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SC Research Creating New Companies

Dr. Laura Boccanfuso
Mike Switzer/SC Public Radio
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South Carolina’s research universities continue to generate research that continues to generate new companies.  Our next guest represents one of the latest examples we’ve uncovered.

Mike Switzer interviews Dr. Laura Boccanfuso, CEO of Vän Robotics in Columbia, SC, creator of ABii, which she claims is the first artificial intelligence tutor.

After almost 20 years, Mike Switzer retired from Wells Fargo Securities in 2001 as Senior Vice President/Investment Officer and Certified Portfolio Manager. In 1999, he and his wife, Maggie, purchased and operated for eight years the Baskin Robbins ice cream store on Forest Drive in Columbia. They grew the store from a bottom-tier operation in the Baskin Robbins franchise system to one in the top 5% nationwide within three years, tripling sales along the way. While operating the ice cream store, Mike and Maggie received patents for a portable ice cream sink and fold-down sneezeguard they invented and in 2002 started Magnolia Carts, an ice cream cart manufacturing company, which they sold in 2013.