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ParaWave: Drone company launched by aerospace undergraduates marks first year

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Brutus Buckeye with Adithya Ramaswami, Jack Murray, and Grace Wang holding an oversize $50,000 check
Left to right: Brutus Buckeye, Adithya Ramaswami, Jack Murray and Grace Wang, Ohio State executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge, pose together after ParaWave won $50,000 at the President's Buckeye Accelerator Program

It’s been one year since entrepreneurial aerospace engineering students Adithya Ramaswami and Jack Murray launched ParaWave, a start-up focused on creating drones for use by first responders. They realized their initial success through participation in the first-ever cohort of the President’s Buckeye Accelerator program at The Ohio State University. Since starting in February 2022 they have continued to succeed.

ParaWave's mission is to be the one-stop shop providing first responders with all their drone-related needs to enable viewing of aerial footage and gathering of critical information during emergencies.

“We wanted to take our passion for the drone space and find a way to help the community and do something that was meaningful with that,” Ramaswami said. “It's thrilling, but it also feels like it's just the perfect amalgamation of everything happening at once. We're coming in at just the right time with just the right experience and just the right background for it.”

According to their website, the President’s Buckeye Accelerator supports student founders prepare a startup for launch. The accelerator combines entrepreneurship skill building, deep mentorship, community building and funding within a structured process. ParaWave was one of start-ups selected for the year-long accelerator and $50,000 in funding.

Adithya Ramaswami and Jack Murray at Code Launch
Ramaswami  and Murray at CodeLaunch | submitted

“There have been so many different key milestones that have been hit since then, and with every single one, I feel like I've had to take a step back and remember how real everything has suddenly become,” said Murray.

ParaWave has gone on to work with multiple accelerator programs. Through the CodeLaunch Accelerator during the summer of 2022, they partnered with a local software firm to prototype a mobile app to securely share live drone video feeds with teams of first responders. Additionally, they were able to present at an event hosted by CodeLaunch Ohio at the Ohio Theater in front of an audience of over 500 people.

More recently, they became part of the VentureWell E-Teams program in January of 2023, where they worked to further develop their technology commercialization strategy and received an additional $5,000 in funding. They are currently applying for phase two of the E-teams program, seeking $20,000 more in funding.

“It's just surreal,” Ramaswami said. “It's so exciting to be able to take my passion in the drone space and be able to have the opportunity to do this. We're also just grateful for all the resources that [the university] has provided for us to be able to do this as well.”

Jack Murray and Adithya Ramaswami in front of a fire truck
Murray and Ramaswami hope to deploy their technology at fire departments across Franklin County, Ohio | submitted

As of now, both Ramaswami – who is a student research assistant in the Aerospace Research Center's Aerodynamic Flow Control and Advanced Diagnostics Research Group – and Murray are finishing up their final year of undergraduate education all while running their business. They are able to keep ParaWave and Ohio State close together by hosting capstone opportunities through their start-up.

With some students wondering what their next step after college is going to be, Ramaswami and Murray find themselves in a position for which they are grateful. They both hope ParaWave can continue to grow with them throughout their professional careers and possibly into graduate school.

“Once we solidify the tech and we start providing this drone technology to departments in Franklin County, we plan to expand to the rest of Ohio and then hopefully the rest of the United States as well,” Ramaswami said, “but that'll take a few years.”

Abbreviated version of story written by Jake Rahe, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; contributions from Holly Henley, communications specialist; click to read original story

Categories: ResearchStudents