WYOMISSING, Pa. — Two Penn State Berks LaunchBox co-working companies are celebrating major milestones for their startups this week.
Ocoa, formerly known as DN Organics, announced its official rebrand and two new product lines on Wednesday, March 1. In addition, CarToCamp is celebrating its first year in business this week by rolling out its “V2,” the next generation of its sleeping platform with improved design and storage.
Ocoa was co-founded by Dominican sisters and Penn State Berks business alumni Cory Dahlia Varona Corniel, class of 2011, and Nicol Varona Cancelmo, class of 2013. Their mission is to redefine how curly hair products are made and how they make women feel.
“We are excited to share the new brand and new products with our community,” said Cancelmo. “Curly women deserve a luxury experience that helps them embrace who they are born to be.”
CarToCamp was co-founded by Penn State Berks mechanical engineering alumni Nathan Bonslaver, class of 2022, Robert Miller, class of 2019, and Kevin Gulick, class of 2020, with the goal of making car camping more accessible with a lightweight sleeping platform.
“In February 2022, we sold our first sleeping platform. One year later, we're celebrating our 50th sale,” said Bonslaver. The company is also a finalist in the Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator. Moosejaw is a retailer specializing in outdoor recreation apparel and gear. The goal of this program is to support a diverse group of entrepreneurs in creating solutions for enjoying the outdoors with more comfort, safety, sustainability, and inclusion.
Founders of both companies are Penn State Berks graduates and active co-working companies of the Berks LaunchBox. Each has taken advantage of the wide variety of entrepreneurship resources at the Berks LaunchBox, including makerspace equipment for prototyping, pitch competitions, startup grants, professional business advisers, and co-working company networking events with other founders. Co-working companies receive free office space, internet and coffee to help support them in their entrepreneurial journey.
Most recently, the Berks LaunchBox has supported Ocoa in preparation for multiple grants and accelerator programs. Corniel said, “Lisa Weaver and Michelle Hnath at the Berks LaunchBox have both helped us so much with our grant, accelerators and program applications such as digitalundivided by JP Morgan Chase, where we were awarded a $5,000 grant and four-week learning program. We are very grateful for LaunchBox support, since day one.”
Digitalundivided is a program serving Latina and Black women entrepeneurs to help take them from starting out to success.
About Ocoa Beauty (formerly known as DN Organics)
Ocoa is high-end curly hair product line created by two sisters from the Dominican Republic. Inspired by the beauty of their homeland, Ocoa uses luxe, minimal ingredients to create products that perform better than synthetics. Made with potent extracts and ingredients like sunflower oil and cupuacu butter, their products were created to moisturize hair and promote healthy scalp and growth. Their purpose is to honor curly-haired women while helping them transform their lives and find confidence in their authentic natural beauty. For more information, visit ocoabeauty.com.
CarToCamp designs, manufactures, and sells a universally fitting sleeping platforms for vehicles that help users to make the most of the space they have through clever storage and thoughtful design. The platform is adjustable to be compatible with over 1,000 different vehicles and ships directly to the customer’s door. It can be easily assembled and installed with no tools required, and it is a more affordable and flexible alternative to rooftop tents and converted vans. For more information, visit cartocamp.com.
About Berks LaunchBox
The mission of Berks LaunchBox, located in Suite 105 of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, is to support economic development and entrepreneurship. An innovation hub of Penn State Berks, the Berks LaunchBox connects local early-stage entrepreneurs to the support, resources, and facilities that they need to build sustainable and scalable businesses with a viable plan for growth. Services include assistance with prototyping, conducting market research, and connecting with advisers. Berks LaunchBox offers entrepreneurship workshops, co-working space for startups, meetups focused on business development, a makerspace with 3D printers for prototyping and special youth programs.
Berks LaunchBox is supported by Invent Penn State — a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. For more information, visit berkslaunchbox.psu.edu or contact Erica Kunkel at 610-396-6221 or via email at [email protected].