Two Successful Student Companies Advance to Next Stage in NIIC’s Student Venture Lab Program

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OFabz Swimwear and Signed Visuals, LLC leverage coaching and early stage capital funding from the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) to be accepted at the next level of NIIC’s nationally recognized student entrepreneur startup program.

Olivia Fabian, Founder & CEO, OFabz Swimwear

For the last six years, we have invested in students and their dreams. These investments in the "home town team" are a core part of our passion and purpose," stated Karl R. LaPan, President and CEO, NIIC

The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center ( is pleased to announce the advancement of two successful student venture companies in NIIC’s nationally recognized Student Venture Lab program. OFabz Swimwear and Signed Visuals, LLC have both been successful in creating high-growth-capable companies will work with the Innovation Center at the next level to pursue growth and funding.

As part of the NIIC Student Venture Lab program (, student companies receive early stage funding investment and office space & business services at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Campus in exchange for a small amount of equity in the student venture in each of three six-month gated phases. Ventures receive one-on-one coaching from Mike Fritsch, the Innovation Center’s Entrepreneur-In-Residence ( and must be invited to advance to the next phase based on progress in the previous phase.

Throughout the three phases of the Student Ventures Lab program, NIIC could invest over $11,500 in business funding and $9,000 in office space and services in each company. At the end of each six month term, each venture demonstrates their product and their customer-validated business model at Demo Day to investors, bankers, and other leaders of the region’s business and technology community.

Accepted into the third phase of the program, OFabz Swimwear, led by founder Olivia Fabian, offers both men's and women's suits, focusing on vintage designs and active lifestyles. Ofabz designs are being manufactured in the USA and are being sold by an increasing number of brands across the country. Olivia can be reached at ofabian(at)ofabz(dot)com.

Accepted into the second phase of the program, Signed Visuals, LLC, led by founder Mattthew Burris, a Huntington University DMA student, produces independent films. He has one film in post-production and is currently rounding out business funding for a second. Matt is also actively working to help expand the budding Fort Wayne, Indiana film scene. He encourages anyone who wants to get involved to contact him. Matt can be reached at mburris(at)signed visuals(dot)com.

“The student founders of these two companies are perfect examples of what we look for in all our entrepreneurs,” said Mike Fritsch, NIIC Entrepreneur-In-Residence, “Olivia and Matt both started with a dream that they were very passionate about and now they are making it happen despite all the obstacles that get in their way."

NIIC’s Student Venture Lab is made possible by generous contributions from The Lincoln Financial Foundation, iAB Financial Bank, The Edward M. & Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation, and private individual & corporate donors. Any future proceeds from NIIC’s equity investments in Student Venture Lab ventures will be reinvested in support of the mission to grow the next generation of student entrepreneurial leaders. Interested in applying for an investment in your student venture or business? Contact Mike Fritsch for more information.

Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC) - NIIC is a non-profit, community-based incubator and entrepreneurial resource center that assists in the growth and development of technology-based companies in Northeast Indiana. For more information, contact the NIIC Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Mike Fritsch at 260-407-1754 or mfritsch(at)niic(dot)net.

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Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO

Michael Fritsch, Entrepreneur-in-Residence
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