Grand Valley alumnus Ryan Vaughn took first place in the Company Award category at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition November 14, 2013, in Detroit. The first place prize money was $500,000.
Accelerate Michigan is an international business competition designed to bring together later-stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors.
Vaughn received his master’s degree in communications from Grand Valley in 2011. The Grand Haven native is formerly an Entrepreneur in Residence at Grand Valley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Vaughn is the co-founder and CEO of Varsity News Network, an idea he started to develop in 2007 that increases local coverage of all high school sports. Vaughn said VNN is like the ESPN.com of high schools sports.
“Local media coverage of high school sports can be limited, plus schools don’t have sports information directors or the budget to have a college-like brand,” said Vaughn. “We put the software in place so designated fans can provide content and promote their teams on the Web.”
VNN employs 22 people, besides Vaughn and co-founder Matthew Anderson. Vaughn said the prize money will be used for national expansion and development of a mobile app.