Harrisburg University and White Rose Ventures Join Forces to Support Athlon, a Central PA EdTech Startup

Jan 31, 2024 | Announcements

In the heart of Central Pennsylvania, a transformative partnership has emerged between Harrisburg University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) and White Rose Ventures, an investment firm based in York, Pennsylvania. Together, the organizations are ensuring that early stage venture capital financing is available to entrepreneurs  in Central PA, to uplift and provide key support for emerging enterprises throughout the region.

Unlocking Potential in Central PA

The collaboration’s initial focal point is their latest pre-seed co-investment in Athlon (https://letsrallee.com), a promising new move-to-learn EdTech company and the creators of the Rallee mobile app, on a mission to help next generation learners become more active

The Athlon team is led by co-founder and CEO Christina Milano-Damaskos and co-founder and CTO Matt Damaskos, who together bring 20+ years of executive and business development experience from across the HealthTech and Sports industries.  After pitching Rallee to the Harrisburg School District, the Athlon co-founders decided to relocate to the area in order to completely immerse themselves in supporting the pilot school customers on the ground.

Through the Rallee gamification experience in augmented reality, students engage in short 5 minute break activities to support their physical activity or mental health. The co-founders and their team of advisors in exercise science and neuroscience are incorporating the latest techniques in childhood physical activity and mental health practices into the app. These activities delivered through the Rallee app ultimately help lead to more productive classrooms and less disruptions for teachers. 

Changing the Investment Landscape

This joint effort in supporting Athlon is just the beginning, as both entities express their commitment to backing the ideas of innovative founders throughout Central Pennsylvania. Historically, the region may not have been home to many co-investment financings in early stage technology startups, but Harrisburg University and White Rose Ventures are set to change that precedent.

While venture capital may not yet be prevalent across Central PA, it is an increasingly emerging force helping power the visions of innovative founders. Managing Partner of White Rose Ventures Martin Fedorko sees an opportunity for positive change. “Innovation doesn’t occur just in Silicon Valley. Innovation is ubiquitous,” he remarks.

The collaboration between CIE and White Rose Ventures is part of helping to create a functioning, symbiotic business ecosystem, home to both the capital and critical support needed for entrepreneurs in the region to thrive. The objective is clear: elevate entrepreneurs regionally and across the Commonwealth to build meaningful businesses whose impact reaches far beyond Pennsylvania.

A Vision for Regional Business Growth

Fedorko further emphasizes the upside potential when a region has a functioning ecosystem, stating, “When you have a functioning ecosystem that includes capital and support for entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit for any region and any investor in the country.” This sentiment reflects a broader vision for encouraging, attracting, and retaining talent within Central PA.

Bridging Gaps for a Stronger Community

Jay Jayamohan, Executive Director of the CIE at Harrisburg University, shares the motivation behind this initiative. “We want to encourage, attract and keep talent in this area,” he says. “Innovation and entrepreneurialism are a common thread in supporting any community, and we are motivated to bolster this for the Central PA region.”

As Harrisburg University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and White Rose Ventures join forces, they are poised to reshape the investment landscape in Central Pennsylvania. Their mutual commitment to supporting local startups and fostering innovation not only challenges preconceptions, but also sets the stage for a brighter and more prosperous future for the region. Together, they send a clear message: innovation knows no boundaries, and Central PA is ready to thrive. For more information, read the press release found here.

Harrisburg University and White Rose Ventures Join Forces to Support Athlon, a Central PA EdTech Startup

Jan 31, 2024 | Announcements