Executives-on-Roster (XOR)

Southeast XOR Logo

The Southeast Executives-on-Roster (XOR) is a collaboration between Southeast Conference (SEC) universities to broaden access to experienced entrepreneurial talent and to facilitate the matching of that talent to university-affiliated startups in need of executive management.

Midwest XOR Logo

The Midwest Executives-on-Roster (XOR) is a collaboration between regionally-partnered Midwest universities in order to broaden access to experienced entrepreneurial talent and facilitate matching of talent to university-affiliated startups in need of executive management.

By combining the entrepreneur talent networks of all participating universities, our faculty startup companies will have access to a larger talent pool, a greater chance of finding fundable executive management, and, ultimately, succeeding. Similarly, Southeast XOR and Midwest XOR grant entrepreneurs that may be looking for their next move an opportunity to review a larger pipeline of opportunities in a central and user-friendly space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • As a university startup, do I have to use the Platform?
    Not all university startups will need or use the Platform. It is an optional tool.
  • Why is the Platform needed?
    Many university startups meet an inflection point at which grant funds are exhausted, initial management is not capable of growing the company or a faculty member must choose between leaving their position to run the company (e.g., entrepreneurial leaves) or liquidating the company. The platform is designed for those situations. Ie will help the startup to find executive talent with the right industry and operational expertise. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that investors will invest as the right people increase the chances of business success.
  • Who builds my company profile?
    The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) will work with you to build a pitch deck and/or other materials and collect data for developing the company profile page in the platform.
  • How is a match executed?
    Matches are initiated first by contacting the "Company Contact" identified in the platform, which is a UK OTC representative. Introduction meetings will be scheduled through the "Company Contact" to be followed by negotiations to determine if a "match" exists. This process will be facilitated by OTC and may take any form as agreed by the parties. There is no obligation.
  • Is the company required to remain headquartered in a certain location?
    There is an economic development opportunity to bring outside talent to a new ecosystem, but it is up to each university and/or startup company, in collaboration with the newly matched entrepreneur, to determine where or how a startup will continue its development. This negotiation process will vary case-by-case.
  • What are the qualifications entrepreneurs need to meet to be part of the Platform?
    Criteria to become an XOR Entrepreneur includes:
    1. Generally, having run a startup, having raised or been involved in raising capital for a startup, and/or having been an executive in a specific industry for at least 15 years
    2. An affiliation (alumni, etc.) with or recommendation for inclusion by a participating university.
    3. Willingness and availability to play an executive management role for a startup company.
  • How do I become part of the Platform?
    Complete and submit the Southeast XOR Network Entrepreneur Application and/or the Midwest XOR Entrepreneur Application.

    For more information, contact southeastxor@uky.edu and/or midwestxor@uky.edu.

SUCCESSFUL MATCHES

Smart Rotation

In April 2019, Madison Hartung, CEO of Smart Rotation, joined the XOR platform in an effort to recruit an executive that could help move the company forward with a targeted sales strategy and increased customer engagement. Smart Rotation is an online management tool that provides an easy and automatic solution to rotational scheduling in gymnastics facilities. Based on Madison’s needs, Texas A&M entrepreneur Michele Klumb was identified as the leading candidate for this role.  Michele had recently signed a successful exit deal with VeriDesk and was looking for the next startup to assist in the health and wellness arena. 

After an initial phone meeting, and several conversations thereafter, Smart Rotation was successfully matched with Michele Klumb in May 2019. To date, Smart Rotation is continuing to thrive with Michele’s executive leadership and building a path forward for scalable growth.

On this match, Hartung said "I'm a first-time entrepreneur so this journey has been full of ups and downs as I not only had to build the product but also navigate building the company. I never wanted to be the person that held Smart Rotation back so I was always looking for new information. While attending Startup Breakfast, Eric Hartman recommended that I talk to Mariam about joining the XOR platform. After talking to Mariam, I loved the concept of XOR and was interested in getting started. Michele was the second person we matched with and after jumping on a quick video call, I knew she was the right person for Smart Rotation. We clicked instantly and her experience has been so invaluable to us. In the short time Michele has been with the company, we've grown so much and introduced better processes in our customer-focused company. I'm excited to see where we go from here!" 

Klumb said "I believe I found my calling when I joined a Texas A&M faculty-led startup company with Dr. Mark Benden. It was truly a fun-filled, challenging adventure to create a successful company from a simple idea. Luckily, XOR began about the same time that the company was acquired. I immediately registered as a potential executive and reviewed the potential companies I might be interested in working with. The process was simple and I was able to quickly review all the potential companies listed based on specific categories. The one company I honed in on was Smart Rotation. However, I wanted to wrap up some projects I was currently working on before making contact. Surprisingly, the system worked before I finished up my projects! I was called a week later to discuss partnering with Smart Rotation - the same company I had also 'matched' myself with. After a few probing conference calls, we were able to agree on a partnership. I'm so excited to be partnered with Madison Hartung and Smart Rotation! I think the XOR collaboration will spark an increase in successful entrepreneurial businesses from our Universities - faculty and students. It is speed dating for green entrepreneurs matching them with validated, experienced executives who understand the financial and time restraints of the entrepreneur. Madison is working two jobs, completing her Master’s degree and launching Smart Rotation. She is the perfect partner as shown through her work ethic and multi-tasking. She just needs someone like me to run the day to day, focusing on Smart Rotation's success."