Skip to Main Content
Economic Impact Alumni Success Oxford and Beyond

Miami University celebrates entrepreneurs with inaugural RedHawk50 Awards

Honoring the 50 fastest-growing private companies around the world founded or led by former students of Miami University

Group photo of honorees
Economic Impact Alumni Success Oxford and Beyond

Miami University celebrates entrepreneurs with inaugural RedHawk50 Awards

Miami University alumni, faculty, staff, students, and supporters gathered at Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall on Friday to celebrate the 2023 RedHawk50 – the 50 fastest-growing private companies around the world founded or led by former students of Miami University.

The program plays an important role in identifying, engaging, and celebrating accomplished Miamians in business. It also reinforces Miami University and the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship as the “Cradle of Founders” and serves as a vehicle for Miami graduates and former students who lead these companies to pass lessons learned to the next generation of Miami entrepreneurs.

“It's neat to look back on, a couple of college kids that turned a side hustle into a real business that's impacting lives and recognized for what we've done. It's kind of cool,” Mike Gau, a 2006 marketing grad, co-founder and president of the No.1 company, TEX Tickets said.

“We launched the RedHawk50 with a simple goal, to celebrate the success of Miamians at building companies that will impact the way we live, the way we work and entertain ourselves, the clothes that we wear, and the food that we eat today and in the future. The 50 winners represent 17 industries, 14 cities in the U.S. and Great Britain, and 12 high-growth companies featured on the Inc. 5000 list,” Tim Holcomb, professor and chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship said. “There are winners from every academic division at the university, representing 24 different majors.”

“I was surprised we ranked so high. It was such an honor to be here amongst so many awesome companies, many of which we know and we're friends with,” 2019 finance grad Oliver Zak, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mad Rabbit said. “I'm just so impressed with the ecosystem that Tim and the rest of the faculty have built in the entrepreneurship department and couldn't be more proud to be an alumni.”

The inaugural RedHawk 50 are:

  1. TEX Tickets -- Mike Gau, Simon Landon
  2. Aleta Couture -- Manav Preenja
  3. InGoodTaste -- Ryan Lindholm
  4. Mad Rabbit -- Selom Agbitor, Oliver Zak
  5. Steno --Dan Anderson
  6. Foxen -- Jay Harkrider, Patrick McBride, Kevin Jacobson, Andy Lallathin
  7. Transactly --Edward “Coach” Weinhaus
  8. Loop -- Jonathan Poma
  9. COhatch -- Matt Davis
  10. Professional Fighters League -- Donn Davis
  11. Cleveland Kitchen -- Mac Anderson
  12. FC Cincinnati -- Jeff Berding
  13. Fire Rover -- Will Schmidt
  14. SPR Therapeutics -- Maria Bennett
  15. Hidden Harbor Capital Partners -- David
  16. Bridge Industries -- Jeffrey Berlin
  17. Arrive Logistics -- Matthew Pyatt, Eric Dunigan
  18. Coastal Ridge Real Estate -- Andrew Lallathin, Patrick McBride, Jay Harkrider
  19. Kruger and Hodges Attorneys at Law -- Joshua Hodges
  20. Eleeo Brands -- Richard Palmer
  21. Rooted Grounds Coffee -- Dave Knopf, Patsy Knopf
  22. Semify -- Patrick Briggs, Amit Dixit
  23. OROS -- Michael Markesbery, Rithvik Venna
  24. AiFi -- Steve Carlin
  25. Saucy Brew Works -- Brent Zimmerman
  26. Textbook Painting -- Michael Murray
  27. Kinettix -- Chad Mattix
  28. Midwest Power Products -- Greg Jones, Will Angsten
  29. Freestar -- Kurt Donnell
  30. UpWest -- Jamie Schisler
  31. BHDM Design -- Daniel Mazzarini
  32. Vellabox -- Adam Ellis
  33. Renovation Sells -- Michael Valente
  34. Campbell Psychological Services -- Elizabeth Morey Campbell
  35. Unity Sourcing & Roasting -- Tyler Elliott
  36. Flaherty & Collins Properties -- Michael Collins
  37. Articulation LLC -- Ruth Milligan
  38. Orazen Extruded Polymers -- Michael Orazen
  39. Jennifer Manners Design -- Jennifer Manners
  40. Mugsy -- Leo Tropeano, Scott Dulany
  41. Xtreme Xperience -- Adam Olalde, Joseph Moore
  42. No Laying Up -- Philip Landes, Chris Solomon, Todd Schuster
  43. Orangewood Partners -- Alan Goldfarb, Neil Goldfarb
  44. UPshow -- Matt Gibbs, Adam Hirsen
  45. Interlink Cloud Advisors -- Matt Scherocman
  46. Nested Spaces -- Whitney Vredenburgh-Sparks
  47. Republic Wire, Inc. -- Ronald Rosenbeck
  48. Zylo -- Benjamin Pippenger
  49. Align -- Jim Dooling
  50. Golden Ceramic Dental Lab -- Cydney Topaz

