Innovation Pipeline

Innovation Pipeline

Welcome to “Innovation Pipeline,” an online newsletter updated regularly, highlighting innovation and entrepreneurial activity by RIT students, faculty and staff–as well as companies of RIT’s Venture Creations. If you have a story idea for “Innovation Pipeline,” please submit it to Greg Livadas at

thumbnail imageDatto, started by RIT alumnus Austin McChord, to become area’s first START-UP NY business

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited RIT on June 4 to announce that RIT will host the area’s first START-UP NY company. Datto, a computer data-saving company founded by RIT graduate Austin McChord, is based in Connecticut, but will open its New York office in Rochester, ultimately employing 70 people.

Read the full story at (Photo by David Wivell)

thumbnail imageDarkwind Media, a business in RIT’s Venture Creations, is developing an Xbox One game

By Jinelle Shengulette, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, May 11, 2014

(Photo by Carlos Ortiz, Democrat and Chronicle)

When Darkwind Media opened seven years ago, the fledgling startup took whatever work it could find — web work, media visualizations and simply anything to build a name for the business.

Now the Henrietta production studio is strictly focused on games, and is working with Michael Heald, a British illustrator and designer, to develop Wulverblade, an Xbox One game due out this winter.

"It's been his lifelong dream to make this game," said Matt Mikuszewski, 29, who co-founded Darkwind Media with Colin Doody and Brian Johnstone.

Wulverblade follows the conquests of the Roman army in 120 A.D. and the user who must defend against the invading army. About six months into the project, the team has already put out a trailer for the game.

"It's very historically based, with the holes filled in by myths and legends of that time period," Mikuszewski said.

Darkwind Media was among the first studios accepted last year into Microsoft's new ID@Box development program, which the computer giant hopes makes it easier for independent studios to develop and publish games for its Xbox One console.

"One of our dreams has always been to be one of the first games to come out on a new console," said Mikuszewski. "Everyone gets the new console, and there are only a few games. If you're one of the few, you're gonna be in the spotlight. The stars aligned, and it's actually happening."

The gaming company basically launched out of a living room, but kept moving and expanding as work came in, like the contract with a California-based medical research company to develop 3-D software for radiology scans. It also opened offices in Boston, which were later sold to another firm.

Today, Darkwind Media is located at Venture Creations, Rochester Institute of Technology's business incubator. Mikuszewski, Doody and Johnstone met and graduated from RIT.

Their focus now is trying to polish the game while trying determine its release date.

"The game could always be a little better, and you don't want to release your baby until it's ready. But you have to make a decision at some point to release it," Mikuszewski said. "We don't want to promise (a release date) to anyone and then say, 'No, it's not going to happen.' That's been a challenge and focus for us."

Shengulette is a freelance writer covering the Rochester area.

Matt Mikuszewski on running a business

Hire people who are smarter than you. It will push you to be smarter and learn more.

Learn something new every day. If you're not at work, start reading up on new technology or techniques. Always make yourself relevant,

because things change so rapidly.

I like being stable over being risky. We've always taken the small steps, the slow and steady approach, versus the go-big-or-go-home approach.

Master the art of delegating responsibilities. You can't do it all yourself.

MotionSavvy makes progress in sign-to-text technology

MotionSavvy, a company that intends to create a device to convert hand shapes and sign language into text, continues to turn heads. The founders, RIT students Ryan Hait-Campbell, Alex Opalka, Jordan Stemper and Wade Kellard, won third place in the 2013 Next Big Idea competition at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, completed the Saunders Summer Start-up Program, and were accepted into Leap Motion's AXLR8R program in San Francisco, where they are receiving additional support - from mentors and financers - to help make their product a reality.


IdeaLab@RIT sparks innovative solutions for individuals with disabilities

The Access Technology IdeaLab@RIT is a brainstorming marathon—run on sheer adrenalin. And the most recent one held the last weekend of April was no exception.

Several teams of Rochester Institute of Technology students and their coaches had a common goal—to work on problem-solving solutions for several local agencies serving individuals with disabilities.

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