups need not be run by students)
  • Spark Fund: Invests in UA-based technology teams only, providing funding for prototyping and testing to generate the “proof needed” to launch a startup


Goodyear Polymer Center
Suite 312
Akron, Ohio 44325


Daniel J. Hampu – New Ventures Manager

Daniel HampuDaniel J. Hampu is a New Ventures Manager for the University of Akron Research Foundation, where he focuses on technology commercialization and due diligence. He provides assistance to various startup companies through financial and marketing analysis of fundamental business model considerations.  He co-manages UA’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Sites program, where he teaches voice of customer, customer interviewing, and target markets.  He also manages deal flow for the ARCHAngels Investor Network and runs the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund (“NEOSVF”).  He has also had roles with Signet Enterprises, a real estate development and venture firm, and the Small Entrepreneur and Economic Development Legal Clinic at the University of Akron.

Mr. Hampu has a B.A. in Business Administration – Marketing from Mount Union College and a J.D. in Law and M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Akron.

Elyse Ball – Assistant Counsel & Project Manager

Elyse Ball has significant experience in technology licensing and supporting startup companies in the polymer science and biomedical fields. Elyse leads UA’s NSF I-Corps Site and was critical in the establishment of the first statewide I-Corps program, I-Corps@Ohio. She serves as a board member or officer for five Akron-based startups, including one post-revenue company. She is a frequent mentor and advisor to startups through the Northeast Ohio Entrepreneurial Network.

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