"The entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance of the RedHawk50 honorees have contributed to Miami's global reputation as a leader in entrepreneurship education," Miami University President Gregory Crawford said. "These remarkable individuals are a testament to the caliber of talent that our institution fosters and an inspiration to future Miami entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders."

There were 525 nominations reflecting 360 unique Miamian-founded or led businesses received for consideration this year. The ranking of awardees was determined based on their compound annual growth rate over three years, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

“Nothing feels better than coming back to meet the people who you grew up with in college and the professors who taught me, and it's in a way thanks to them where I am today,” 2016 international studies graduate, Manav Preenja, who traveled from India to attend the awards, and is founder and president of Aleta Couture said. “I wasn't expecting to be so high on the list. I thought I'll be somewhere around 45 to 50. (His company was No. 2 on the list.) But it feels good. It's a good experience, and it's a humbling experience.”

“I was texting my buddies during the ceremony about how humbling it is to be a part of one of the fastest 50 growing entrepreneurs from Miami all across the globe. So it was just a lot of retrospective, very humbling and honored to be a part of it,” COhatch’s founder and chief executive officer, 1999 engineering grad Matt Davis said. "I just think it's getting started and our company's growing so fast, hopefully we win next year.”

The RedHawk50 program was created by the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship, part of the Farmer School of Business at Miami. The John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship is a past winner of the Nasdaq Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award as the top entrepreneurship program and institute worldwide, has earned a “Top 10” ranking among public schools in The Princeton Review® and Entrepreneur Magazine annual ranking of the Top 50 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Programs in the world for 16 consecutive years, and is currently ranked as the No.7 program in the world and No. 5 among public institutions.

“It was awesome to be honored with fellow entrepreneurs and I had no idea -- I've been out of Miami for a while -- I didn't know that the Altman School of Entrepreneurship was so highly ranked nationally, and so I was quite impressed to know that Miami is one of the top programs in the country,” FC Cincinnati’s president and co-chief executive officer Jeff Berding, a 1989 political science grad said.

“When we announced this program, our ecosystem partners immediately came forward to offer support,” said Jenny Darroch, dean of the Farmer School of Business and the Mitchell P. Rales Chair in Business Leadership. “EY donated their time and talent to receive and review information sent by the nominated companies and to tabulate the results. Our alumni leveraged their networks to help us promote the event, and our donors and sponsors provided the financial resources to make all of this possible. Support like this is confirmation that our partners strongly believe in the value of what we do, and they want to play an active role.”

“It's great to be in a room like this because it's extremely motivating to be around very like-minded entrepreneurs,” Selom Abgitor, Mad Rabbit co-founder and chief operating officer and 2019 finance graduate said. “I think it just instills the drive to want to succeed some more and keep growing.”

Wide shot of presentation, crowd to left, honoree on stage to right

Honoree walks along stage with award

Jeff Berding poses with his award

Couple pose with "M" statue

Tim Holcomb at the podium