Our third-annual report on America's most innovative college start-ups features an Iowa hacker-turned-bookworm, a Southern California duo hawking fixie bikes, and a St. Louis sociology student with a website for tween girls valued at $15 million.

2011 Coolest College Start-ups

"We don't do things the traditional way," says Jake Medwell, a University of Southern California student who co-founded Solé Bicycles. It's just one of the 14 outstanding college start-ups we found this year.  View Gallery

The Motivator

University of California-Berkeley


Arielle Patrice Scott is on a mission to empower young adults to innovate—and she's building a media empire to do so.

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The Mad Scientist

Stanford University

Black Swan Solar

Tom Currier is a serial inventor who's started nine companies, one non-profit, and has built a solar death ray out of his dorm room. Read more

The Hip Hustlers

University of Southern California

Solé Bicycles

Jake Medwell and Jonathan Shriftman, frat brothers with a mutual love for fixed-gear bikes, are bringing hipster wheels to the masses. Read more

The Social Sleuth

University of Miami

Lucid Technologies, LLC

Tyler McIntyre, a triple major, is bootstrapping his third tech company: a multi-platform messaging system. Read more

The Customizer

University of California-Berkeley


When he couldn't find affordable printed T-shirts, Raymond Lei created his own custom-designed clothing company.

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The Socially Adept Artist

Washington University in St. Louis

MissO andFriends.com

Juliette Brindak's uber-popular girls-only online community for tweens is is valued at $15 million. Read more

The Constant Gardener

University of Colorado

Motycka Enterprises

Emil Motycka built his sizable landscaping and groundskeeping company out of a class idea—from third grade. Read more

The Quizmaster

Princeton University


Breanden Beneschott's tutoring-via-text-message company grew out of his expertise in coaching his sister over SMS. Read more

The Data-sharing Minimalists

Babson College


John Xie bootstrapped this minimalist file-sharing site with a partner on a whim in just a month. Now it's soaring in popularity. Read more

The Beautifier

Spelman College

True You Cosmetics

Jessica Truesdale was inspired by beauty-industry legends like Estée Lauder and Elizabeth Arden to create her cosmetics line. Read more

The Microfinancer

University of Pennsylvania


Charlie Javice is creating a microfinance platform that has the potential to reach—and educate—thousand of students. Read more

The Bookkeeper

Tufts University


Richard Mondello, after finding egregiously high prices at a campus bookstore, teamed with two pals to create a textbook-deal website. Read more

The Simplicity Seeker

University of Minnesota


Maxwell Arndt's "aha" moment led to a whole class working on this product, a simple door-opening solution with a silly name.
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The Publishing Hacker

University of Northern Iowa

Book Hatchery

Nick Cash says his author-friendly e-book distribution system is right at home in the heartland, near the Iowa Writers Workshop.
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