Entrepreneurial engineer wins $10,000 award

Dr. Daniel Kujawski and Joshua Teo

WMU mechanical engineering graduate student and student entrepreneur Joshua Teo was fast out of the gate. The Starting Gate, that is.  Teo was awarded $10,000 in the second annual Brian Patrick Thomas Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for his invention of Durabilika, an interactive cloud-based durability analysis software program called FatigueNet. The award is presented annually to a company involved in Starting Gate, WMU's student business accelerator, which provides a fast-track to launching a business.

Durabilika helps design engineers at manufacturing companies predict the service life of their products through cloud-based software. Teo created the software while he was an undergraduate and realized most products available were either extremely expensive, difficult to learn to use, or both. “I knew there had to be a  better way to run a simple fatigue analysis,” he said. Durabilika simplifies this type of software, helping users save time and money with low-risk payment plan options and making the product self-explanatory and easy-to-use. Durabilika was co-founded by Dr. Daniel Kujawski, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WMU.

“We are honored to receive this award," Teo said. "It will enable us to continue to broaden our research on the product, making it even easier to access and use." The company plans to use the award to conduct research and keep improving the software.

Teo said in the next five years, he hopes Durabilika will be well-known as a simple cloud fatigue software for small and medium companies. By 2021, the company hopes to see sales revenue of $5 million. “Our passion to assist manufacturers is what keeps us excited every day on this journey,” he said.

Brian Patrick Thomas, an alumnus of WMU who earned his degree in industrial marketing in 1996, is the former CEO Of OtterBox. His passion for entrepreneurial thinking and social entrepreneurship sparked his desire to establish the award to support student entrepreneurs. Thomas currently is co-owner and CEO of Jemez Technology, a software company focused on real-time perimeter detection and security for the country's critical infrastructure, monuments and national security assets.