Get to know the Auburn students behind these 3 game-changing startups


New Venture Accelerator
Amazing startups begin here. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Plenty of college students leave after four (or five) years with their degree and a lifetime of memories. Some leave with even more. Get to know three students in the New Venture Accelerator program at Auburn University who have started businesses that are already changing their industries.

Auburn’s New Venture Accelerator gives entrepreneurs what they need to succeed

At Auburn University, students get tons of experience that they can bring with them wherever they go next. But for many students, there’s no need to wait for “next”. Thanks to the Entrepreneurship program at Auburn, students have the resources and the support to launch their businesses.

Entrepreneurs who are part of the New Venture Accelerator have access to:

  • Top-notch workspaces and facilities
  • Coaching for pitch competitions like Tiger Cage
  • The chance to win funding

Multiple startups are a part of the New Venture Accelerator program, which is jointly managed by the Harbert College of Business and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, so we spoke to three students who are changing the industry with their businesses.

Get to know the students behind the startups

Zac Young, Vulcan Line Tools

Vulcan Line Tools is a company that produces cutting-edge tools for use in the electric utility industry. According to Young, the startup will have a huge impact on the utility industry by allowing utilities to be more efficient and safer.

“When I first came into the program, I was a kid with a 3D printed prototype gizmo and an idea. I had no idea about businesses or startups, and I have changed so much in this past year.

New Venture Accelerator has turned Vulcan Line Tools from a kid that was in his basement sautering stuff by hand to a company with employees that sells tools to utility companies across the nation.”

Zac Young, Founder, Vulcan Line Tools

MaKayla Smith, KultureXchange

The inspiration behind MaKayla Smith’s startup comes from her own experiences of walking into a retailer and not seeing many products that work for her skin or hair. Her business, KultureXchange, curates beauty and skincare products for women of color.

“I’m hoping to create an alternative avenue to help minority-owned businesses reach new customers and also take the burden off of customers for finding products that work for them.”

MaKayla Smith, Founder, KultureXchange

For MaKayla, some of the biggest perks of being a part of the New Venture Accelerator program are the workspaces that foster collaboration and creativity. Being surrounded by other entrepreneurs is inspiring and necessary for these students’ success.

Daniel Mazur + Mit Patel, SwiftSKU

Daniel Mazur and Mit Patel founded SwiftSKU to connect mom and pop store owners with their point of sale so they can remotely manage and monitor their stores in real-time.

“SwiftSKU is already changing the industry for almost 400 mom and pop convenience store owners all over the country.

My co-founder and I were introduced to the entrepreneurship program here at Auburn University after winning first place at the university’s Tiger Cage Competition. We won $25,000, which we used for a Verifone loyalty point of sale integration. That was crucial to get our business off the ground.”

Daniel Mazur, Co-Founder, SwiftSKU

Beyond taking home first place at Auburn’s Tiger Cage competition, SwiftSKU also won the Rice Business Plan Competition. So far, they’ve raised over $3.2 million—an impressive feat on top of the typical responsibilities of a college student.

Got an amazing idea? New Venture Accelerator can bring it to life.

KultureXchange - New Venture Accelerator
At Auburn Harbert College of Business, collaboration and innovation go hand in hand. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

“Here at the New Venture Accelerator, we’ve got a great atmosphere for young startups. We’re able to interact with other young entrepreneurs at various stages of their journeys, and we’re able to talk to other entrepreneurs who’ve been there and done that.”

Daniel Mazur, Founder, SwiftSKU

Want to learn more about how Auburn University will help you bring your startup to life? Click here or reach out to the program directors to learn more:

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Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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