Recipients of Spring RAINMaker Awards Announced

Three University of Oregon student-led startup companies have been named recipients of the Paul Anthony Troiano RAINMaker Seed Grant. Each will receive $5,000 in seed funding to help launch their companies.

The three companies — Cricket Flours, Mingo and PDX Space Finder — will also receive coaching, mentoring and access to other strategic resources.

“The grant is an exciting opportunity for us, because it validates our idea,” said Anthony Troja, co-founder of Mingo, a social network music app that allows users to collaborate on creating and managing music playlists.

The other awardees include James Miller of PDX Space Finder and Charles B. Wilson and Omar Ellis of Cricket Flours. 

  • PDX Space Finder matches “microspaces” and their owners to users and their needs, making underutilized commercial and other spaces visible, available and valuable.
  • Cricket Flours creates and distributes highly nutritional flours made from crickets, an efficient, sustainable source of high protein, high mineral content food.

The RAINMaker Award is funded by music entrepreneur and artist Paul Anthony Troiano, who launched the music startup company Rumblefish out of his University of Oregon dorm room in 1996. The company is now the world leader in music micro-licensing, with more than 75 million songs licensed. Rumblefish serves major clients such as YouTube, Google, Vimeo and Shutterstock.

But Troiano had help along the way, including a well-timed investment of $5,000 from one of his first major backers. Funding the RAINMaker Award is his way of recognizing the support he received as a fledgling innovator and paying it forward to the next generation of student entrepreneurs.

“The RAINMaker Fund rewards and encourages student-entrepreneurs who demonstrate true entrepreneurial talent by proactively starting a business,” Troiano said. “I encourage other alumni to make additional contributions to the fund in order to magnify the impact.”

Troiano stresses that the grants are not necessarily targeted toward students with high grade point averages. Instead, it rewards entrepreneurial aptitude and music students are especially encouraged to apply — Troiano attended the UO School of Music and Dance.

The next round of applications for the RAINMaker Seed Grants will be announced in the fall. For more information, visit research.uoregon.edu/rainmaker.